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3.8 out of 5 stars16
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 18 September 2007
This is the first in the Lydmouth series by this author.

It's trying to do something very different from the Roth books so I don't think comparisons work.

It is I think a very atmospheric evocation of the 1950s in a small town, with some local characters but focusing mainly on the newly arrived police inspector and a journalist from London. Both are outsiders. He is doing the police work, she is taking her own journalistic interest in the investigation so you get the two views of the case. Occasionally, they collide.

I liked the combination of the police procedural and the personal aspects of the story as they have equal importance.

Many of these characters will come back again in later stories and the series very skillfully builds up the picture of a small town with its rivalries, crooks, some big, some small, colourful characters. It's more than a crime novel (although I think it does that very well), it's also a subtle portrait of a community at a time of change. Fascinating.

Of course the fact that this is part of a series doesn't mean that this book doesn't have to stand on its own. I think it does. I went on to read the rest of the series in very short order (and enjoyed them all).
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on 7 December 2003
I've read all of the Lydmout hbooks and I find they evoke 1950s Britain very powerfully. The writing is excellent and makes reading the books a pleasure. The characters are completely believable and, unlike another reviewer, I didn't find the plot at all predictable. Thoroughly recommended.
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on 26 September 2014
The Andrew Taylor Lydmouth crime novels series are well-written. I like the fact that they concentrate on developing the main characters and uncovering the truth about the crime that is featured, rather than veering into thriller territory where it all ends up with the detective in peril. The depiction of 1950's Britain was eerily good - and brought back a lot of childhood memories. Well worth reading,
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First Sentence: November is the month of the dead.

Both journalist Jill Francis and Inspector Richard Thornhill are new to Lydmouth and both have issues in their lives. Richard is trying to become accustomed to the ways of the small town and Jill is staying with her friend, Phillip, and his wealthy, and rather imperious wife, Charlotte.

During the clearing of an old property, an old wooden box is found containing a tarnished silver brooch and a baby's bones. They go to the town historian, who points them back to a Victorian-era murder. However, the investigators find that things are not what they seem.

I've only recently discovered Andrew Taylor's books, and what a delightful discovery it is. I'd previously read the second book in the Lydmouth series, but decided to go back and start the series at the beginning.

The setting is different from the norm: early post WWII, small-town England. Being a village, albeit fictional, allows the reader to become familiar with the residents and geography of this community located on the Anglo-Welsh border.

Next the characters: The two primary characters are outsiders to the community and to each other. In this first book, we meet the two characters and, through the story, learn their history and see their association begin. These are not sweetness and light characters, but are very human, as are all the characters in Taylor's story. It reminds one that behind the façade of the idyllic village are people.

Taylor's writing is evocative with a strong sense of time and place. The plot is wonderfully done. It seems quite straightforward, in the beginning, but goes somewhere I certainly never expected.

I so enjoyed this book, I am on a quest to find the rest of the Lydmouth series books.
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on 11 February 2016
This is the first of 8 superlative crime novels. No one since Simenon has managed such a gripping series built round a small group of beautifully realised characters: in this case people living in a small riverside town called Lydmouth.
Each of the 8 novels (this is the first) advances and deepens the characterisations, forming a hugely satisfying whole while composed of eight very different murder investigations of a stunning virtuosity.
Impossible to praise too highly. Would that there was a 9th.
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on 30 April 2010
Set in the 1950s in Lydmouth, an ancient market town on the border between England and Wales. Two newcomers to Lydmouth: Jill Francis and Detective Inspector Richard Thornhill become involved in investigating a mystery. Both, as becomes clear during the story, are caught up with issues in their own lives. Jill, recovering from an emotional experience of her own, is visiting with her former colleague Philip and his wife Charlotte. Detective Inspector Thornhill and his family have their own adjustments to make to life in Lydmouth.

It is the week before Remembrance Sunday. When workmen demolishing an old inn discover a small box, a brooch, a scrap of old newspaper, and the pitiful remains of a newborn baby in a disused privy, the police are called in to investigate. How old are the remains? Could they be related to a woman tried in a celebrated Victorian murder trial? Who is involved in this case, and what is the truth? In looking for answers, Detective Inspector Thornhill finds that there are many more questions and a number of the inhabitants of Lydmouth have secrets which they'd rather not share.

I enjoyed this novel (published in 1995), and I'm looking forward to reading Mr Taylor's other novels - including the series of which this book is the first instalment.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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on 22 June 2014
An air That Kills
Promising title; promise not fulfilled.Preferred the Andrew taylor trilogy that i read before this.This seems rather pedestrian by comparison.
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on 26 March 2014
I felt is was fairly uninspired writing and for me was certainly not a 'page-turner' I was recommended this author but I shall not buy any more of his books.
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on 25 May 2014
No a bad read at all. Good attention to detail. The characters were believable. I will definitely be reading more.
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on 16 February 2015
The first in an excellent series, start with this
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