The Skeleton in the Grass

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Overview

The Skeleton In The Grass, reminiscent of Robert Barnard's much-acclaimed Out of the Blackout, illuminates an earlier time and place: a small English village in 1936, as Franco's troops are conquering Spain and Hitler's legions are preparing to overrun Europe.

The world at large may be sliding into the abyss of disaster, but life at Hallam, country seat of the glamorous and renowned Hallam family, still represents the ultimate in British civilization. Teatime, with its cucumber ...

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The Skeleton in the Grass

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Overview

The Skeleton In The Grass, reminiscent of Robert Barnard's much-acclaimed Out of the Blackout, illuminates an earlier time and place: a small English village in 1936, as Franco's troops are conquering Spain and Hitler's legions are preparing to overrun Europe.

The world at large may be sliding into the abyss of disaster, but life at Hallam, country seat of the glamorous and renowned Hallam family, still represents the ultimate in British civilization. Teatime, with its cucumber sandwiches and cream cakes, continues as it has for a hundred years.

It's not that the Hallam family ignores the world outside its gracious doors. On the contrary, Helen and Dennis Hallam care passionately about peace and principle, and Dennis dramatically conveys these views to the nation in his controversial weekly review column.

Avowed pacifists, Helen and Dennis represent a political stance that the villagers mistrust and fear. That fear and suspicion turn to nasty pranks when a sinister Fascist major gains control over some of the local youths. Helen and Dennis, and their sons Oliver and Will, become the victims of cruel taunts and the kind of teasing that leads to terror.

As the Hallams and villagers grow more hostile, we see the story through the eyes of Sarah Causeley, and idealistic young woman who has recently come to be nursery governess at Hallam. To Sarah, the Hallams represent beauty, brilliance, and style-an idyllic life in the midst of chaos.

But as she watches, the Hallams' world begins to disintegrate, and a tense and unexpected encounter leads to a shocking murder.

Much more than a crime novel, The Skeleton in the Grass is an extraordinary piece of fiction that captures the essence of a family that captures the essence of a family and a world on the brink of extinction. With subtlety and skill, Robert Barnard amazes with his versatility and storytelling power.

The year is 1936, and the clouds of war are gathering over Europe. But life in a small English village is peaceful and charming, especially to Sarah Causeley, the new governess at Hallam House. Then someone wages a hate campaign against the Hallams and a killer leaves more than croquet mallets on the lawn.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Remarkably inventive British author Barnard recreates England in the mid-1930s in this spellbinding mystery. Sarah Causeley goes to the tranquil country estate where Dennis and Helen Hallam live with their grown childrenOliver, Will, Elizabethand six-year-old Chloe, whose care Sarah assumes. Very soon, the young governess falls in love with the warm, intellectual, generous family. She admires the parents' idealistic pacifism and support for the League of Nations. Rumors of ``The King's Matter'' Mrs. Simpson and the Nazi threat fail to disturb the atmosphere, but Will's leaving to fight for the Republic in Spain is a blow. And more troubles loom at home. Instigated by a vaunting patriot and secret fascist, Major Coffey, village lads play low tricks on ``cowardly'' Dennis, which culminate in tragedy: one of the boys, Chris Keene, is found fatally shot outside the Hallams' house. The community believes the family guilty of Chris's murder, and the consequences end an idyll for Sarah. The killer is never caught but is identified, years later, in a haunting episode that only Barnard could provide. Paperback rights to Dell. May
Library Journal
The serious tone and down-to-earth characters of Barnard's latest effort signal a departure from his more usual frivolous themes and eccentric performers. Shortly after Sarah Causeley goes to work for the genteel but outspokenly pacifist Hallams as governess, the Spanish Civil War erupts. The war focuses local antipathies, ugly pranks, and murder on the Hallam's Elizabethan home. The obvious villian everyone suspects of murder witnessed but did not commit it; only in the Seventies does Sarah confront the actual murderer. Superior work from a talented writer. REK
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140237832
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/12/1994
  • Series: Crime, Penguin Series
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Barnard was a well-established crime writer. He won the prestigious Nero Wolfe Award as well as the Anthony, Agatha and Macavity Awards, was been nominated eight times for the Edgar Award and was the winner of the 2003 CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for a lifetime of achievement. He also wrote crime novels under the pseudonym of Bernard Bastable. He lived with his wife in Leeds and had over 45 titles published in the UK and US.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 9, 2014

    Interesting light reading

    Nice story but not on par with Caroline Graham.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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