20 January 2013

Review: THE OFFICE OF THE DEAD, Andrew Taylor - audio

Synopsis (Fantastic Fiction)

It's 1958, and the party's over for Wendy Appleyard: she finds herself penniless, jobless and on the brink of divorce. Who better to come to her rescue than her oldest friend, Janet Byfield?

So Wendy goes to stay with Janet, who seems to have everything Wendy lacks: a handsome husband, a lovely little daughter, Rosie, and a beautiful home in the Cathedral Close of Rosington. David Byfield is on the verge of promotion, and Janet is the perfect wife for an ambitious young clergyman. But perfection has always been dangerous, and gradually the idyll sours.

Old sins come to haunt the present and breed new sins in their place. The shadow of death seeps through the Close, and with it comes the double mystery stretching back to turn-of-the-century Rosington, to a doomed poet-priest called Francis Youlgreave.

Only Wendy, the outsider looking in, glimpses the truth. But can she grasp its dark and twisted logic in time to prevent the coming tragedy. The Office of the Dead is a chilling novel of crime and retribution, and is the third volume of Andrew Taylor's stunning and acclaimed Roth Trilogy.

My Take

With The Roth Trilogy of which THE OFFICE OF THE DEAD is the last published, but the first in strict chronological order of events, Andrew Taylor attempted to do something alarmingly strange.
Now I've finished reading all three, I feel like I should go back and read them all again. The author says I can read them in any order, but I suspect that is not really so. I think also it will help if you read them all within a short time frame, not, as I have done, over an extended period.

It is not just the linked histories of the Appleyards and the Byfields that bind the novels together as one, but the presence throughout of the rather sinister (or was he, as some characters insist, a "good" man, ?), Canon Francis Youlgreave.

The Roth Trilogy

Previously reviewed

Top marks to Andrew Taylor for a thoroughly intriguing series in which more than one crime, more than one murder, is committed. The characters are strong, red herrings abound.

My rating: 4.5

Read more for yourself about the Roth Trilogy on Andrew Taylor's site.


Anonymous said...

Kerrie - I always like it too - very much - when an author tries an innovative approach to telling stories. This one looks like a really interesting series, so thanks for sharing it.

Mrs Peabody said...

Thanks for this great review, Kerrie. I absolutely loved the Roth Trilogy, and thought the way the novels moved back in time was a stroke of genius. An archeological approach to uncovering the causes of evil: fantastic!

I read the novels in quick succession and was glad to have done so: you really experience the cumulative impact of all the narratives that way.

You've made me want to re-read them now :)

Irene said...

Sounds like a good series.

Susan said...

Right, so this is on my to-find list as soon as possible! Really good review, Kerrie, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have a couple of Andrew Taylor's books, he writes interesting mysteries, doesn't he?


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