The Judgement of Strangers (Roth Trilogy #2)

The Judgement of Strangers (Roth Trilogy #2)

by Andrew Taylor
     
 

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'Complex, with lots of sinister implications! moves the traditional crime novel on to some deeper level of exploration' Jane Jakeman, Independent It is 1970. David Byfield, a widowed parish priest with a dark past and a darker future, brings home a new wife to Roth. Throughout the summer, the consequences of the marriage reverberate through a village now submerged

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Overview

'Complex, with lots of sinister implications! moves the traditional crime novel on to some deeper level of exploration' Jane Jakeman, Independent It is 1970. David Byfield, a widowed parish priest with a dark past and a darker future, brings home a new wife to Roth. Throughout the summer, the consequences of the marriage reverberate through a village now submerged in a sprawling London suburb. Blinded by lust, Byfield is oblivious to the dangers that lie all about him: the menopausal churchwarden with a hopeless passion for her priest; his beautiful, neglected teenage daughter Rosemary; and the sinister presence of Frances Youlgreave — poet, opium addict and suicide — whose power stretches beyond the grave. Soon the murders and blasphemies begin. But does the responsibility lie in the present or the past And can Byfield, a prisoner of his own passion, break through to the truth before the final tragedy destroys what he most cherishes

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This second book in the planned Roth Trilogy looks back a generation at some of the origins of characters and action in the first book, The Four Last Things (1997). Taylor builds a powerful narrative as his struggling characters face an array of temptations that the reader knows early on will overwhelm them. Set in 1970 in the village of Roth, near London, the tale is narrated by David Byfield, a Church of England minister. The near bucolic setting hides a raft of jealousies and passions that quietly build and seethe until the inevitable crest. As David, his new wife, Vanessa, his daughter Rosemary, home for school holiday, and his godson Michael try to adapt to living with one another, other forces obtrude. But David's concern with the church fete stirs up trouble, as does Vanessa's research into the life of the mad poet-priest, Francis Youlgreave, buried in the parish church, and Rosemary's infatuation with the handsome young man who has just moved into Roth Park, the village's big manor house. The clincher is David's growing attraction to the young man's ethereal older sister. Although Taylor has willingly sacrificed some suspense by adopting this reverse chronology, he is sufficiently skillful to keep the reader on edge all the way to the stunning climax. (Oct.)
Library Journal
This second volume of Taylor's planned Roth trilogy takes place in 1970, 20 years prior to the events of the first novel, The Four Last Things (St. Martin's, 1997). Vicar David Byfield of Roth, an English village turned London suburb, finds himself caught in a sticky web of deceit. His sexless second marriage, to a woman interested in writing the biography of a vaguely disreputable local Victorian poet, alienates his only daughter. Then David falls in lust/love with a possibly mentally ill young woman haunted at times by the ghost of said poet. Throw in a dying old woman who owns the poet's papers, a murdered cat, and a village crusader, and the "cosy" atmosphere is complete.
Kirkus Reviews
Twenty-five years before Michael Appleyard's daughter was kidnapped in The Four Last Things (1997), the pre-teen Michael spent the summer of 1970 visiting his godfather David Byfield, the vicar of Roth. Michael wasn't to know that the events of the summer, David's first with his second wife, publisher Vanessa Forde, would run the gamut from adultery to drug dealing to madness to murder, all evidently presided over by the ghost of the Rev. Francis Youlgreave, the mad poet-priest who communed with dark powers and mutilated animals before he was carried to his grave beneath the vicarage chancel. Writing from the lusty, repressed vicar's point of view, Taylor cloaks all the horrid doings in prose as stately and deliberate as Dorothy Sayers's in The Nine Tailors: "The first time I kissed Joanna was late in the afternoon of Monday, 24th August." Yet despite portentous foreshadowing out of the Had-I-But-Known school and endless episodes of kissus interruptus, the sense of foul menace mounts to a fine frenzy as David dallies with bored newcomer Joanna Clifford, outraged tearoom historian Audrey Oliphant mourns her beheaded cat, and the villagers punctuate their preparations for the climactic village fete by speculating about what might have happened to village doyenne Lady Youlgreave, mad Francis's horribly dead niece.

From the Publisher

Praise for Andrew Taylor:

“A sophisticated writer…with a high degree of literary expertise.” ---The New York Times Book Review

“Powerful stuff…. An especially fine portrait of a flawed man…. Much recommended.” ---Booknews on The Four Last Things

“Taylor subtly weaves the threads of this thoughtful, melancholy tale until they become an interlaced whole before the reader’s eyes.” ---Publishers Weekly on An Air That Kills

“Solidly paced and smoothly polished capering.” ---Kirkus Reviews on Caroline Miniscule

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781401322625
Publisher:
Hachette Books
Publication date:
02/03/2009
Series:
Roth Trilogy Series, #2
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Andrew Taylor is the award winning author of a number of novels. He and his family live in the Forest of Dean, England. He has been awarded the John Creasey Award from Crime Writers of America, the Scroll from Mystery Writers of America, the CWA Golden Dagger, and the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger, as well.

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