'Simply the best detective writer since Agatha Christie' The Sunday Times
Discover the novels that inspired the hit ITV series Midsomer Murders, seen and loved by millions.
The compelling fifth novel in the Midsomer Murders series by Caroline Graham, starring Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby. Features an exclusive foreword by John Nettles.
Perfect for fans of Agatha Christie, Ann Granger and James Runcie's The Grantchester Mysteries.
The Fawcett Green bell-ringers don't bat an eyelid when Simone Hollingsworth fails to turn up to practice. They merely assume that bell-ringing has become the latest in a long list of her abandoned hobbies.
But then the increasingly strange behaviour of Simone's husband, Alan, begins to raise neighbourly suspicions about her whereabouts. And when the discovery of a body draws Chief Inspector Barnaby to the village, it becomes clear that unravelling the couple's tangled lives will have painful repercussions for the whole village. . .
Praise for Caroline Graham's novels:
'Everyone gets what they deserve in this high-class mystery' Sunday Telegraph
'A witty, well-plotted, absolute joy of a book' Yorkshire Post
'A treat . . . haunting stuff' Woman's Realm
'Swift, tense and highly alarming' TLS
'Lots of excellent character sketches . . . and the dialogue is lively and convincing' Independent
'Hard to praise highly enough' The Sunday Times
'Her books are not just great whodunits but great novels in their own right' Julie Burchill
'Enlivened by a very sardonic wit and turn of phrase, the narrative drive never falters' Birmingham Post
'Read her and you'll be astonished . . . very sexy, very hip and very funny' Scotsman
Witty characterizations coupled with some astute reflections on life in a remote English village more than make up for a dearth of solid suspects in Graham's latest addition to the Inspector Barnaby series (Written in Blood, 1995). Pampered housewife Simone Hollingsworth vanishes. Her workaholic hubby, Alan, hides out, hits the bottle hard and subsequently dies of poisoning. Timid next-door neighbor Brenda Brockley also disappears, as does local artist Sarah Lawson, beloved of Gray Patterson, a financially ruined software designer and onetime business partner of Alan Hollingsworth. Since Alan once ripped poor Gray off to buy a fancy piece of jewelry for the vapid, if decorous Simone, Gray's looking more than a wee bit guilty. Eventually, a ransom message is delivered for Simone, and Brenda is revealed to have been involved in a secret romance. Series copper Barnaby is an unobtrusive detective who plods for the most part and is aided by surly subordinate Sergeant Troy, a ladies' man and chronic snob. What distinguishes this series from run-of-the-mill English country fare is Graham's dry wit, which is especially smooth when turned on the banality of English middle-class repression: "Now, as she slid the little aluminum tray from its temptingly illustrated sleeve, she thought how very reassuring frozen comestibles were. Constrained beneath a glittery crust of sterile crystals, they did not leak or smell or ask to be in any way humanly dealt with."