Saturday, December 21, 2013

Wycliffe & the Guilt Edged Alibi: Review

I can tell that I'm pushing to try and meet my Outdo Yourself/Goodreads Challenge and whizzing right through books....There's a big ol' clue right near the beginning of Wycliffe & the Guilt Edged Alibi by W. J. Burley that I managed to miss.  And when we got to the reveal, I all "Oh, yeah. Well that was obvious, wasn't it Bev?"  Wonder if anybody out there in follower-land would catch it?  [Yes, you might call that a challenge. :-) ]

So...Superintendent Wycliffe is called in to smooth an investigation that involves the wealthy Bryce family and, more importantly, his old schoolmate (and, more recently, former Minister of State) Clement Morley.   Beautiful Caroline Bryce, wife of Matthew Bryce and half-sister to Morley, has been found dead in the river that divides the town of Treen into East and West.  The Bryce family own half the town--from the timber yard to the canning factory to the coal yard and the harbor installations.  It would never do to have a scandal.  It is hoped that Wycliffe can quickly get to the bottom of the mystery.  But a case that starts with rumors of suicide soon becomes tangled with motives--from jealousy between Caroline and her daughter Zel to a family feud over control of the family business interests to tensions between Caroline and her adulterous lover.  Who struck Caroline over the head before she was dumped in the river?  And why was she and her car stashed in her brother-in-law's garage for a day before her final dunking?  Wycliffe will have to answer these questions and more before he can point the finger of guilt at the culprit.

The Wycliffe books are pretty straight-forward police procedural fare--with just a bit of emphasis on the flair of our leading policeman.  He doesn't exactly track down clues in the usual police detective manner--taking long walks to submerge himself in the atmosphere and asking what may seem to be irrelevant questions.  But his methods work and the clues are definitely there if the reader is paying proper attention.  A good solid British mystery at three stars.

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