A young woman goes to an isolated Warwickshire monastery to visit her brother, who is a monk there. Her sister drops her off at the door. The girl meets her brother in the parlour; they say goodbye and part; and she is never seen again. A search of the buildings and grounds finally reveals her body buried in a shallow grave in the monastery cemetery. The monks, however, have a cast-iron alibi: they were all in chapel at the time of her death. Then the abbot receives a mysterious telephone-call. A man’s voice threatens to hand evidence of the murder to the police – and so incriminate one of the monks - unless the monastery puts up for public auction its most treasured possession, a unique mediaeval manuscript, and donates the proceeds to charity. Is this blackmail or a hoax? As the events unfold, the inspector and his sergeant become less and less sure of what is fact and what is fiction, and the inspector begins to fear for his newly-won promotion. The case takes him to a castle in Italy, a town-house in southern France, a laboratory in Cambridge and the home of a professor of music outside Lincoln; but the solution arrives unexpectedly in his own sitting-room. In this stylish story written in the classic tradition of British detective fiction, the author intrigues, informs and entertains in equal measure. Book reviews online: PublishedBestsellers website.
Looking for sophisticated and stylish entertainment to stimulate jaded brain-cells? LOOK NO FURTHER! Falconer has shown yet again that he can produce a top-rate whodunnit in the finest British traditions: urbane, cultured and witty. The peaceful estate of Wichenford Court, in deepest Worcestershire, is convulsed by a bizarre murder which, it is discovered, mirrors in 1959 a murder committed on exactly the same spot in 1791. Inspector Wickfield and his new assistant, Sergeant Holbrook, undertake a baffling investigation in which the killer’s tracks are covered so successfully that the case is in danger of remaining unsolved The Buckenham family, who have farmed the estate for centuries, the estate workers, and the gracious and monied Lady Hick-Stevens in the wings, provide the detectives with a spectrum of characters who might all, for one reason or another, have murder in mind. A suicide before the First World War, a university career cut short by drink and debt, a missed business opportunity, family antagonisms, a threat to jobs on the estate, all give the inspector and his sergeant food for thought – not to mention a headache – until the inspector rumbles the one tiny mistake that leads to the unmasking of the killer. A triumph of literary sophistication! Book reviews online: PublishedBestsellers website.
While renovating the derelict twelfth-century chapel attached to their new house in rural Worcestershire in 1972, Grace and Benjamin Hothersall uncover three skeletons, which have clearly been the victims of murder. When news of this reaches the newspapers, a series of anonymous letters and telephone-calls begins at the Hothersall residence. Clearly the murders are of not just historical interest, since someone very much alive seems determined to prevent further disclosures. Inspector Wickfield finds himself involved in a complex and baffling investigation, which embraces local witchcraft, a student of the cabala, abduction, a boy’s curse, a hidden will, a stranger in Cornwall, death in a railway carriage – and a Latin textbook of 1563! It nearly proves too much for him, but light dawns eventually and leads to a tense trial which brings the case to a close. The narrative almost fails to see the light of day, because the inspector objects to its style and instructs Mr Falconer to destroy the typescript. Fortunately for us, Mr Falconer has more sense than the inspector. As always, the reader is given as much information as the detectives and is challenged to spot the crucial clue in the labyrinth, as Wickfield must. Julius Falconer’s sure touch ensures another page-turner for the discerning reader, in which intelligent stimulation vies with sheer entertainment for pride of place. Book reviews online: PublishedBestsellers website.
It is August 1974. A respected teacher at a private girls’ school in rural Worcestershire, Adrian Carrick, physically attracted to one of the Sixth-Form leavers, discloses his feelings for her. Convinced that he has mishandled their final meeting, he writes her a letter of regret and then kills himself by leaping over the edge of a quarry. The coroner’s verdict is suicide while the balance of his mind is disturbed. Not all is as it appears, however, and Inspector Wickfield is called in to take a look. His investigation leads him to Venice, where Carrick seemingly led a double life as the owner of an art gallery which acted as a base for international crime, to St.Gallen and Bologna, to Hereford and Birmingham, to Pershore and the suburbs of Worcester, without significant success. A second murder adds increasing urgency to the case. Interleaved in the investigation are the members of Mr Carrick’s philosophy class, in particular the girl who had caught Carrick’s eye. The case is solved through two startling pieces of intuition, which confirm the inspector’s place at the top of his profession and his wife, Beth, as his steady muse. In Mr Carrick is Laid to Rest, Julius Falconer has again provided the discerning public with a tightly-woven, deft and thought-provoking novel in the best traditions of British detective fiction. It will defy your efforts to put it down, and Inspector Wickfield will take his place in the pantheon of greats. Book reviews online: PublishedBestsellers website.
On the morning following the feast of St Giles, 1 September 1966, the Bishop of Worcester, the Right Reverend Giles Wyndham-Brookes, is found slumped and lifeless in his study at Hartlebury Castle, his official residence. The doors and windows are securely locked from the inside, and on his desk is a fifteenth-century book (in Middle French and Gothic script) which he could not read. He had seemingly tripped on an edge of carpet and hit his head on the fender; but there is a distinct whiff of murder in the air. The immediate suspects are the members of his household: his wife, the chaplain, the secretary, the housekeeper, his almoner and the archdeacon of Worcester. Others, including a woman found casting spells in the castle grounds, a young Italian lurking at night in the bishop’s chapel and a suggested unknown late-night visitor, appear in the course of the investigation. Inspector Wickfield and his sergeant embark on a roller-coaster tour of the Anglican Church in a search for motive and for a cunning killer. There are forays into Naples, relics, assassination, locked-room mysteries, the cult of the saints, wicca and blue moons. Follow the inspector if you dare – but hold on to your hats! In this latest offering from the pen of the adept Julius Falconer, you will be instructed, entertained and intrigued in equal measure. Book reviews online: PublishedBestsellers website.
