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The Mortal Sickness (The Lydmouth Crime Series) Paperback – April 18, 1996

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Product Details

  • Series: The Lydmouth Crime Series
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperback (April 18, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340617144
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340617144
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,467,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Ever since Agatha Christie, small English villages have been haunted by murder most foul, disturbing the peace and quiet of the countryside, upsetting the vicar's wife, and lifting the edge of the lace curtains to show the darker sides of the eccentric inhabitants. So it is again with Andrew Taylor's tale of a woman murdered in the church vestry, apparently during the theft of a medieval chalice. The village's dirty secrets come gradually to light, in spite of the rather unskilled detective work of the distracted policeman leading the investigation and a nice but not terribly bright young newspaper reporter, who also provides some romantic tension. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In an English village that might otherwise seem timeless, Taylor (An Air That Kills, 1984) evokes life a few years after WWII by recalling that people complained about declining standards and women were dismissed from serious matters. Jill Francis, a young journalist, and Alec Sutton, the vicar, both new to Lydmouth, find Catherine Kymin, a woman with few friends and a crush on the vicar, dead in the church vestry. What's more, a medieval chalice and the Sunday collection are missing from the safe. Someone is also sending poison-pen letters around town about the vicar, the most virulent of which accuse Alec of theft and philandering. Detective Inspector Richard Thornhill, also new to Lydmouth, does the best he can with a detective constable who owes his promotion to his father's connections, a sergeant on leave who refuses to return phone calls in favor of following his lust, a superintendent under pressure to call in the Yard and his own increasingly ambivalent feelings about Jill. Though the case is solved within 48 hours, the story has a diffuse quality, perhaps as a result of the lack of a central character, a role held alternately by Jill, Alec and Richard, all of whom are worthy figures but none of whom grabs center stage.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Linda Pagliuco VINE VOICE on March 18, 2010
Format: Paperback
Jill Francis, 6 months after her relocation from London, is starting to adapt to village life, but the village has yet to adapt to her. Perhaps her new job, reporting for the local paper, will help. As she is researching the medieval chalice owned by the local church, she stumbles across a murder. Jill and fellow newcomer, Inspector Thornhill, are once again obliged to cross paths, a circumstance with neither relishes, in spite of a strange attraction that lurks in the awareness of each. In this second installment of the Lydmouth Series, readers meet several new characters, most notably Alec Sutton, the new vicar, and his wife Mary, who writes detective novels under a pseudonym for fear of what people might say. The Mortal Sickness lacks the edginess necessary for real suspense, but it's more than a mere crime novel. The interaction among the inhabitants of this small, post WWII community, along with their motivations, secrets, hopes, and failures, takes center stage this time around.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By L. J. Roberts TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
First Sentence: Jill knew at once that the woman was dead.

English villages are not always peaceful. The vicar and his wife are relatively new to Lydmouth yet someone is doing their best to force them out by sending anonymous letters claiming the vicar has been having an affair with one of his parishioners. When the parishioner is found dead within the church, initial suspicion falls on the vicar.

Journalist Jill Francis is also fairly to Lydmouth. Her professional interest soon becomes personal after also being attacked.

Mr. Taylor's works reminded me of Agatha Christie only in Miss Marple's observation that the residents of St. Mary's Mead were a microcosm of people everywhere. There were quite a few characters and, although the author was kind enough to provide a list of characters, I found I didn't really need it as each came to life for me.

Being set in post-War 1950s, it depicted the, outwardly at least, the secondary role of women. Yet the strongest characters were the women, particularly Jill and the vicar's wife, Mary Sutton. There was a very strong sense of place and evocative descriptions which enabled me to stroll through this fictional village with the characters.

Taylor has a wonderful turn of phrase. I found myself stopping and re-reading occasional sentences for the pleasure of them. The plot was deceptive. It was fairly easy to spot a villain early on, but with a couple good twists along the way, I realized how well plotted was the story.

Such was my enjoyment; I've ordered two more books in this series.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Neal J. Pollock VINE VOICE on August 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is the second book in Taylor's Lydmouth "village mysteries" following An Air that Kills. It includes the two continuing characters, Inspector Thornhill & Jill Francis--and a Youlgreave as well (they are part of Taylor's Roth trilogy). I did like it better than the first village mystery book, but it's rather slow-moving and depressing IMHO. His writing is quite good, however, and he has penetrating, though rather cynical, insight into humanity--"Williamson's often-voiced disapproval of unsupported theories did not apply to his own." There are considerable surprises and some sexual tension in the book--some "justice" of a sort as well. Also some amusing and clever turns of phrase such as: "Mrs. Abberley had the emotional fragility of a Tiger tank." Taylor's books are quite unlike either Agatha Christie or Conan Doyle's--less emphasis on clues and whodunit--though there are some effort in that regard. His philosophy is quite different: "Life wasn't like a detective novel where you could safely assume that one of a dozen characters listed for easy reference at the front would prove to be the murderer. People were messy, and so were their lives; half the time they didn't know the reasons for their actions and half the time they were quite capable of acting out of character; throw in the enormous role of chance and you were left with the situation in which the principles of rational deduction had only a very limited application." Thus, there is considerable truth in the book and some astute observations--but very few likable characters. It's not in a class with his fine An Unpardonable Crime and Caroline Minuscule.
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