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Wycliffe and the Scapegoat [Paperback]

W.J. Burley
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

5 Jun 2003

Every year, at Halloween, high on the Cornish cliffs, a life-sized effigy of a man is strapped to a blazing wheel and run into the sea - a re-enactment of a hideous old legend where the figure had been a living sacrifice.

And now Jonathan Riddle, well-known and respected local builder and undertaker, has disappeared - and it seems all too likely that his corpse has gone the way of the historic 'scapegoat'.

As Chief Superintendent Wycliffe begins to investigate, more and more unpleasant facts emerge until he is left with an incredible, and seemingly impossible, solution . . .

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Orion; New Ed edition (5 Jun 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752849719
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752849713
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 11 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 256,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

An ancient legend, an all-too modern murder, and Chief Superintendent Wycliffe must find the link between them ...

About the Author

W.J. Burley lived near Newquay in Cornwall, and was a schoolmaster until he retired to concentrate on his writing. His many Wycliffe books include, most recently, Wycliffe and the Guild of Nine. He died in 2002.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
JONATHAN RIDDLE WALKED down Bethel Street between two rows of identical granite cottages whose front doors opened on to the street. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cornish legend 20 Feb 2007
By Jane Baker VINE VOICE
This was not the usual rivetting Burley for me. I was not deeply engrossed though never tempted to give up on it. As usual his depiction of Cornwall and the surrounding coast was as entrancing as ever but the story was rather "thin" and more about local animosities and inter family grudges than murder. Even Wycliffe didn't seem transfixed by the brooding solitary figures he came into contact with. Characters were more weird than complex and they never came alive. Lots of motives but not really plausible enough or deep-rooted to warrant murder. Just a bit too shallow, both in plot and background. I'll carry on reading his works though so , whilst disappointing, not bad enough to call it a day on him. I've already got "The quiet Virgin" lined up to read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Murder and ritual 2 Jan 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Jonathan Riddle - local undertaker and builder - is far from being the most popular person in the town. When he disappears the day before the `scapegoat' is sent into fiery oblivion in the annual local ritual rumour has it that this was no dummy but the dead Riddle's body.

Wycliffe - having watched the burning wheel with its dummy attached disappearing into the sea - does not believe the rumour. In his usual fashion he seeks to understand the life of the victim in order to work out how, why and by whom he has been killed.

There is some doubt as to whether Riddle is dead but some of his clothes have been found and he has not been in contact with his family which is out of character. Wycliffe has to assume he is dead. As he digs deeper he discovers plenty of people who could have had motive for doing away with the victim - not least his own family.

This is a fascinating story showing how family life is rarely what it seems like to outsiders. I am enjoying reading this interesting series with its West Country settings and its believable characters and plots and I would recommend it to anyone who likes conventional crime novels without too much violence or bad language.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Book club choice 26 Jan 2014
By Tracy
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was chosen by my book club to read. Had never read any of the other Wycliffe books, but now am a fan
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very good 13 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I always enjoy WJBurley and his Wycliffe stories. Anyone who enjoys crime thrillers must give them a try.A well deserved five stars and recommend to all Kindle readers.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre 1 Nov 2010
This is the first of the Wycliffe books but I did find them rather bland. Compared to the Sherlock Holmes novels I found the clues to be much too clear, and Wycliffe as a bland and dull facility to tell the story through. Im not sure if they are all the same, but the full price for this novel is definately not worth it... But maybe that's just me!
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