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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Picture a rectory in a small English village, and you will probably call up associations of sanctuary, harmony, shelter and reverence. Read a few chapters of this excellent crime novel and you’ll see a very different picture. The vicar, no longer holding office in the church, peoples the childless household with young offenders serving their time of rehabilitation. For his wife, who owns the house, the nightmare of living in such a loveless marriage and such a dysfunctional household seems to turn into reality when she believes she has been responsible for the death of one of the inmates. Blackmail attempts follow, then murder. The case becomes one for Inspector Barnaby and Sergeant Troy to investigate.
Author Caroline Graham is one of the best living practitioners of detective fiction. Her books have literary merit, the characters are as well rounded as is feasible in a whodunit game, and the denouements are neither too melodramatic nor too predictable. I can always read to the end with comfort, well able to remember and distinguish all the characters. There is a particularly venomous character here, Terry Jackson, who is hard to forget. Then there is the always sharply presented depiction of the Barnaby household, to which a son-in-law has by now been added.
Caroline Graham’s Midsomer Murder novels appear every two or three years. This one dates from 1999 and is one of the best.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 5 May 2002
an absorbing,intelligent example of entertaining crime fiction. credible diverse characterisation
& very funny in parts too...something which seems to have been lost in the rather ponderous TV adaptations. if u havent read any of the Barnaby/Troy series yet, prepare to become addicted. ive read them all now & sincerely hope ms. Graham is in the midst of writing another.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Tension is constantly increasing as DCI Barnaby, DS Troy and their team are working hard to ferret out the information that at least will piece the murder and the alleged disappearance together. And then it all comes crashing down like a house of cards when a promising source of information is attacked and beaten into a coma - I was even more frustrated than Troy!
A solid and intriguing plot with a slow moving investigation though. But the mystery unfolds exactly fast enough to keep your nose in the book. Fine twist at the end as it turns out one of the key answers had been staring them into the face since early on.
I believe one of the reasons for me to consider this the best so far is the fact that this one hasn't been produced for television ... yet. "A Place of Safety" definitely doesn't show in the episode guides, and I don't recall the plot or parts of it being used in any of the many episodes I've seen so far, and I'm only eleven short at the moment. Okay, the silver wedding anniversary of Joyce & Tom Barnaby does ring a bell, but I can't put my finger on it ...
If you are looking for great whodunits, Caroline Graham delivers every time. I've already got "A Ghost in the Machine" and "Death in Disguise" lined up.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A girl falls into a river and appears to drown. An unpleasant man is out walking his dog at night and is discovered next morning dead and his dog seriously injured. Someone is being blackmailed and others are engaged in activities which may or may not result in harm to them or others. Tom Barnaby and his wife, Joyce, are about to celebrate their silver wedding anniversary - can they actually manage to have a celebratory meal with their daughter and son-in-law without crime getting in the way?

In spite of the promising ingredients this book did not hold my attention in the same way others in the series have done. I liked the characters and thought the nasty ones were particularly obnoxious but there seemed to be something lacking in this complex story and the way the solution was revealed. It could be that as I have read the series virtually back to back that boredom is setting in - I am not sure.

The book is well written but I felt the plot was a little too complex and it would have been fairly difficult for the reader to work out who was the murderer. On sheer character alone it was possible to see who the most likely suspect was but it didn't seem that this person could be responsible.

In spite of those criticisms I did enjoy the book - just not as much as I have enjoyed the rest of the series so far. Barnaby and Troy are still good value as characters and the village setting was well done but there was just something lacking to my mind - though others may love this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 December 2013
This is a bit different to Graham's other whodunits. Two thirds through a baffling case, Barnaby names the killer but confesses he cannot prove it.
Of course, he does eventually, yet only after suffering some teasing contempt from a murderer who enjoys baiting the police and, in particular, Barnaby.
Caroline Graham loves her characters. I gained the impression here that she did not want to let them go, even after the case is solved and everything plausibly explained! Ten pages follow the wrap-up, unnecessary in my opinion but an enjoyable bonus.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 July 2013
Showed me how good the whole TV adaptation was... Taking something as rich and lovely but dark and sinister, and ultimately deeply moving... And doing justice to it (this one never was filmed though, so no spoilers)!

Caroline Graham's style pulls you in ever deeper -red herrings abound - and verdant English villages are awash with dark humour, morbid eccentricity, and evil deeds!

Love it you will, as long as you like crime and England!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 July 2013
I love this book, just couldn't put it down!!! Anyone who loves a good who dunit with twists will love this book too.
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on 20 August 2013
Another impeccable example of her talent as a writer. As always her timing is excellent, her characters superbly drawn and it is so easy to lose oneself into the villagers' lives. Her eye for detail and the attention she puts in character analysis is simply superb. A really gifted writer! As for Barnaby she really has created an immensely complex and likeable persona, hard but fair, driven but very human. A wonderful creation.
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on 1 February 2014
I loved "A Place of Safety". It is my favourite of the Chief Inspector Barnaby novels. It has it all, murder, blackmail,intrigue and skullduggery aplenty.
Barnaby is grumpy as ever and Troy is his usual obnoxious self.
A well written, suspenseful, thoroughly enjoyable read.
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on 23 August 2014
This is a great read, full of wonderful characters, humour and clever plotting. Troy in particular is very well drawn and enormously entertaining. I don't think this was adapted for TV apart from the anniversary thread so it is quite fresh too.
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