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The Corpse at the Haworth Tandoori Paperback – March 22, 2002
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With the character of Declan O'Hearn, the amazingly prolific Robert Barnard pulls off the hat trick that every novelist attempts but only a fortunate few actually achieve: he creates a person we quickly come to care for, someone so unique and recognizable that we would know him if he walked into the room. Declan, an Irishman in his 20s, is a wandering minstrel, trying to see a bit of the world before he settles into whatever fate has in store for him. He is intelligent, eager to please, but lacks maturity.
The plot revolves around the murder of a young man whose body is found dumped in an old car outside an Indian restaurant in the town of Haworth in Northern England. This is Brontë country, where throngs of tourists pay homage to the writing family. Sent from Leeds to investigate are detective constable Charlie Peace and his boss, detective superintendent Mike Oddie. Charlie's black skin marks him as an oddity in the small villages, but it also helps him dig up the kind of details which other cops might not be offered by the locals. Declan falls under an umbrella of suspicion, due in part to his relationship with his eccentric employer and the strange circle of acolytes who surround him. Peace and Oddie put together the pieces with skill. But this one isn't really a whodunit: you can probably figure that out in 50 pages. It's the motive and the circumstances of the crime that make the book a gem. --Dick Adler --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Having survived the malice of A Little Local Murder (1988), British detectives Charlie Peace and Mike Oddie must now investigate the murder of a young man whose body is found in a car parked outside an Indian eatery in the small town of Haworth. Their roundabout search eventually leads to an unusual group of eccentrics living in a community devoted to the worship of the distinguished painter Ranulph Byatt. As Barnard develops these quirky characters?including an ex-convict, his sister and Byatt's aging yet protective wife?and as the detectives tread deeper into their midst, it becomes clear that any one of them can be the murderer, regardless of their seeming innocence (or ignorance). Peace and Oddie are faced with not only determining the identity of the corpse and the killer, but also with uncovering the how and why of the crime. Though eight-time Edgar nominee Barnard's new mystery isn't particularly suspenseful, its devious, seamless plot will keep readers guessing, and Oddie and Peace fans will enjoy being back in their company.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
A young itinerant Irishman wanders into this unsavory settlement and is hired to assist the old man and be an all-round handyman. When he disappears one night, and the body of a young man turns up in the trunk of a broken-down car parked by an Indian restaurant, the police get very interested in the little artistic community.
The plot is terribly clever, and the cops very likable. Detective Constable Charlie Peace is black, but this is treated quite matter-of-factly. He and his boss Oddie seem to complement each other nicely. Both are intelligent. The lack of conflict between them is refreshing, as so many fictional detectives these days seem to be at war with their superiors.
This novel has some classic British cozy elements – country cottages, inviting local pubs, small insular community, low-key but shrewd detectives. But in this book the warped and unsavory characters are decidedly modern.
I like Robert Barnard's style. I’ll be reading more by this author.
A waiter going off shift from his job at the Haworth Tandoori finds a body in the back of his car. Officer Charlie Peace and his superior Detective Superintendent Mike Odie investigate and soon trace the corpse back to Declan O'Hearn, a former assistant to Ranulf. Through flashbacks, the audience learns about Declan's arrival at the farm and his growing dissatisfaction with the blind worship that elevated Ranulf to a God-like figure. As the investigators continue their digging, they find depravity that shocks even long time police officials like Mike and Charlie.
The mantle place in Robert Barnard's home looks like a who's who of mystery awards. His latest work, THE CORPSE AT THE HAWORTH TANDOORI, substantiates that he deserves his Nero Wolf, Anthony, Agatha, and MacCavity awards. No one will guess the ending or the revelations that keep the audience constantly in shock wondering what will happen next. The superb plot is brilliantly executed, especially since he leaves everyone sans the police officers as prime suspects. The audience will reread this novel on numerous ocassions to savor the special Brnard touch.
For example, "The Corpse at the Haworth Tandoori" is a worthwhile excursion into Barnard territory. This time it's to Bronte country in Yorkshire (one of his favorites), more specifically to Haworth and its nearby community of Ashworth. A corpse is discovered in the boot of a car parked at the Haworth Tandoori restaurant. The body is clad only in underwear, there's no identification, and shows signs of grim mutilation. And it's in the jurisdiction of Detective Constable Charlie Peace and Detective Superintendent Mike Oddie, two policemen extraordinaire we've met in previous Barnard works.
The duo finds the body eventually leads them to Ashworth, a collection of artists, wannabes, and hangers-on where a young Irishman Declan O'Hearn had come to seek employment and has now disappeared. The body is identified as his.
Barnard is known for his stylish twists, his clever plot designs, certainly his way with words. His prose is generally salted with plenty of creative expressions and humor--in short, never a dull minute--yet at the same time, he is able to sustain a gripping suspense that makes it difficult to put the book down. Don't be surprised at the surprises, and Barnard knows how to deal them out and not put off the reader. He is a master at characterization and young Declan is well drawn, as, indeed, are his other characters.
Peace and Oddie are able to unravel this puzzle, mainly with good police work and with some luck, too. Along the way, we meet members of the Ashworth community who are clearly not who--or what--they seem, and the revelations of this mystery unfold, logically, plausibly, and with much certainty. In police procedurals, perhaps there is nothing new under the sun, but in this one, Barnard takes his plot designs and strong characterization and presents a novel well-worth one's time. Barnard's a good writer and in the course of his some 30 novels gives us a smart taste of Yorkshire and the Bronte moors. "The Corpse at the Haworth Tandoori" is a delectable buffet!
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