The Circle (Inspector Mallin Series #1)

The Circle (Inspector Mallin Series #1)

4.5 4
by Peter Lovesey
     
 

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A Hen Mallin investigation

At the urging of his daughter, Bob Naylor joins the Chichester Writer’s Circle. But instead of exploring his budding talents as an amateur poet, Bob soon finds himself in the middle of something sinister. The vanity-press publisher who recently visited and critiqued the group was killed in an arson fire, and Maurice, the

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Overview

A Hen Mallin investigation

At the urging of his daughter, Bob Naylor joins the Chichester Writer’s Circle. But instead of exploring his budding talents as an amateur poet, Bob soon finds himself in the middle of something sinister. The vanity-press publisher who recently visited and critiqued the group was killed in an arson fire, and Maurice, the group’s leader, is the prime suspect. Because Bob is new to the group and not under suspicion, he is recruited to prove Maurice’s innocence, putting his own life at risk. The murderer is not done, and more people will die as Inspector Henrietta Mallin scrambles to pinpoint the killer.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for The Circle

“A treat . . . Lovesey’s restraint, wit, and charming cast ensure him a place in the winner’s circle.”
 —Entertainment Weekly
 
“Wonderfully funny . . . [A] jaunty jape of a mystery.”
—Washington Post Book World
 
“Splendid entertainment . . . How [Lovesey] blends suspense and humor to the detriment of neither remains one of crime fiction’s greatest puzzles. This one need not be solved to be enjoyed.”
—The Wall Street Journal
 
“What a joy . . . Its snappy dialogue made me laugh out loud; it delighted me with quotations heading each chapter and with its literary references; it provided a puzzle I was unable to solve. In short, the novel is great fun.”
—The Roanoke Times
 
“A crafty fair-play puzzle.”
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
 
“[Lovesey is] a master storyteller . . . who can out-Christie Dame Agatha when he sets his mind to it, offers a smorgasbord of red herrings, a nifty plot twist, charming bits of doggerel and delicious digs at writers of the unpublishable.”
—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

Publishers Weekly
Inspector Henrietta "Hen" Mallin, an ingenious and acerbic sleuth who played a supporting role in Lovesey's Peter Diamond novel The House Sitter (2003), proves herself fully capable of carrying a story on her own when she takes over a serial murder case connected with the Chichester Writers' Circle, an eccentric amateur writers' group The chair of that group, an author hoping to make a splash with a work on unsolved mysteries, has already been arrested for the arson that killed an unscrupulous publisher who used a speaking invitation before the writers' group to lure his eager audience into a vanity publishing racket. But while the writer's incarcerated, a similar attempt is made on the life of an aspiring poet who's the group's newest member, followed by two more fatal fires. Lovesey's trademark dark humor and playfulness are very much in evidence, as he presents a crafty fair-play puzzle replete with quirky, three-dimensional characters. As with his classic Diamond novel, Bloodhounds, Lovesey employs the device of competing amateur detectives to good effect, increasing suspense and conveying valuable clues through their efforts. While there's every reason to believe Diamond has plenty of life left in him, traditional mystery fans will have no regrets if Lovesey's next few books continue to focus on Mallin. (June 7) FYI: Lovesey has won the CWA Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Achievement. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An old-fashioned whodunit with the style and deviousness you'd expect from a master storyteller. The day after publisher Edgar Blacker addresses the Chichester Writing Circle, someone pours petrol through the letter slot in his door and incinerates him and almost everything inside. The police ask Maurice, the writing circle chairman, to help them with their inquiries. They learn Blacker was refusing to publish Maurice's book unless he subsidized the print run and promptly arrest him. Rushing to his defense, several members of the circle begin their own investigation, calling on Bob Naylor, a new participant, to act as their spokesman. Poor Bob. When he tries to help out Miss Snow, who's received a mysterious phone call, he's waylaid in a boathouse and almost burned to death himself. After two more fires further winnow the circle membership, Detective Chief Inspector Henrietta (Hen) Mallin from Bognor (The House Sitter, 2003) is called in to deal with the arsons, the murders, the circle members' egos and an unknown member of the constabulary leaking information. Frazzled and almost flummoxed by the writers playing amateur detective, Hen ultimately narrows her field of suspects and sets a trap for the villain. Lovesey, who can out-Christie Dame Agatha when he sets his mind to it, offers a smorgasbord of red herrings, a nifty plot twist, charming bits of doggerel and delicious digs at writers of the unpublishable.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781569474327
Publisher:
Soho Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
06/01/2006
Series:
Inspector Mallin Series, #1
Pages:
360
Sales rank:
452,443
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Peter Lovesey is the author of more than thirty highly praised mystery novels. He has been awarded the CWA Gold and Silver Daggers, the Cartier Diamond Dagger for Lifetime Achievement, the Strand Magazine Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Macavity, Barry, and Anthony Awards, and many other honors. He lives in West Sussex, England.

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