No Graves as Yet (World War One Series #1)

No Graves as Yet (World War One Series #1)

by Anne Perry


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345484239
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/26/2005
Series: World War One Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 191,691
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Anne Perry is the bestselling author of two acclaimed series set in Victorian England. Her William Monk novels include Death of a Stranger, Funeral in Blue, Slaves of Obsession, and The Twisted Root. She also writes the popular novels featuring Thomas and Charlotte Pitt, including Seven Dials, Southampton Row, The Whitechapel Conspiracy, and Half Moon Street. Her short story “Heroes” won an Edgar Award. Anne Perry lives in Scotland. Visit her Web site at

From the Hardcover edition.


Portmahomack, Ross-shire, U.K

Date of Birth:

October 28, 1938

Place of Birth:

Blackheath, London England

Read an Excerpt


It was a golden afternoon in late June, a perfect day for cricket. The sun burned in a cloudless sky, and the breeze was barely sufficient to stir the slender, pale skirts of the women as they stood on the grass at Fenner’s Field, para- sols in hand. The men, in white flannels, were relaxed and smiling.

St. John’s were batting and Gonville and Caius were fielding. The bowler pounded up to the crease and sent the ball down fast, but a bit short and wide. Elwyn Allard leaned forward, and with an elegant cover drive, dispatched the ball to the boundary for four runs.

Joseph Reavley joined in the applause. Elwyn was one of his students, rather more graceful with the bat than with the pen. He had little of the scholastic brilliance of his brother, Sebastian, but he had a manner that was easy to like, and a sense of honor that drove him like a spur.

St. John’s still had four more batsmen to play, young men from all over England who had come to Cambridge and, for one reason or another, remained at college through the long summer vacation.

Elwyn hit a modest two. The heat was stirred by a faint breath of wind from across the fenlands with their dykes and marshes, flat under the vast skies stretching eastward to the sea. It was old land, quiet, cut by secret waterways, Saxon churches marking each village. It had been the last stronghold of resistance against the Norman invasion eight and a half centuries ago.

On the field one of the boys just missed a catch. There was a gasp and then a letting out of breath. All this mattered. Such things could win or lose a match, and they would be playing against Oxford again soon. To be beaten would be catastrophic.

Across the town behind them, the clock on the north tower at Trinity struck three, each chime on the large A-flat bell, then followed the instant after on the smaller E-flat. Joseph thought how out of place it seemed, to think of time on an eternal afternoon like this. A few feet away, Harry Beecher caught his eye and smiled. Beecher had been a Trinity man in his own years as a student, and it was a long-standing joke that the Trinity clock struck once for itself and once for St. John’s.

A cheer went up as the ball hit the stumps and Elwyn was bowled out with a very respectable score of eighty-three. He walked off with a little wave of acknowledgment and was replaced at the crease by Lucian Foubister, who was a little too bony, but Joseph knew his awkwardness was deceiving. He was more tenacious than many gave him credit for, and he had flashes of extraordinary grace.

Play resumed with the sharp crack of a strike and the momentary cheers under the burning blue of the sky.

Aidan Thyer, master of St. John’s, stood motionless a few yards from Joseph, his hair flaxen in the sun, his thoughts apparently far away. His wife Connie, standing next to him, glanced across and gave a little shrug. Her dress was white broderie anglaise, falling loosely in a flare below the hip, and the fashionable slender skirt reached to the ground. She looked as elegant and feminine as a spray of daisies, even though it was the hottest summer in England for years.

At the far end of the pitch Foubister struck an awkward shot, elbows in all the wrong places, and sent the ball right to the boundary. There was a shout of approval, and everyone clapped.

Joseph was aware of a movement somewhere behind him and half turned, expecting a grounds official, perhaps to say it was time for lemonade and cucumber sandwiches. But it was his own brother, Matthew, who was walking toward him, his shoulders tight, no grace in his movement. He was wearing a light gray city suit, as if he had newly arrived from London.

