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Death of a Hollow Man [Paperback]

Caroline Graham
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

20 Sep 2007

Backstage at the Causton Amateur Dramatic Socirty's production of Amadeus, nerves are fraying. On top of the fractious cast hierarchy imposed by Harold Winstanley, director and would-be impresario, cast member Esslyn Carmichael suspects his wife is having an affair with the leading man. And where better to settle scores than the stage?

On opening night, Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby attends, purely as a member of the audience. But when someone turns Esslyn's final grand gesture into a very gruesome coup de theatre, Barnaby suddeny finds himself centre stage...

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Death of a Hollow Man + Death in Disguise + The Killings at Badger's Drift
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Headline (20 Sep 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 075534216X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755342167
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'An exemplary crime novel' Literary Review 'An ingenious murder..and a clever solution' The Times 'Hard to praise highly enough' The Sunday Times 'Lots of excellent character sketches... and the dialogue is lively and convincing' Independent 'A mystery of which Agatha Christie would have been proud... A beautifully written crime novel' The Times 'The best-written crime novel I've read in ages' Susan Hill, Good Housekeeping --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The second stunning novel in the series on which Midsomer Murders is based is packed with drama

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the original "Midsomer Murders". 14 Aug 2003
You have probably read hundreds of books that use these ever-fresh ingredients. There is one small English village, peopled by eccentric collectors, partner-swapping couples, and a class system in microcosm, housing well-disguised deviants who write poison pen letters, carry guilty secrets, or devise well-planned murders.
Caroline Graham is a current dealer in these items, and I reckon she turns them into as good an entertainment as any writer, past or present, I know. Her own experience in the theatre provides the amazing verisimilitude in this, her second crime novel. The murder occurs during the opening night of an amateur production of “Amadeus”.
Older readers will recall how New Zealand writer Ngaio Marsh used the theatre for some of her murder mystery settings. Miss Graham is a much better writer. Rarely in detective fiction will you find such depth and variety of character drawing, and such charming and elegant prose.
Her sleuth is Chief Inspector Barnaby and his assistant is Sergeant Troy. As created by Caroline Graham, they are considerably different from their television depictions in a popular series “Midsomer Murders” that has already run to more than twenty episodes.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Christmas pudding of a book 24 Jan 2003
This is Caroline Graham at her very best, and her best is very very good indeed. She stirs the most gorgeous ingredients in the most skilful manner possible, cooks them with relish and serves it with luscious sauce. This is the detective story Dickens would have written if he had been alive today. Her characters her action and her pace are always superb but this in my opinion is her best book. Did you ever read Paying Guests by Benson? well Hollow man is Paying Guests with heart and action.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer brilliance. 1 July 2001
By A Customer
This particular Graham novel illustrates clearly her competance as a novelist. The scene is set superbly as soon as you open the book, and continues to be both real and interesting throughout. Well thought out character sketches, and indeed the characters themselves are often humourous and always believable. Yet, this is the sort of thing I've come to expect from Graham. If there is a more underrated author you'd have to get up pretty early to find one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Second in the series 4 Nov 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The local amateur dramatic group is rehearsing for Peter Shaffer's Amadeus and Joyce Barnaby, wife of Detective Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby, has a small part in the production along with being wardrobe mistress. Her husband is helping with painting the scenery. But relations between the actors are not all they might be and Harold Winstanley, the director, is putting people's backs up and is as usual very full of himself. Tensions rise as the first night approaches leading to a headline performance though not for the reasons which might have satisfied Harold's dream of the lime light.

Tom Barnaby finds himself with a difficult case of murder to investigate. He knows all the suspects and the victim and at first thinks this may give him an advantage but he soon realises it just complicates the issue and he can't see people as they really are. I found this book absorbing reading because the plotting is excellent and the characters well drawn. I found the motivations convincing and the whole thing kept me guessing until almost the end. I worked out who had done it bit not how or why.

This is the second book in the author's Tom Barnaby series and it is even better than the first, in my opinion. I enjoy the touches of humour and the love hate relationship between Barnaby and his sidekick DS Troy with his overt prejudices and off colour jokes. I like the small town background where many things appear to be out in the open and yet it is all too easy for people to misinterpret things they have seen and people they know. I recommend this series if you like your crime novels in the classic mould with not too much on the page violence and bad language.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Death of a Hollow Man 15 Sep 2012
This is the second in the Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby novels. Barnaby's wife Joyce is involved in the production of "Amadeus" being staged by the Causton Amateur Dramatic Society. As with the previous novel The Killings at Badger's Drift, the author produces a wonderful cast of characters, including Harold the director, who thinks the Amateur Dramatic Society are comparable to anything at the Old Vic, the unlikeable leading man Esslyn, his wife (and ex wife), Avery and his lover Tim, the resentful and put upon Deirdre and Nicholas Bradley, who is desperate to be an actor. Rehearsals are tense and Barnaby feels something is very wrong on first night, which begins with a catalogue of errors and ends in murder.

I have never seen Midsomer Murders, which is based upon these novels, but the books stand alone as a fine series of mysteries. Graham produces interesting scenarios and has a likeable hero in Barnaby, with his sidekick Sargeant Troy, which suggest this series can only get better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Blue in Washington TOP 500 REVIEWER TOP 1000 REVIEWER
"Death of a Hollow Man" shows off author Caroline Graham's wit and snarky sense of humor at their clever best. This being the second of the Inspector Barnaby series, the wise village cop and his semi-clueless sidekick, Sergeant Troy, are part and parcel of the plot as Barnaby moonlights with a local theater production to help out his sometime-thespian wife Joyce. This episode also puts the focus on Barnaby's daughter Cully, another aspiring actor, who provides an ascerbic commentary on the local production of "Amadeus" and meets the man who will star in her own future.

No need to get into plot details other than to observe that the crime that is central to the story (an onstage killing), is secondary to the interaction of wonderful characters that author Graham has assembled here. Drawing on her own experience in the theater, she constructs some terrific dialogues between her string of aspiring actors, theater staffers and secondary characters that provide chuckles and out-and-out belly laughs.

This is a very entertaining little book that is best read straight through in a sitting. Recommended.
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