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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 30 September 2011
This is the first book in the Wycliffe series and the first one I have read though I can remember watching the television series many years ago. Wycliffe himself is an interesting character - very laid back and not keen on paper work. This is an interesting case. A woman with a mysterious past and an amoral present is found dead in a house she rents in a small Cornish village.

Many suspects present themselves to Wycliffe's calm and interested gaze and many people have secrets they really want to keep hidden both from the police and from their nearest and dearest.

When Wycliffe and his team start digging into the past they find that the victim's husband died in mysterious circumstances and one of her lovers almost died in a suspect road accident which has left him badly scarred. I liked the writing and the way the claustrophobic atmosphere of the small community is evoked. The characters and their motivations are well drawn and believable.

If you prefer your crime without graphic violence and bad language then give this series a try. This is crime writing in the classic mould and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading such authors as Patricia Wentworth, Georgette Heyer, Gladys Mitchell and Margery Allingham.
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on 26 December 2016
In this short novel, a few inhabitants in the Cornish village of Kergwyn comes to life during the police investigation of a young woman's death. And in his first novel, with many more to follow, William J Burley introduce the reader to the world of superintendent Wycliffe. The lasting impression from this case will not be who did what, or why, instead you'll remember the subtle and elusive English countryside, delicate characterized from the view of the superintendent. Published in 1968 we are far away from technical gadgets, mobile phones or computers. This is police work back to basic which in today's blazing world for some of us might be perceived as obsolete and slow, but for others, nonetheless charmingly effective.
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on 22 September 2017
You don't know who's done it till the end. Very good story. I do not remember this one being televised.
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on 26 March 2013
Like to load my Kindle when going away and the Wycliffe stories are easy to read and provide a good way to spend a few hours whilst sitting by the pool! The background detail is always worth a second read and Mr Burley certainly knew his Cornish countryside and made tremendous use of it in his stories.
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on 22 June 2015
Nowhere in the Kindle edition does it mention that this book was written in 1968 , i was at school in Cornwall at the time, and it is interesting to contrast this novel with , say, a Booth (cooper & Fry) novel. The scant 'police procedural' aspect, no DNA, ridiculous SOCO work and an apparent lack of radios make it seem very quaint.
There are also so many signs of how 'political correctness' has changed Britain , the drinking, smoking a pipe ( when did i last see a man with a pipe?) and of course the attitudes to morals., i can't imagine Sgt. Fry using the word 'queer'.
A bit of a historical novel then.
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on 22 July 2013
Wycliffe and the west country, a gentle wander through genteel suspects and laid-back policeman. The sort of book I like to read.
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on 8 April 2013
Bought as gift for relative, fan of the television series will enjoy the books. good price and good service, thanks
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on 3 December 2010
The story clips along with twists and turns as you'd expect. In my mind I have the TV Wycliffe acting out the scenes but the original is a more awkward character and naturally of the era in which the book was written. Even the title is a play on words and a reminder of the language of the era.

A good read.
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on 28 February 2015
I now realise why the TVs series was made. Superb writing. Literally could not put the book down. Will continue with the next novel .
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on 22 March 2013
The relentlessly nasty-minded description of the gay characters is disgusting, adds nothing to the plot, nor makes any sense within it. It's not "of its time"; it's just unpleasant.
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