Joseph started across the green, anxiety rising quickly. Why was his brother here in Cambridge, interrupting a match on a Sunday afternoon?

“Matthew! What is it?” he said as he reached him.

Matthew stopped. His face was so pale it seemed almost bloodless. He was twenty-eight, seven years the younger, broader-shouldered, and fair where Joseph was dark. He was steadying himself with difficulty, and he gulped before he found his voice. “It’s . . .” He cleared his throat. There was a kind of desperation in his eyes. “It’s Mother and Father,” he said hoarsely. “There’s been an accident.”

Joseph refused to grasp what he had said. “An accident?”

Matthew nodded, struggling to govern his ragged breathing. “In the car. They are both . . . dead.”

For a moment the words had no meaning for Joseph. Instantly his father’s face came to his mind, lean and gentle, blue eyes steady. It was impossible that he could be dead.

“The car went off the road,” Matthew was saying. “Just before the Hauxton Mill Bridge.” His voice sounded strange and far away.

Behind Joseph they were still playing cricket. He heard the sound of the ball and another burst of applause.

“Joseph . . .” Matthew’s hand was on his arm, the grip tight.

Joseph nodded and tried to speak, but his throat was dry.

“I’m sorry,” Matthew said quietly. “I wish I hadn’t had to tell you like this. I . . .”

“It’s all right, Matthew. I’m . . .” He changed his mind, still trying to grasp the reality. “The Hauxton Road? Where were they going?”

Matthew’s fingers tightened on his arm. They began to walk slowly, close together, over the sun-baked grass. There was a curious dizziness in the heat. The sweat trickled down Joseph’s skin, and inside he was cold.

Matthew stopped again.

“Father telephoned me late yesterday evening,” he replied huskily, as if the words were almost unbearable for him. “He said someone had given him a document outlining a conspiracy so hideous it would change the world we know—that it would ruin England and everything we stand for. Forever.” He sounded defiant now, the muscles of his neck and jaw clenched as if he barely had mastery of himself.

Joseph’s mind whirled. What should he do? The words hardly made sense. John Reavley had been a member of Parliament until 1912, two years ago. He had resigned for reasons he had not discussed, but he had never lost his interest in political affairs, nor his care for honesty in government. Perhaps he had simply been ready to spend more time reading, indulging his love of philosophy, poking around in antique and secondhand shops looking for a bargain. More often he was just talking with people, listening to stories, swapping eccentric jokes, and adding to his collection of limericks.

“A conspiracy to ruin England and everything we stand for?” Joseph repeated incredulously.

“No,” Matthew corrected him with precision. “A conspiracy that would ruin it. That was not the main purpose, simply a side effect.”

“What conspiracy? By whom?” Joseph demanded.

Matthew’s skin was so white it was almost gray. “I don’t know. He was bringing it to me . . . today.”

Joseph started to ask why, and then stopped. The answer was the one thing that made sense. Suddenly at least two facts cohered. John Reavley had wanted Joseph to study medicine, and when his firstborn son had left it for the church, he had then wanted Matthew to become a doctor. But Matthew had read modern history and languages here at Cambridge, and then he joined the Secret Intelligence Service. If there was such a plot, John would understandably have notified his younger son. Not his elder.

Joseph swallowed, the air catching in his throat. “I see.”

Matthew’s grip eased on him slightly. He had known the news longer and had more time to grasp its truth. He was searching Joseph’s face with anxiety, evidently trying to formulate something to say to help him through the pain.

Joseph made an immense effort. “I see,” he repeated. “We must go to them. Where . . . are they?”

“At the police station in Great Shelford,” Matthew answered. He made a slight movement with his head. “I’ve got my car.”

“Does Judith know?”

Matthew’s face tightened. “Yes. They didn’t know where to find you or me, so they called her.”

