21 April 2011

Review: THE JUDGEMENT OF STRANGERS, Andrew Taylor - audio

Available from Audible.com
Narrated by Ric Jerrom 
Length: 10 hours 8 mins
Publisher: BBC WW
Originally published: 1998

Publishers blurb:
David Byfield, a widowed parish priest, brings home a new wife. Soon the murders and blasphemies begin. But does the responsibility lie in the present or the past? And can Byfield break through to the truth before the final tragedy destroys what he most cherishes?

My take:
Once I started listening to this, from somewhere the vague knowledge surfaced that it was part of Taylor's Roth trilogy. In fact, I know I had intended to read the trilogy once and here I was listening to #2 in the series.

It is ten years since his first wife died and David Byfield has been celibate all that time, focussing his attention on bringing up his daughter Rosemary, who is now getting ready for her university entrance exams. Rosemary is resentful of her new step-mother Vanessa, and Vanessa has no intention of being simply a vicar's wife. She has a successful career in publishing and has no intention of abandoning it.

Roth Park, the manor house near the vicarage, has recently been bought by Toby Clifford and his sister Joanna. They have hopes of turning it into a classy hotel.

The village of Roth, on the outskirts of London, and being brought closer to the city by a motorway, is about to have the church fete and on night of the fete everything comes to a climax.

THE JUDGEMENT OF OTHERS is a deceptive mixture of saga, village cozy, romance, and crime novel with a slight touch of the paranormal.
Sometimes you feel sorry for David Byfield, at other times you feel like shaking him.

My rating: 4.4

I remember hearing Andrew Taylor talking at a Writers Festival (perhaps Adelaide some years back) talking about the Roth trilogy.
There are 3 books in the trilogy:
1. The Four Last Things (1997)
2. The Judgement of Strangers (1998)
3. The Office of the Dead (2000)
and then they were published as Requiem for an Angel (omnibus) (2002)  aka Fallen Angel
The blurb for the latter gives a clue about the structure of the trilogy:
Beginning, in "The Four Last Things", with the abduction of little Lucy Appleyard and a grisly discovery in a London graveyard, the layers of the past are gradually peeled away through "The Judgement of Strangers" and "The Office of the Dead" to unearth the roots of a very immediate horror.

Well, it has me hooked. I'm going to listen to THE FOUR LAST THINGS next.


Dorte H said...

I enjoyed his intriguing trilogy a lot. The first time I read it forwards which is really backwards, and the second time I read it backwards, but I am not sure I´d recommend beginning with the middle part ;)

I do admit I also wanted to shake a male character once in a while, and perhaps not only David Byfield.

Martin Edwards said...

I really love the whole Roth Trilogy. Quite fascinating and unusual.


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