A murder at an artists' colony - but not everyone wants Chief Superintendent Wycliffe to investigate . . .The artists' colony is at the site of a disused mine working on the moor west of St Ives, and it's run by Archer and his wife Lina, according to astrological principles.
The newest member of the colony is Francine, a beautiful if fey young woman with a legacy to invest.
Archer isn't keen - not least because she is a Scorpio - but Lina takes a more pragmatic view.
Then Francine is found dead, killed by a deliberately blocked gas-heater flue.Wycliffe investigates - and soon discovers that several members of the colony have very good reasons for not wanting the police poking into their affairs . . .
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 208 pages
- Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
- Publication Date: 02/08/2001
- Category: Crime & mystery
- ISBN: 9780752843841
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Review by Bagpuss
This is the last Wycliffe book published before W J Burley’s death. It’s also the last Wycliffe book for me as I’ve now read them all! It started with a holiday in St Ives years ago when we had a day on the beach and I couldn’t get into the book I’d taken with me (P D James’ Devices and Desires, which I have still not read!) so I went into a local bookshop and as a Cornish writer, Burley had a prominent display of books just inside the door, so I decided to give it a go! Then followed years of trying to track the other published books down - oh, how did we cope before the internet?!). I even wrote to the author and had a lovely reply from him. He told me that Wycliffe had just been commissioned as a TV series and sure enough six were adapted by HTV (the rest of the Wycliffe series were ‘based on the books by…’ rather than being adaptations) and the books were suddenly available everywhere! Anyway, I’ve gone off at rather a tangent! <br/><br/>This book features some characters from and earlier story, Wycliffe and the Quiet Virgin, although it isn’t a sequel and can be read as a standalone story. <br/><br/>Wycliffe is enjoying a relaxing bank holiday with his wife Helen when he gets a phone call to say that a young woman at a craft colony has been found murdered. Wycliffe discovers it’s a someone he knew from a previous case – he feels guilty that he didn’t keep in touch with the victim, Francine, the ‘Quiet Virgin’ from the earlier book. As he investigates it becomes clear that there are a number of suspects and as a second and then third death occur, Wycliffe must keep a clear head as he investigates past and present to try to find the murderer. <br/><br/>The books are very easy reads for when you want something that isn’t at all taxing – in fact, they are rather formulaic and, had it not become a quest for me, I probably wouldn’t have read them all! That said, I did enjoy them and I am sorry that Burley didn’t get to complete the one he was working on when he died. I felt this story was rather weaker than some of the earlier Wycliffe titles.<br/>