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From the author of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen comes a story about inheritance, the great English country house, and a way of life that is disappearing.... Ed Hartlepool has been living in self-imposed exile for five years, but with a settlement regarding his inheritance looming, he must return to his ancestral seat, Hartlepool Hall. On his return, he discovers that his father has left him, along with the house, a seven million pound tax bill, two massive overdrafts, an 80-year-old butler, and a vast country estate that is creaking at the seams. Not only that, but there is a strange woman in residence - Lady Alice - who seems to have made herself very much at home. With the debts mounting, it seems that Ed's only recourse is to turn to his friend Annabel's new boyfriend, a property developer who plans to turn Hartlepool Hall into luxury flats and a golf course. But can Ed save his inheritance without such a drastic move? And is Lady Alice really the person she claims to be?

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