A Charitable Body
A Charitable Body
A Novel of Suspense
Scribner, Hardcover, 9781439177433, 256pp.
Publication Date: January 3, 2012
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 Peace’s wife, Felicity, is initially thrilled when she’s asked to join the board that oversees Walbrook Manor, an eighteenth-century mansion that’s now part of a charitable trust. She’s 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 Walbrook’s 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 Walbrook’s 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.
“One of the deftest stylists in the field.”
--The New York Times Book Review
“A master of the form.”
--The Denver Post
“Apart from the technical mastery, what makes a Barnard mystery a delight to read is the wry insight and asides tossed out by his characters...delicious moments of reflection..make a reader loath to reach the final pages.”
--The Washington Post
“You can count on a Barnard mystery being witty, intelligent, and a joy to read.”