Pictures of Perfection (Reginald Hill)

This tale of villages under threat from “progression” is indeed perfect, in humour and plotting.  A village is under threat from developers who see it only as a means of making money, and the villagers are forced to consider selling their School in order to save the Green, or the Green in order to save the School—either of which would destroy the village.  Into this situation comes crime: the local bobby, P.C. Harold Bendish, vanishes, and Pascoe and Wield arrive to investigate such matters as nude policemen, statues of marble fauns sporting police helmets, thefts of worthless items, forgery and illicit affairs.  We know from the very beginning that everything will end disastrously—but Hill manages to pull the carpet out from under the reader, and ends…perfectly.