Thursday, June 06, 2013

Robert Barnard. Death of a Literary Widow (1979)

     Robert Barnard. Death of a Literary Widow (1979) A mildly amusing, inoffensive whodunit with a satisfying puzzle, nicely done, but with comic-book style characters, and the occasional satirical jab, especially at American academics. Walter Machine, a working-class writer has been rediscovered, so his two widows, Hilda and Viola, have a feud about his reputation and their role in his life. An American PhD, desperate for tenure, is writing a bio etc about the man; and Viola’s ex-husband (cuckolded by Walter many years ago) lurks in the background. Hilda’s death is labelled an accident by the police, but Greg, who has befriended both women, believes otherwise, and eventually not only discovers the murderer, but also a literary hoax. The murderer will be dealt justice, though it will take some time, which oddly enough will increase his punishment, since he knows that the unmasking will come, but not when. Good entertainment, but not a great mystery novel. ** (2005)

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