We are in the sleepy village of Sherburn in Elmete, Yorkshire, in the year of grace 1729. When George Bywater, the vicar’s servant, is clubbed to death as he collects the parish tithes, the vicar undertakes to track his killer. Unfortunately, his efforts are thwarted at every turn. Threatened with violence, arrested and tried on three separate occasions, on charges that include murder, harbouring a felon and poaching, he is saved from transportation – or worse! – only by an act of God (naturally). He is hauled before the archdeacon and then the archbishop himself for carrying out his investigation at the expense of his pastoral duties. Forbidden to proceed as he wishes, he yet takes advantage of a tip-off from a local magistrate and a chance encounter with a reformed footpad to pursue his inquiries - in a pure spirit of duty, of course – and comes up with a peculiarly delicate challenge to his conscience. This light-hearted tale is the third Chronicle from Sherburn, in which Julius Falconer presents for the modern reader the absurd adventures penned by the hapless vicar.
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About the author
Julius Falconer, scion of an ancient (but unfortunately modest) York family, went to school in Leicestershire, studied for five years in Italy and finally, after working as a translator, qualified as a teacher in Leeds. He then taught Religious Education and philosophy at schools in Cornwall and Perthshire. Now that he is retired and able to divide his time between Yorkshire and rural France, his hobbies include walking, gardening, music and reading. His black-eyed Irish wife sadly died many years ago – the greatest loss of his life - leaving him at the mercy of his married daughter. His greatest moment was when he was introduced to a guest at a party, some years ago, and was greeted by the astonished question, ‘What, not the Julius Falconer?’
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