Wycliffe and Death in a Salubrious Place
by W J Burley
Orion Books (2016)
Paperback 222 pp £8.99
The murder is on the second page, which I always consider an advantage in a crime novel. I’m not keen on the ones where you have to read half a book to get to the action.
It’s an easy read, being well-written and moving on without undue delay. That’s not to say that the plot is simple – it isn’t. There is a satisfying complexity to the plot, which isn’t mirrored in the characters. They are, in the main, simple men and, in the case of the police, all of them seem to smoke pipes.
This, as much as the point on which the plot hinges, indicates that this is one of the earlier books. There is more character development in later books and they also allow women in later. First published in 1973 this is a fourth novel in a series that eventually went to over 20 titles.
The plot point? A local girl, infatuated with a pop star who has retired to the Isles of Scilly, purposely gets pregnant by him in the belief that he will then feel he has to marry her. It’s not a moral dilemma that has worn well over the years, though it’s nice to take a step back in time when things were more innocent.
Good read, well paced and with a challenging plot. I’d recommend it, but as someone said in another review, don’t buy it as you aren’t likely to read it again.
My copy was passed to me by a neighbour, which allows me to feel quite relaxed about the whole thing. If I’d paid full price I may have been more critical.