Encouraged by his fourteen-year-old-daughter who recognises his lonely widowhood, Bob Naylor decides to join a writers' circle, believing he might gain some expert help with the poetry which keeps spilling out of his imagination. He discovers a motley collection of wannabe authors who he doubts he has anything in common with, but just as he is deciding not to formally join the group he learns that a publisher who addressed their last meeting has been killed and he stays to see what might develop. The Senior Investigating Officer, Henrietta Mallin, soon has all the members of the group under suspicion and under pressure from her superiors arrests their Chairman. Bob, the only writer who had not met the dead man, is persuaded by some other members of the group to do some investigating of his own. And that is when the trouble really starts, because another death turns the spotlight of suspicion on to him.
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Peter Lovesey has a good eye for small worlds devastated by killings: The Circle takes us into the closed yet instantly recognizable world of writers' circles in small towns. A dodgy vanity publisher gets burned alive in his cottage, and the obvious suspect is a writer he had tricked with false promises; other members of the writers' group try to prove his innocence while the police investigate further killings. Lovesey is very good here on the radically different sorts of leg-work carried out by amateurs and the police, to the disadvantage of neither. For a traditional who-dun-it, this is surprisingly perceptive about the investigative process and the different sorts of clues people miss. He also does an intelligent job of exposition by having his main viewpoint character be a widowed parcel courier with a taste for light verse who is far from sure he wants to be hanging around with all these intellectuals anyway. This is a chastened darkish book, but has a light touch that keeps it attractive. --Roz Kaveney.Book Description:
A writer's circle in Chichester is delighted when a publisher agrees to address one of their meetings, but when that same publisher turns up dead they find themseles and their unpublished ambitions under close police scrutiny.
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Book Description Little Brown & Co (T), 2005. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0316729450