Almost everybody seems to have had the opportunity to murder the verger, and almost anybody might have had a very good motive - it just depends on who knew the charter might have been a fake. The quiet market town of Tawrbach is deeply shocked by the accidental death of former actress and rich widow Rhonwen Spencer Griffith. Inspector Merlin Parry receives evidence that suggests Elwyn was not above a bit of blackmail. The second thing that was disappointing was the fact that the actual mystery is never solved. Except for damaged items or delivery issues the cost of return postage is borne by the buyer. Merchant banker Mark Treasure has been invited down to arbitrate the vicious disagreement between members of the cathedral chapter regarding the sale and finds himself dealing with more than he bargained for when the Dean's verger is discovered murdered, his body left to burn, along with the ecclesiastical library.
It is midwinter, the weather of necessity to the plot is freezing, and dark deeds are definitely afoot. I read this as a 'Christmas' mystery although the season is barely mentioned and has no bearing whatsoever on the plot. The cathedral town of Litchester is more used to carols by candlelight during the festive period than flames and intrigue, but the proposed sale of its 1225 copy of the Magna Carta in order to raise funds turns out to have far-reaching consequences. Sometimes the chapters seem to have nothing to do with the plot. He had written crime fiction in his spare time, with Unholy Writ being written before his stroke in 1976. He became a full-time fiction writer in 1978. This is a good book to read at virtually any time of the year, and I would recommend it to those who enjoy non-violent, character led mysteries in a solidly British setting.
I think this book could have done with a cast of characters at the front to refer to. » » Order of David Williams Books. This is not a general description of heavenly singing and clergy confidence; each clergyman no women priests yet! Despite the largely benign leadership of the Dean, blind but more than able to contribute to the sorting out of the situation, petty jealousies and ambitions abound. Take this book for what it is and overlook the flaws however and it's a fun enough read for a couple of evenings. Follows standard British mystery formula: setting in English countryside, usual cast of suspects, mysterious murder s , and wise old sleuth who solves the case in the final chapter.
Mr Treasure starts investigating, and as he does so everything gets murkier. I have a new tradition of reading a Christmas mystery every year and I was ready to get cozy and immerse myself in a nice whodunit but Murder in Advent locks you out the front doors and leaves you in the cold. Altogether the genuine article when it comes to unjustly neglected gems. The Dean and Chapter of Litchester Cathedral are planning to sell their copy of the Magna Carta in order to ra firstly the title Murder in Advent has nothing significantly to do with that season of the year. Unfortunately the Magna Carta isn't the only thing to go in the fire, the Dean's verger is discovered dead, murdered in fact. I can't imagine anyone other than hardcore church enthusiasts taking any interest in this at all. Two of Williams' books were shortlisted for the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger Award, and in 1988 he was elected to the Detection Club.
It was a miserable reading experience for me. Another death fixes Treasure's suspicions on a possible case of arson and murder, even on a doubt about the Magna Carta's authenticity. But it wasn't fire that killed the Dean's verger. He started in advertising as a medical copywriter, rising through the ranks to head one of the largest advertising agencies in the country. There are confusing elements to this book, and it certainly is not a smoothly defined mystery, but it evokes cleverly the sense of an enclosed community whose day to day life is discussed and dissected by its members. And there's almost too much plot at times - I felt the author was rushing to tie up loose ends, with some of the 'red herrings' placed too obviously.
Synopsis Litchester Cathedral, usually an oasis of cloistered calm, suddenly finds itself at the centre of an acrimonious dispute over the proposed sale of its 1225 copy of the Magna Carta. And as Treasure's murder investigation unravels evidence of some most unholy mayhem and dark skulduggery, he realises that Litchester is a place where sins and secrets abound. Merchant banker, Mark Treasure that's where it goes with the names has been invited to Litchester Cathedral to give the casting vote on if their copy of the Magna Carta should be sold to an American museum. The events seem to take place in December, but there are no descriptions of holiday decorations, shopping, festive dinners, gift-giving, etc. And bearing in mind that I have worked for an Anglican Diocese for the last 11 years in the Cathedral Close and I still found the cast list confusing! But even as he journeys down to Litchester a fire destroys the ecclesiastical library - Magna Carta and all - and a body is discovered in the debris.
Indeed apart from the title there is very little mention of it again and could have taken place at any time of the year so reading this expecting a Christmas time mystery was a little disappointing. I really wanted to give up on this novel, but somehow doggedly stuck with it until the end. I think this one was a stocking filler from Christmas 2016 so it seemed well past time to read it, it was originally published in 1985, which is in line with a few of these Pan reprints. He wrote a total of 23 novels, with the last one being the 2003 novel Practise to Deceive. The central character of Mark Treasure is pleasant enough and the sleepy atmosphere of a cathedral market town well realised. Litchester Cathedral, usually an oasis of cloistered calm, suddenly finds itself at the centre of an acrimonious dispute over the proposed sale of its 1225 copy of the Magna Carta. An English cathedral was a setting I just couldn't resist.
The death of the elderly man, a volunteer who apparently bought about his own accidental death with use of an illegally used paraffin heater, seems simple enough in the first instance, but soon other information comes to light which confuse and lead to another murder. I fact, when the killer was revealed, my initial reaction was 'who? I really wanted to give up on this novel, but somehow doggedly stuck with it until the end. His experience in both the Anglican Church and the advertising world informed and inspired his work throughout his career. After serving as Naval Officer in the Second World War, Williams completed a History degree at St Johns College, Oxford before embarking on a career in advertising. First Christmas crime novel of the season and, well, you'd hardly know it was set at Christmas to be honest. As a result of the amateur sleuth's questioning, startling facts concerning the many people involved emerge and give Treasure evidence that closes the case. Western Europe costs £60 for each 12 month subscription package purchased.
Author used unusual plot line - each chapter 20 in all focused on some of the characters developing the story, mostly through stilted British dialogue. If it wasn't for the title, I'd have failed entirely to pick up the seasonal connection. The idea was promising - a medieval cathedral, desperately in need of funds, decide to sell its original issue Magna Carta copies were the thing for pilgrims afterwards! Ultimately all that is solved is how the verger ended up on the floor and who set fire to the library. The senior Cathedral clergy and one or two external people are divided over the important decision whether to sell a copy of the Magna Carta. But this one contains a long cast of characters - over 40 by my count, and it was difficult to keep track of who's who. Indeed apart from the title there is very little mention of it again and could have taken place at any time of the year so reading this expecting a Christmas time mystery was a little disappointing.
In his distinctively urbane and witty fashion, the British author chronicles again the adventures of London banker Mark Treasure, star of Williams's outstanding mystery series Advertise for Treasure; Wedding Treasure. But it wasn't fire that killed the Dean's verger. It is part of an older series. Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. But even as he journeys down to Litchester a fire destroys the ecclesiastical library - Magna Carta an Litchester Cathedral, usually an oasis of cloistered calm, suddenly finds itself at the centre of an acrimonious dispute over the proposed sale of its 1225 copy of the Magna Carta.