YOU really warm to the Coverdale family who appear in The Classic Thriller Theatre Company’s Ruth Rendell murder A Judgement in Stone.

Adapted for stage by Simon Brett and Antony Lampard we are led to believe that the family are “do gooders”.

Played by Rosie Thomson and Robert Duncan, the happily married couple, Jacqui and George Coverdale come across as genuinely kind.

Even their step child/child Giles and Melinda (Joshua Price) and Pamela Dwyer) exude in their different ways, feelings of good will.

So, why should they all be shot dead?

That is the conundrum posed by the writer.

Detective Superintendent Vetch (Chris Ellison) and Detective Sergeant Challoner (Ben Nealon) are in charge of the investigation.

They begin by questioning resident housekeeper Eunice Parchman (Sophie Ward) who has formed a hard to believe friendship with post mistress Joan Smith.

After interviewing Eunice, the detectives hope to quiz Joan.

This isn’t possible because Joan is in a coma following a car accident.

Deborah Grant rises to the role of Joan, a former prostitute, who has found God.

Eunice and Joan are supposedly the under dogs who are compared unfavourably with the Coverdales due to their class.

However, they don’t come across as particularly disadvantaged – just unlikeable.

These two, in my opinion, are the stars of the show. At the end of Act l, Joan stands on a table to dance a gospel hymn whilst Eunice uses a sweet tin as a drum.

We eventually get to the bottom of the whys and wherefores after seeing flashbacks in time to the past and back again.

In the end, Ruth Rendell reveals not only whodunnit but why, on earth, they did it.

*A Judgement in Stone is at the Opera House, Manchester until Saturday, November 18. Book at or call 0844 871 3018.