Synopses & Reviews
Robert Barnard, the internationally acclaimed Diamond Dagger-winning crime writer, dissects family bonds at their best and worst in this stunning novel of suspense.
What an honor—to become trustee of an English stately home museum. Yorkshire Detective Inspector Charlie Peaces wife, Felicity, is initially thrilled when shes asked to join the board that oversees Walbrook Manor, an eighteenth-century mansion thats now part of a charitable trust. Shes in for some surprises.
With its shabby salons and drafty hallways, Walbrook shows signs of the financial burden it caused its recent owners, members of the related Quarles and Fiennes families, known more for feuds than for affectionate familial ties. They are known also for shadowy intrigues, great and small, some of which may emerge now that Walbrook and its archives are open to the public. The revelations could be devastating . . . and dangerous.
Rupert Fiennes and Sir Stafford Quarles represent two lines of Walbrooks lords of the manor. Rupert seems relieved to have relinquished the estate to charitable hands, while Sir Stafford clings with perhaps unseemly pride to his position as chairman of the Walbrook Manor Trust Board. A tentative peace reigns, but when the wreck of a car and the remains of a body turn up in a nearby lake, it soon becomes clear that one of Walbrooks grimmest secrets may date to the years between the two world wars and may involve something much worse than mere malice.
With police resources focused on more timely cases, Charlie and Felicity are left to discover that old sins are never forgotten, that “family” means more than a slot on the ancestral tree, and that sometimes there can be a good reason for murder.
Suspenseful, witty, and, as always, superbly insight-ful, A Charitable Body shows acclaimed master of mystery Robert Barnard at his clever best.
"Though billed as 'a novel of suspense,' Barnard's 10th outing for Yorkshire's Det. Insp. Charlie Peace (after 2009's The Killings on Jubilee Terrace) forgoes any real sense of danger or urgency for a verbose, witty excursion into the secrets of history and family. The book splits its measured time between Charlie and his wife, Felicity, a writer recently appointed to the trust board of Walbrook Manor, an old country house donated to the state by owner Rupert Fiennes. She discovers that Walbrook's 1930s high point as a center for artistic gatherings and pacifist activism may have masked disturbing political allegiances, while her husband investigates the discovery of decades-old human bones in a nearby pond. Their parallel courses gradually converge on the past rivalry between the stately home's two sets of ancestral owners, the Fienneses and the Quarleses. Barnard's animated, articulate characters are a pleasure to spend time with, but his focus on past events leads to a static modern-day story likely to satisfy only longtime series fans." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A new mystery set at one of England's stately homes and featuring beloved Yorkshire cop, Charlie Peace. By Diamond Dagger award winner Robert Barnard.
About the Author
Robert Barnard (1936-2013) was awarded the Malice Domestic Award for Lifetime Achievement and the Nero Wolfe Award, as well as the Agatha and Macavity awards. An eight-time Edgar nominee, he was a member of Britain's distinguished Detection Club, and, in May 2003, he received the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for lifetime achievement in mystery writing. His most recent novel, Charitable Body, was published by Scribner in 2012.