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A Word After Dying (Meredith and Markby Mysteries) Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 1999

4.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
Book 10 of 15 in the Mitchell & Markby Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

While the sleuthing duo of Inspector Alan Markby and his diplomat lover, Meredith Mitchell (last seen in Touch of Mortality, 1997), are rather quiet on these pages, this tale of secret doings in the remote English village of Parsloe St. John is carefully nuanced and concludes with a couple of fine surprises. Reclusive old Olivia Smeaton trips, apparently, and falls to her death. Her beloved horse Firefly is mysteriously poisoned, and then the large, unkempt body of Ernie, an illiterate local handyman, is found in one spot while his severed head shows up in another. Close to the village, evidence of recent satanic activity is found near three ancient stone statues. All this adds up to a busman's holiday for vacationing Markby and Mitchell, who are considering early retirement and have come to the area in search of a house to buy. The secretive Olivia's past (she was once a society lady and famous car racer) heightens curiosity about her long period of seclusion. The village boasts a tarty cleaning lady; Kevin, the abused and seemingly simpleminded offspring of Ernie; and Sadie, a shopkeeper and practicing witch. The narrative captures an accelerating tension and delivers final revelations that startle while remaining true to the nature of the characters in question. Granger's latest offers abundant, understated pleasures.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Bamford's Chief Inspector Alan Markby and longtime girlfriend Meredith Mitchell (A Touch of Morality, 1997, etc.) are on holiday in the tiny village of Parsloe St. John, staying in the cottage bequeathed to Markby's brother-in-law Paul by his late Aunt Florrie. Meantime, next-door neighbor, retired journalist Wynne Carter, is worried about another recent deaththat of wealthy, elderly recluse Olivia Smeaton, dead of a fall down the staircase of the Rookery, her elegant manor house. Wynne's not convinced the fall was accidental and wants Markby to investigate--unofficially, of course. And so Markby and Meredith soon run into a few of the village's odd characters: Olivia's housecleaner Janine Catto, unmarried mother of two; Ernie Berry, a hard- drinking bully, ladies' man, and odd-job worker; his loutish son Kevin, and junk-shop owner Sadie Warren, rumored to be a witch and the leader of strange doings at the site of ancient standing stones on the towns outskirts. Some troubling acts of vandalism begin to seem trivial after Meredith comes upon the headless corpse of Ernie Berry on the grounds of the Rookery. It takes Markby's meeting with Olivia's detested brother-in-law Lawrence, lots of help from Meredith, and the remainder of their vacation before this two-sided puzzle is solved. The story's meandering mysteries are less compelling than Grangers depiction of an insular mini-society. Lovers of the village traditional will find little suspense but an adequate measure of leisurely entertainment. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Meredith and Markby Mysteries
  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (June 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380732270
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380732272
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,871,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Setting is an English village, and the protagonists Meredith Mitchell and Alan Markby are old friends of mine. I read Granger's books because I like these two; their on-again off-again relationship is well described. Miss Mitchell manages to get involved in whatever mystery is going, making a contribution to the solution. The story does not become too graphic for the sensitive reader, and as one mystery is examined, others come to the surface.
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Format: Hardcover
Inspector Alan Markby and his girlfriend Meredith Mitchell share a holiday in Parsloe St. John where they learn that an old woman recently died when she tripped and fell down some stairs. Thinking of early retirement, Alan is very interested in buying the deceased's cottage while Meredith wonders if the rumors of murder are true.
Alan's disinterest in the senior citizen's death rapidly changes when the head of a handyman is found severed from the body. Other evidence of nearby satanic worship also exists. Instead of a laid back restful holiday, Alan and Meredith begin a working vacation as they investigate the rash of strange doings, that have rocked the tiny village and its eccentric people.
A WORD AFTER DYING is a very interesting entry in the Markby-Mitchell mystery series because the lead protagonists are not quite featured as much as in previous entries. Instead the local villagers seem to dominate the story line as Alan and Meredith propel their stories and the who-done-it forward. Surprisingly, this cleverly works, turning the story line into an invigorating, very interesting novel. Fans of the series and the English cozy need to read Ann Granger's newest novel (as well as the rest of the series) to enjoy some of the top books in the sub-genre.

Harriet Klausner
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ann Granger's Markby and Mitchell series is a very satisfying one. She has the genre of the English village mystery down to a tee. In this book Meredith and Alan are on vacation in the Cotswolds, and even there they can't get away from strange happenings and murder. They discover a witch's coven, the village Romeo and even the village young man who has a lot of psychological problems. I really enjoy the way the Meredith and Alan's relationship is progressing. They are are good complimentary sleuthing duo. I enjoy a book that takes me to where the book is written, and one that feels like an old friend. Granger's series is this for me. Once I begin one of her books, I'm taken away from everything else in my life.
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Format: Hardcover
Until this year's Friends of the Tucson [& Pima County] Public Library book sale, I hadn't heard of this series. I picked up the first, second, and fifth books there. After I read them, I bought every book I could find in town. As soon as I learned there were more, I ordered them. I liked this book as much as the others. The bits of historical information we learn along the way were interesting,(especially how the people of the Regency period obtained a certain shade of pink paint). There are at least three separate mysteries: Who is the vicious vandal? Who committed the murder? What was the secret of the elderly recluse? and are they in any way connected? I can't feel too smug guessing the vandal's identity 32 pages before it was revealed or the recluse's secret 4 pages before Alan caught on because I missed a lot of clues and I didn't guess the killer. Furthermore, I didn't get even a whiff of the final revelation's coming. However, it wouldn't matter if readers could guess everything correctly. This series is worth reading just for the characters. Other comments: There's a very good lesson to be learned from the vandal's motive, but I don't know how many readers will heed it when it's so much easier to look the other way. On p.44, full paragraph 3, Alan says they're on the first floor, but they're upstairs. It was nice to learn that the game I knew as "gossip" is called "Chinese whispers" in England. The dust jacket wouldn't tempt me to buy the book if I were not already a fan, but it's rather pretty. Ann E. Nichols
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