Learn more Download now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

VINE VOICEon 25 April 2007
Wycliffe thinks to himself that this is one of his most intriguing cases and becomes increasingly disturbed. WJB takes the reader on a psychological roller-coaster - there are family feuds, a common theme in Wycliffe novels, unresolved past conflicts, murder, suicide, a quiet antiquarian bookseller, a lesbian doctor, a redhead who is very ill and more. All this set in tranquil scenery and Wycliffe's own magical favourite place - St. Ives. As a devoted fan of Wycliffe I recommend this as one of his very best - and I may have said that before. There's little more the reader could want from crime fiction.
0Comment| 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
Wycliffe is called in to investigate the case of a missing young woman, Morwenna Barker, the redhead of the title. She has been working for antiquarian bookseller, Simon Meagor, and sharing the flat over the shop with him. Simon is almost too honest and open for his own good which resulted in him giving evidence in a manslaughter trial some years ago.

The man convicted at that trial was Morwenna's father and he committed suicide shortly after he was released from prison. Morwenna, who has her own problems and agenda, asked Simon to give her a job in the bookshop but Simon starts to mistrust her motives. When she fails to return from a short break he reluctantly decides to report her missing.

There are many dark undercurrents in this story with some nasty rumours being circulated about Simon and his possible involvement in Morwenna's disappearance. Wycliffe finds himself with conflicting loyalties as he has bought books from Simon over the years and feels it is unlikely that Simon is in any way involved in spite of some damning evidence. But it is evidence and not feelings which make a case and Wycliffe resolves to find out what has happened.

I enjoyed this story and in my opinion it is probably one of the best in this excellent series. There is some interesting psychology involved and some fascinating characters which are well drawn and believable.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 April 2013
This is the first book by W.J. Burley, who died in 2002 at the age of 88, that I have read and see that it is the 21st book in the series featuring Detective Superintendent Wycliffe of Cornwall CID; the author only began writing the series at the age of 52 after he had retired as a schoolteacher.

This story centres on Simon Meagor, an antiquarian bookseller, who some years before was a crucial witness in a killing which resulted in George Barker being convicted. Shortly after his release Barker commits suicide and, not long after that, his wife dies. The children, Morwenna, the red-head of the title, and petty criminal Nicky, both blame Meagor for what has happened to their family.

Morwenna answers an advert for an assistant that Meagor has placed and, somewhat surprisingly, he takes her on. Although he understands that she is probably scheming against him he is strangely passive until, one weekend, she disappears. When Morwenna is found dead in her characteristic yellow mini in a flooded quarry, and Wycliffe doubts that neither accident nor suicide are involved, Meagor becomes an obvious suspect. Wycliffe's team, including DS Lucy Lane, DI Doug Kersey and Dr. Franks, the pathologist, join him in the investigation, which eventually ends us with the killer identified and the motive revealed.

Amongst characters introduced in the second half of the novel is an amateur insect collector, which perhaps harks back to the author's own study of zoology. Throughout the novel Wycliffe comes across as a not-terribly exciting family man who takes walks to mull over key aspects of the case. I suspect that underwhelming response was, in part, due to the fact that I had recently read two of Donna Leon's novels featuring Commissario Brunetti and his colleagues in Venice and, in these, the character of the policeman at the heart of the novel is very much more engaging.

I have read that the Burley was very critical of his work saying that he "never felt very happy with his books - they seemed rather too derivative, following too closely an established pattern". Having just read the one novel I am not in a position to judge whether this book is typical of Burley's oeuvre or whether, by the time that this book was written, he had settled into a rather formulaic procedure which was greatly appreciated by his readers as is shown by the other reviewers.

I will try another book, perhaps written earlier, before making any final decision.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 29 December 2010
If you love Wycliffe already or even if you just like British detective novels, then this is a book for you. Well crafted plot, leanly written, always compelling. I am a fan of this W.J Burley series and this book never let me down. Very worthwhile buy.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 25 January 2015
Typical Wycliffe book. Bit more than a pot boiler, but a pure police procedural.

I wanted to get to the end, and the end was non-obvious, if it did depend on a Dickensian type coincidence.

A claustrophobic feeling appropriate to the subject and locale.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 30 January 2015
Great book, well written by W.J Burley, the Wycliffe series are great if you prefer the murder mysterie genre. Would recommend if you also enjoy the Ruth Rendells, Agatha Christie books..
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 23 August 2013
A very interesting read which I fully recommend. The plot very good and a much deserved five stars. Kindle readers of crime can't go wrong with Burley and his much loved Wycliffe.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 19 December 2011
I bought this as a present but the person it was for says its just as good as the authors other works. Item received within the delivery due date and in perfect condition.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 22 November 2011
Very standard which is to say very well done. All the usual suspects. Most enjoyable and thoroughly well written and plotted..
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 8 April 2013
Bought as gift for relative, fan of the television series will enjoy the books. good price and good service, thanks
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse