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The Reaper Paperback – 2 Aug 2001

18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere; New Ed edition (2 Aug. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751530395
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751530391
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 17.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,147,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Peter Lovesey was born in Middlesex and studied at Hampton Grammar School and Reading University, where he met his wife Jax. He won a competition with his first crime fiction novel, Wobble to Death, and has never looked back, with his numerous books winning and being shortlisted for nearly all the prizes in the international crime writing world. He was Chairman of the Crime Writers' Association and has been presented with Lifetime Achievement awards both in the UK and the US.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Peter Lovesey's The Reaper, winner of the 2000 CWA/Cartier Diamond Dagger Award, is an extremely clever, exquisitely written story of a murderous rector who manages to earn a great deal of our sympathy while dramatically whittling down his flock in the Wiltshire village of Foxford. "If you knew Marcus Glastonbury, you would not expect him to appreciate anything out of the ordinary", Lovesey tells us right away about the local bishop who comes to chastise the handsome young rector for cooking the books at his last parish. And indeed, Bishop Glastonbury is no match for the Reverend Otis Joy, a wickedly intelligent serial killer (the bishop becomes his second victim, framed to look like a suicide and a sex pervert) who also happens to be a crackerjack priest. That's why the good folk of Foxford, especially the women, find it hard to swallow the gossip about Reverend Joy that gradually builds up like a winter ground fog. One local housewife, Rachel Jansen, who surprises the rector naked under an apron while he cleans up after killing the bishop, becomes such a strong supporter that she risks losing not only her life but also her immortal soul. Lovesey deftly plants deceptive clues and raises false hopes about Reverend Joy's fate, all the while painting a picture of a town and a church congregation so real that they leap off the page.--Alex Freeman

Review

Larky and deft; very funny, too. (LITERARY REVIEW)

No one has done this kind of thing better since Dorothy L. Sayers (MAIL ON SUNDAY)

One of the very best of the current generation of crime writers (EVENING STANDARD)

Satisfyingly complex and suspenseful. (DAILY MAIL)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Baz on 17 Dec. 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Otis Joy, that is. The rector or Foxford. And a more noteworthy and flamboyant man of the cloth you wouldn't wish to meet. But I'm not going to give away any of the plot of this intriguing book. Don't you just hate it when reviewers tell you the story?

I'm in two minds whether Lovesey's 'other' novels are better than the Peter Diamond series. After reading 'Dead Gorgeous', also by Lovesey, and unable to put it down (definitely his best novel, though this is an award winner), I had to read the rest of his stuff and this magnificent tale has one major, appalling disappointment. You come to the end. And often in the small hours when you've got to be up for work at seven... There should be a health warning printed on the cover of his books.

What's so extraordinary about Lovesey is the fluency of his writing, especially the dialogue. His characters live and breathe, and you're with them all the way to the last page. If, like me, you're into such things, you'll find that the weaving of the different strands of the story, the pacing and the plotting are just about flawless. And in 'The Reaper' even more than a few laughs, too.

So, do yourself a huge favour, and get this. Turn off the tube for once (yes, you do watch too much crap), get a glass or a mug of your fave beverage, and be thoroughly entertained by a true master. Just remember to have a good excuse when you phone in sick because you didn't get to bed till three in the morning...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. R. Hudson on 23 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
This is only my second Peter Lovesey book but I really enjoyed it. The plot was very different to recent books I have read. Rather than a who-dunnit, it was we know who did it but will be get caught, and in some ways hoping he didn't!
Well worth a read and I shall now decide on my third Peter Lovesey.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Sept. 2000
Format: Hardcover
To the reader from Leeds and Bradford, you have indeed missed something in Peter Lovesey's earlier books. However, you haven't missed perhaps the best story of his entertaining career. I've been reading him from "Wobble to death" (highly recommended) and this story of the wicked vicar is superlative. Otis Joy isn't an anti hero, he is just splendidly self-obsessed and wicked, sharp as a tack and gloriously amoral in a tender, caring sort of way. I can't say any more, its one of those books where a slight hint becomes a spoiler. Please just make sure you don't miss this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Otis Joy is a very popular clergyman in a rural parish. But even from the first page of this book the reader knows he is not a normal clergyman. In fact I can't really tell you anything more about the plot without giving the whole thing away! When we first meet him he is having a confrontation with the Bishop over the accounts for his previous parish. What follows is not really a crime novel in any conventional sense of the word because there is little mystery - the reader knows what is happening as it happens.

What makes the book worth reading is the way the story unfolds and the fascinating and eccentric village characters. There is the flamboyant and charismatic Joy himself; the members of the PCC, Burton Sands the humourless accountant, the landlord of the village pub, Rachel the wife of jazz fiend Gary and Cynthia the well-off divorcee with an eye for the men. Village life is well portrayed with all the petty jealousies and fallings out which happen in any small community. I found it an intriguing book to read, though on balance I prefer Peter Lovesey's Peter Diamond or Hen Mallin crime stories. It is worth reading - it just isn't my favourite.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P. Rees on 19 Nov. 2008
Format: Paperback
A difficult book to catagorise, this - a quote on the back cover describes it as a 'black comedy' which is about right given the book's light tone. It is essentially a study of how charisma can be corrupting, and it works on that level; there are also two very good pieces of misdirection contained within and from the half-way point onwards the book does become gripping. But it takes a fair while to get there, and the characterisation is cartoonish and two-dimensional compared with Lovesey's Peter Diamond series. That's in keeping with the author's intention, I'm sure, but it does lend a certain lack of credibility to proceedings. A decent, diverting read - but not Lovesey's best by a long shot
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A quiet Wiltshire village has a spate of sudden deaths - are they connected and could it be murder? How does popular (with the ladies) vicar Otis Joy come into it?

The wonderful thing about this story is how satisfying it is. Normally with murder mysteries there is a certain amount of gory detail and clues dotted about so we can try to work out whodunnit. Normally this is done by working out who seems the least likely to have committed the crime and trying to fit him/her to the clues. An avid murder-mystery reader will work it out fairly easily and feel smug or disappointed at the end of the book. With 'The Reaper' we know whodunnit right from the out-set. What is enjoyable is working out if this person gets away with it and how we want the drama to be resolved.

It combines great writing with an ever popular Midsommer Murder type setting, a Wiltshire village populated by the usual village type people,including the local bobby who plays scrabble with the vicar. It is also a 'cosy' with the appropriate cosy setting but throws a scattering of humour here and there so you can really enjoy it and hope that the ending is satisying and not the 'inevitable'.

It is satisfying and doesn't disappoint. Savour it and enjoy it and possibly wish there were more books like this.
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