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Written in Blood [Paperback]

Caroline Graham
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

4 Oct 2007

It's clear to most members of Midsomer Worthy's Writers' Circle that asking bestselling author Max Jennings to talk to them is a little ambitious. Less clear are the reasons for secretary Gerald Hadleigh's fierce objections to seeing the man - a face from his past - again. Astonishingly, Jennings accepts the invitation but, before the night is out, Gerald is dead.

Summoned to investigate, Chief Inspector Barnaby finds that Gerald's life is as much of a mystery to his neighbours as his violent death. The key is surely their illustrious guest speaker - but where is he now?

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Written in Blood + Death in Disguise + Faithful unto Death
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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Headline (4 Oct 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755342186
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755342181
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 70,677 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'The classic English detective story brought right up to date' Sunday Telegraph 'Plenty of horror spiked by humour, all twirling in a staggering danse macabre' The Sunday Times 'Very funny, with a brilliant cast of eccentrics' Yorkshire Post 'Enlivened by a very sardonic wit and turn of phrase, the narrative drive never falters... a most impresssive performance' Birmingham Post --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Dark secrets from the past lead to violence in the engrossing fourth mystery in the Inspector Barnaby series

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
My first Caroline Graham, but not my last. A beautifully crafted murder mystery, blending peaceful village life with the unpleasantness of modern living. At its centre is the writing group of Midsomer Worthy, and when one of the group is brutally killed, the guest speaker is the main suspect. Gradually the police untie the knots, dig out the secrets, stir up everyone's lives, and unmask the murderer. Sounds like a thousand other crime stories, so why was I gripped from first page to last by this fascinating book ? Partly because it is so skilfully written, with witty, flowing dialogue and characters wonderfully brought to life. Partly because of the great pair of policemen, the good-hearted but grumpy Barnaby, and Troy, the insecure sergeant, and the crackly relationship between them. Partly because of what makes this good book into a great one - the colourful minor characters, all so interesting that one never minded leaving the main story for a while to enter their lives. Like patient,artistic Sue, who finally rebels against her appalling wimp of a husband. That's Brian, so awful that he is wonderful - the seduction scene where he gets his come-uppance is hilarious. And elderly Rex, who is devastated when he finds that he isn't as brave as he thought he was. Great fun to read, terrible to come to the end. I can and will meet Barnaby and Troy again, but what happens to all the others ? I can only hope that Caroline Graham works this magic in all her books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent crime novel 11 Nov 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The village of Midsomer Worthy has a writing circle. Like most such groups it occasionally invites authors to speak at a meeting and give its members advice on their writing. Secretary Gerald Hadleigh does not react well to the suggestion that he should write to bestselling author Max Jennings and invite him to attend one of their meetings.

But write he does and Max accepts the invitation. Gerald asks Rex, a fellow group member, to ensure that he does not leave Gerald on his own with Max but doesn't explain why. When Gerald is found battered to death following the meeting and Max has apparently disappeared it seems like an open and shut case for Barnaby and Troy.

Barnaby is reminded forcibly of his own advice to subordinates to always keep an open mind about a case and he ensures that all the group members are questioned and asked to account for their movements though motives seem to be lacking as Gerald is such a mild and inoffensive person. Many secrets and obsessions will be brought to light before the murderer is revealed.

I enjoyed this well written and very detailed crime novel. The characters are all too believable and clues and red herrings are scattered throughout the story. The reader is given insights into the lives of all the writing group members and I felt sympathy for all of them. I thought the relationships between the characters were well done too especially those between Honoria and her sister in law, Amy and Sue and her unpleasant husband Brian. Laura's unrequited love is treated sympathetically too. Village life and its claustrophobic aspects are really brought to life.

I like Barnaby and Troy as characters and I especially liked how they were seen through the eyes of the people they are investigating.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Graham at her best 26 Aug 2012
By Blue in Washington TOP 500 REVIEWER TOP 1000 REVIEWER
What's better than a mystery that unravels slowly and saves a major punch (as well as its resolution) for the last few pages? "Written in Blood" by Caroline Graham is certainly one of those books. The reader just doesn't see the ending coming as it does after being presented with a grand assortment of possibilities for some 350 pages. Along the way, author Graham gives us some of the best-drawn characters imaginable. This is a murder mystery to be sure, but there is also wonderful humor and irony crammed into its pages. It is full of good-hearted souls, tragic figures, crass bullies, eccentrics and classic English police inspectors. The author leans heavily toward retribution for the bad and rebirth for the good. The formula works very well in this well-constructed novel.

