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4.3 out of 5 stars11
4.3 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 20 February 2007
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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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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on 15 May 2015
I remember the Wycliffe ITV series from the 1990s, in which the eponymous detective was played, with an under-statedness bordering on boring, by Jack Shepherd. The Cornish scenery always seemed the most interesting part -- so I was curious to find out if the character would come live more on the page.

He does, a bit: tetchy and acerbic, but also a 'proper copper', unwilling to stay stuck behind a desk just because he's a chief superintendent. In this eighth instalment in the series, Wycliffe investigates the death of respected builder and undertaker Jonathan Riddle, who spends the first half of the book clocking up mortal enemies -- a sprinkling of inevitably colourful Cornish characters -- whose alibis can be tested in the second half of the book.

It's a light, enjoyable read which most of all will make you want to visit Cornwall (again).
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on 13 August 2013
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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on 26 January 2014
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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on 15 June 2015
wonderful! twists and turns as ever with all these wonderful books by W J Burley. On to the next one!
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on 11 June 2015
Another good story of the exploits of the detective and the book arrived in good condition
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on 23 May 2016
excellent novel. Who is guilty?
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on 18 January 2015
Good well written story
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on 18 March 2015
Good service
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