18 September 2015


  • this edition published 1995 by Corgi
  • Originally published 1992
  • #19 in the Wycliffe series
  • ISBN 0-552-14221-2
  • 220 pages
  • source: My Mount TBR
Synopsis (Fantastic Fiction)

The body of Cochran Wilder had lain buried in the sand dunes for 15 years. Inspector Wycliffe suspects the involvement of six people, now well-established figures in the Cornish community. All are disturbed by his questioning, and a second murder seems to confirm his suspicions.

My Take

I was familiar with the Wycliffe television series and picked this novel up from a second hand book stall a few years back but have never read it. The title is #19 in the Wycliffe series which eventually had 22 titles, none of which I have read.

Wycliffe, now a Detective Chief Superintendent, is approaching the end of his career, and is finding that it takes a lot to get him enthusiastic. He rarely gets to participate hands on in an investigation but there is something about this case that he finds interesting, especially as it will require a few nights away from home. It is an attractive alternative too to his bending his mind to the exigencies of an imminent restructuring of his section.

When a second murder occurs, Wycliffe has to decide whether the two are connected. He knows there are six people who have lived with the secret surrounding the death of the body found in the dunes for fifteen years. Just the fact that they all see each other frequently is a constant reminder of what they did. And one of them at least is at breaking point.

A very readable but pretty standard police procedural.

My rating: 4.4

About the author

W.J. Burley (1914-2002) started life as an engineer, and later went to Balliol to read zoology as a mature student. On leaving Oxford he went into teaching and, until his retirement, was senior biology master in a large mixed grammar school in Newquay. He created Inspector Wycliffe in 1966 and the series was  televised with Jack Shepherd starring in the title role.

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