"Written in Blood" tells the story of the murder of one of the members of a village writing group. The victim is someone who has been intensely private since arriving in the neighborhood and has remained an intriguing enigma to his neighbors and group acquaintences. It is the unwinding of his personal history that more or less drives the novel forward. The author is in no hurry here and takes good time along the way to resolving the murder to spinout the stories the other members of the group and their families and neighbors. This sometimes takes an almost Dickensian tone. A description of one of the minor characters was a favorite of mine: "Mr. Jocelyne, a short man with a markedly pouty chest and tiny hands and feet, came towards them. (Inspector) Barnaby was reminded of a pigeon. Everything about the solicitor was grey--his pin-striped arms and legs, the soft, sparsely distributed curls of hair upon his head and the more wiry tufts spring from his ears. Even his nails had a blue-grey tinge.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Social situations a joy, puzzle superb 5 Oct 2013
By Cathy
The clues are clear enough for astute readers, but I missed them - as does Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby. In the final pages, recalling his record of interviews, he reveals a discrepancy. Still I didn't get it, until the final thrilling death. Caroline Graham is an extremely skilled author who obviously thinks long and hard about great ways to entertain her readers. Even without intriguing murder, this story would be chuckle-chuckle good. But, of course, we all love it when puzzling slaughter intrudes on a tranquil English village.
While the author well merits her five stars in this whodunit, the publisher, Headline Book Publishing, gets a raspberry for sloppy editing. The paperback I bought (1995 edition) had a terrible booboo at the end, just as the salient detail of the whole mystery was being revealed. A paragraph break where there should not have been one, plus a misplaced quotation mark, caused me to blink, ponder, read the thing three times and curse the timing of this simple but unforgivable error. Oh well, the baffling ways of big publishers defy all ken!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Written
Caroline Graham is a great murder detective writer, her books keep you interested throughout and this one is no different, a very good read, if you enjoy the Barnaby cases you will... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Scott
5.0 out of 5 stars Written in Blood
"Written in Blood" was quite simply a brilliant, entertaining read. It is a well written, classic whodunnit that keeps the reader guessing right to the end. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars It works for me
Well rounded characters, lots of psychological detail, an uncanny eye to describe the balance between people in a relationship, I really enjoyed reading 'Written in blood'. Read more
Published 11 months ago by H. Lacroix
5.0 out of 5 stars The follover of Golden age of detective genre
Even if you have watched Midsummer Murders, it is definitelly worthwhile to read Graham's books as well. They are simply brilliant! Read more
Published 13 months ago by petlin
4.0 out of 5 stars Great night time read
I have always loved Midsomer Murders, i was a bit apprehensive to then try the original story, this book did not dis appoint, although the main characters are not described as we... Read more
Published 14 months ago by mags
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprised
I was very disappointed with the first half of the book, it dealt more with the names of confectionery than it did with the crime. Read more
Published 14 months ago by gary c atkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Bookworm
I love the TV series Midsomer Murders I find the series follows the books quite faithfully. The slight variations make it very interesting.
Published 16 months ago by Mickey
5.0 out of 5 stars midsommer murders
a good mystery whodunnit, the characters of barnaby and gavin are totally different from the tv programme nevertheless as interesting. Read more
Published 16 months ago by mr n
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read
This is one of a couple of Murder Mysteries that I've read recently. Having never read anything by Caroline Graham before, but having seen many episodes of Midsomer Murders it was... Read more
Published on 5 Jun 2010 by Dr Jamie
5.0 out of 5 stars Midsomer Murders un-plugged!
I'm not a passionate everyday reader of whodunits but this appears to be a particularly good one of the kind. Read more
Published on 19 Feb 2010 by Steen Lykke Laursen
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