Inspector Wickfield and Sergeant Hewitt find themselves caught up in a saga of murder, illicit money-making and racist thuggery. A young girl’s body is found one morning on the banks of a canal. With help from a clairvoyant, the trail leads the investigating officers to London, and thence to Reading and Augsburg. They find themselves mixing with butchers, decorators, fashion retailers, dentists and the leisured rich, bargees, ex-cons and bilingual administrators, but the mythical and mysterious Zedler, who seems to hold all the threads in his hands, eludes them. Is he the moving force behind the British League, a right-wing political movement whose aim is to keep foreigners out of Britain? Is he the brains behind the counterfeiting operations? Is he the murderer? Wickfield finds out with a little help from his wife, who fortunately has a better insight into Robinson Crusoe than he does! As always with Julius Falconer, you, the reader, are given all the information available to the detective officers, and the vital clue is there for you to spot - if you are up to it! Take your time, enjoy the many detours and red herrings, the literary allusions, the religious and philosophical byways, the silver-smooth English - and keep your eye on the ball if you can! You are guaranteed a stimulating read. Book reviews online: PublishedBestsellers website.
The Hon. Mr and Mrs Bede Lambton, of Abberton Hall in Worcestershire, persuade their nephew Gregory to enter a competition run by the Syrian Ministry of Tourism. Gregory, a student in the archaeology department of Bristol University, produces a paper called ‘The Syrian Sapphire’, but it is a housemate of his, Sheena Morrison, who submits it in her own name and under a changed title, ‘The Star of Syria’. The day after being told that her entry has won, Sheena is murdered. There appears to be nothing in Sheena’s life or in the competition entry to justify such savage action. Inspector Wickfield and Sergeant Hewitt find themselves baffled by a seemingly motiveless murder. Had the killer mistaken his victim? Was the murder a burglary that had gone wrong? Had the recent theft in New York of the fabulous sapphire known as the Star of India anything to do with the case? You are invited to accompany Inspector Stan Wickfield and Sergeant Hewitt on their grim journey of discovery into the motivation of an astute and determined killer. You will be given every item of information accessible to the investigating team: are you clever enough to read the runes? Julius Falconer’s erudite and sophisticated stories are a byword for urbane and stylish entertainment. In this case you have the added benefit of learning the basics of Syriac, if you so desire! Book reviews online: PublishedBestsellers website.
Lionel Jagger, head of English at Mincliffe College in rural Worcestershire, is found dead in bed one morning, with his throat cut. Twenty-eight years old, erudite, talented, popular: an unlikely victim of murder. Inspector Wickfield and his assistant Sergeant Spooner trawl through his life, leaving no stone unturned. They interview widely, they travel extensively. The only result is bafflement, since all they meet have either no motive for murder or an unassailable alibi. In his despair at bringing the affair to a successful conclusion, the Chief Inspector hands the case to another detective team. Wickfield, however, despite this set-back, uncovers, with a flash of inspiration as clever as it is fortuitous, a devious and subtle plot that has deceived his colleagues. The joy of this book, however, lies not just in the unravelling of the mystery, but in the politico-philosophical theories canvassed, the style, the dry humour – and yes, the erudition! As always in Falconer, the reader has access to all the information available to the investigating team, and the tiny slip-up that leads to unmasking the murderer is displayed for all to see – if you’re up to it! (Falconer fails to spot it; fortunately for us, the inspector is sharper.) Settle down in a comfortable chair and enjoy this latest offering from the pen of a master of the genre. Book reviews online: PublishedBestsellers website.
The wealthy and reclusive Harry Quirke, misanthropist and student of the piano works of Alkan, is stabbed to death in his country house outside Tadcaster. Only one of the obvious suspects seems to have much of a motive: his alibi is shaky, it is true, but there is no proof of his involvement. DI Moat and his assistant DS Stockwell follow one false lead after another in an exasperating investigation that seems to be getting nowhere: a gypsy caravan, an old murder in Kansas, the hurried will of a dying man, a golf-course green and an unfinished catalogue of Alkan’s works – none of it seems to make sense. Finally, the murderer makes the smallest of slips, and the penny drops - but it’s a close thing! Book reviews online: PublishedBestsellers website.
It is the summer of 1728, and we are in the village of Sherburn, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, with its handsome church, boys’ grammar-school, ancient tavern and tranquil rural population. Below the church lies the site of the palace of the kings of Elmete. Nearby, across the common and past the woods, are the grand houses of commissioner of the peace Squire Hawley at Scarthingwell Hall and magistrate Sir Ralph Gascoigne at Parlington Hall. An apparent conspiracy to re-establish the sixth-century Ancient British kingdom of Elmete has worrying, and sometimes hilarious, consequences for the hapless vicar, whose meagre detective skills are stretched to their limit. Both the squire and Sir Ralph are only too happy to leave it all to the vicar – until, that is, the vicar is arrested for gun-smuggling and the squire disappears. It then transpires, however, that the conspiracy is merely camouflage for a more interesting crime altogether … This neat tale both faithfully recreates the atmosphere of an eighteenth-century Yorkshire village and offers the modern reader rare entertainment. Book reviews online: PublishedBestsellers website.