That was reasonable—obvious, really. Judith was their younger sister, still living at home. Hannah, between Joseph and Matthew, was married to a naval officer and lived in Portsmouth. It would be the house in Selborne St. Giles that the police would have called. He thought how Judith would be feeling, alone except for the servants, knowing neither her father nor mother would come home again, not tonight, not any night.

His thoughts were interrupted by someone at his elbow. He had not even heard footsteps on the grass. He half turned and saw Harry Beecher standing beside him, his wry, sensitive face puzzled.

“Is everything . . . ?” he began. Then, seeing Joseph’s eyes, he stopped. “Can I help?” he said simply.

Joseph shook his head a little. “No . . . no, there isn’t anything.” He made an effort to pull his thoughts together. “My parents have had an accident.” He took a deep breath. “They’ve been killed.” How odd and flat the words sounded. They still carried no reality with them.

Beecher was appalled. “Oh, God! I’m so sorry!”

“Please—” Joseph started.

“Of course,” Beecher interrupted. “I’ll tell people. Just go.” He touched Joseph lightly on the arm. “Let me know if I can do anything.”

“Yes, of course. Thank you.” Joseph shook his head and started to walk away as Matthew acknowledged Beecher, then turned to cross the wide expanse of grass. Joseph followed him without looking back at the players in their white flannels, bright in the sunlight. They had been the only reality a few moments ago; now there seemed an unbridgeable space between them.

Outside the cricket ground Matthew’s Sunbeam Talbot was parked in Gonville Place. In one fluid motion Joseph climbed over the side and into the passenger seat. The car was facing north, as if Matthew had been to St. John’s first and then come all the way through town to the cricket ground looking for Joseph. Now he turned southwest again, back along Gonville Place and finally onto the Trumpington Road.

There was nothing to say now; each was cocooned in his own pain, waiting for the moment when they would have to face the physical proof of death. The familiar winding road with its harvest fields shining gold in the heat, the hedgerows, and the motionless trees were like things painted on the other side of a wall that encased the mind. Joseph was aware of them only as a bright blur.

Matthew drove as if it demanded his entire concentration, clutching the steering wheel with hands he had to loosen deliberately now and then.

South of the village they turned left through St. Giles, skirted the side of the hill over the railway bridge into Great Shelford, and pulled up outside the police station. A somber sergeant met them, his face tired, his body hunched, as if he had had to steel himself for the task.

“Oi’m terrible sorry, sir.” He looked from one to the other of them, biting his lower lip. “Wouldn’t ask it if Oi din’t ’ave to.”

“I know,” Joseph said quickly. He did not want a conversation. Now that they were here, he needed to proceed as quickly as possible, while his self-control lasted.

Matthew made a small gesture forward, and the sergeant turned and led the way the short distance through the streets to the hospital mortuary. It was all very formal, a routine the sergeant must have been through scores of times: sudden death, shocked families moving as if in a dream, murmuring polite words, hardly aware of what they were saying, trying to understand what had happened and at the same time deny it.

From the Paperback edition.

