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4.1 out of 5 stars27
4.1 out of 5 stars
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This is the third Lovejoy novel by John Grant writing under the name Jonathan Gash and first published in 1979. If you have never read any of the Lovejoy novels before and only watched the tv series then I feel it only fair to point out that there are differences between the two.

It starts when Lovejoy comes across a beautifully forged sword, and when he meets the maker he is told that the man owns the Holy Grail. Of course legends abound about the Grail and it is unlikely to be real, but Lovejoy agrees to value the item.

Of course for Lovejoy the fates step in his way, what with the Grail owner mysteriously dying. And so, once again Lovejoy is once more caught up in a case that entails murder. With the man's death, and an antique shop done over the police are breathing down Lovejoy's neck and he has to go all out to solve the case.

With his own life in danger, woman trouble and a new trainee Lovejoy is still able to take time out to give us his advice on antiques in his usual down to earth style. I should point out that despite the title and the story centering around the supposed Holy Grail this isn't mystical or New Age, as you read you will see why the actual object is valuable, whatever its origins. This is an entertaining read with mystery, adventure and humour, but the question has to be asked, will Lovejoy ever set eyes upon the supposed Grail?
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on 4 August 2013
I bought four Lovejoy books as a bit of light reading to make a change from my usual historical fiction. They were enjoyable up to a point. Apart from the main characters which were always the same in all the Lovejoy books the other characters were all different, the plots were all different, i.e. the objects concerned were very diverse, but the end remained the same. Lovejoy always came through and survived all the threats to his life. He didn't always come out completely unscathed but he did always win. All in all a good story and enjoyable, but as I read all four in succession they became a bit predictable.
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on 20 January 2016
The Grail Tree is no.3 in a sequence of 27 novels written by Jonathan Gash. These can be found listed in Wikipedia which also provides information on the author (John Grant), who graduated as a doctor and served for many years in the Royal Army Medical Corps, and subsequently as an academic in the School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. He is also the author of several other novels. The Lovejoy novels were also the basis of a TV series which was screened between 1986 and 1994.

Wikipedia describes the novels as picaresque; meaning that they describe the episodic adventures of rogues. Lovejoy is described as a loveable rogue - especially by women; indeed each episode usually introduces a new one. While they are happy to share his bed, they try to keep him on the straight and narrow when it comes to the law.

The novels are of particular interest to me because for many years I lived near Colchester, between the town and the coast where most of the novels are set.

The title of this particular novel refers to a chalice which its owners refer to as the Grail because it reminded them of the legendary Holy Grail. This chalice is nevertheless a valuable antique in its own right ; so valuable indeed that someone commits murder in the process of stealing it. Lovejoy tracks him down and accuses him. They agree to meet in the Castle Museum on the following Saturday (Fireworks night) and strike a deal; Lovejoy hinting that if they share the proceeds of selling the Chalice he (Lovejoy) won't inform the Police. He is convinced however that the murderer intends to kill him and so he goes to the Castle in the late afternoon and hides there until after the Museum closes. He knows that the murderer has a key. Meanwhile the Fireworks and Bonfire party for the general populace are getting underway
in the Castle Park. The outcome of this secret meeting will be revealed if you buy the book.
In this episode Lovejoy acquires a young bright apprentice, Lydia who features in some of the subsequent novels.

For the record Colchester Castle was built by the Normans on the ruined site of the Roman Temple of Claudius, built in the 1st Century AD.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 November 2013
I enjoyed the first 2 books in the series but this I thought was rather mediocre. Love joy has turned into a rather nasty character with a penchant for domestic violence yet quivers in his boots when threatened - a classic bully. The plot line is ridiculous - murder for the Holy Grail - and very thin. It seems to me to be case of the contract requires a book so Mr Gash just churned this one out. I couldn't in all conscience recommend this book.
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on 6 July 2013
I have little to add to the previous review of Jonathan Gash's Lovejoy books - they are always funny, entertaining light hearted reading and this is what i want at my age - no blood gore violence and sex with explicit details lets have more Lovejoy books at bargin prices
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on 16 July 2013
I bought a couple of these Lovejoy books when on sale for my Kindle, and I'm glad I only bought the two.

I used to watch this on TV many years ago, and enjoyed it, but the books are not my cup of tee.
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on 23 July 2013
I have enjoyed this series and would recommend them all. However, becoming a little similar in plot. ie., always bad guys, beaten up, against all the odds, success. Even so, good read well written.
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on 10 July 2013
Don't quite see how they decided to turn it into a television series. He beats up his girlfriend with no remorse at the end of the book.
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on 26 May 2013
First read this a looooong time ago, just before the tv series made it big in the uk. I remember being delighted by the books, and horrified at how frivolous and 'nice' they had made the tv episodes.

Basically, if you are expecting books that are like the tv then don't waste your money. This Lovejoy is altogether darker, harder, more compassionate and frankly, brilliant.
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on 8 June 2013
Unlike the first two books in the series, I found this book to be not as well written. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the others in the series, but found that the plot lines were fairly jumpy in parts and sometimes disconnected. Still worth a read if you are a Lovejoy fan such as myself.
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