Table of Contents

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No Graves as Yet (World War One Series #1) 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
smartChick More than 1 year ago
This is the first book in Anne Perry's outstanding World War I series. Just before the start of World War I, John Reavely discovers something that could destroy the honor of England. While trying to get it to London, he and his wife are killed leaving their grown children to solve the mystery of why they were killed. At the same time, John, the oldest sibling and a professor at Cambridge, tries to cope with the death of one of his outstanding students. The book provides a wonderful look at the world in a much simpler time with great descriptions of how it is changing as a result of the political turmoil in Europe. Eventually, Joseph and his brother connect the death of their parents with the death of the student just as the war starts. I really enjoyed this book and the others in the series. My only disappointment was that the second book of the series was not available as a digital book and I had to go get it rather than downloading it to my Nook. The other 4 books in the series are digital and were downloaded and read with great speed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The characters in this novel do not come alive. Much of the dialog is forced. The characters seem to go in circles instead of moving the story forward. Not what I would expect from Anne Perry.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book has an exciting premise; unfortunately, the characters are one-dimensional, the dialogue is stilted, and the plot is predictable. The characters, especially Matthew and Joseph, do not evoke any sense of sympathy from the reader; they lack personality and individuality. In addition, much of the dialogue's tone is flat and lifeless and serves as an ornament, but does successfully advance the plot. So much more could have been done with this appealing plot and WWI setting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The first and last Perry book I'll read. The characters are one-dimensional and static, the dialogue is stilted and repetitious, and the plot is poorly presented and transparent. In addition, the work captures nothing of the period surrounding World War I.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1914 in Cambridge, England, Professor and Chaplain Joseph Reavley attends a cricket match when his Intelligence Officer brother Matthew arrives to inform him that their parents died in an automobile accident. Stunned by their deaths, Joseph has no time to mourn as Matthew also tells him that their father had a document that if placed in the wrong hands would defame their country and probably destroy England at a time when the continent is one step away from open hostilities.

Matthew insists that Joseph assist him in recovering the document that he believes cost their parents their lives as their father was bringing this flaming gun to him when the car crashed. Feeling unsure of himself as he is an academian in a pacifist leaning university, Joseph joins his sibling when he learns of the death of a student that may be tied to this mess.

Anne Perry, known for her Victorian mysteries, provides readers with a tremendous World War I espionage who-done-it thriller. The clever story line is filled with action and fully developed characters so that the audience follows a strong spy murder mystery while receiving a savory taste of England at a point when NO GRAVES AS YET caused by the ¿war to end all wars¿ had occurred. Ms. Perry opens her new series in glorious victory.

Harriet Klausner

wispywillow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After reading Bernard Cornwell's historical fiction of the late 1700s and early 1800s, I desired some historical fiction that is well written as well as fun. Sharpe is a fun character--especially when I picture Sean Bean while reading--but the writing style is clumsy and the female characters are cardboard cutouts of the same flat, dim-witted broad.Then I moved on to Angela Perry and the book No Graves As Yet, which begins her series of World War I novels. The story follows two brothers--Joseph (an Anglican priest) and Matthew (a secret intelligence officer)--as they work to learn who murdered their parents and if a mysterious document, supposedly the cause of the murder, truly exists... and if so, where?The narrative is lovely despite the ugly scenes being written--such a welcome contrast to the choppy, poorly constructed sentences filling the Sharpe novels. (I am harsh on Cornwell's writing style, but I would not read his books if I did not enjoy them.) The reader looks into the fears, doubts, and hopes of the brothers--especially the gentle Joseph, who not only must deal with the recent deaths of his parents (and the only year-old deaths of his wife and newborn son) but also the apparent murder of one of his favorite students at Cambridge. And the fear that the deaths are connected shake him to the core.Symbols and foreshadowing help build tension and nervousness while the reader finds the characters wondering whether or not there will be a war. Each time characters begin pondering the possibility of war in-depth, it corresponds with a sunset. At this moment only the reader truly knows the losses the world will suffer as a result of this war; the characters are merely beginning to grasp its possibility.This is definitely going to be a series I'll be continuing. In fact, I'm nearly finished with the second novel, Shoulder the Sky.
ellie55 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found this book quite slow , although towards the end is does start picking up . I will read the rest of the series , mainly because i love anything to do with the First World War , but i have read far better .
DanaJean on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
No Graves As Yet is a wannabe suspense novel set against WWI. Although a historical fiction, which I generally like, I just didn't invest in these characters or their need to solve what appears to be more than just a simple car accident that kills their parents. Decent writing, but boring story.
annbury on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of five Perry novels set in the period around World War One. I didn't find the atmosphere as convincing as in her Charlotte Pitt novels, nor did I find the characters as engrossing.
clif_hiker on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I picked up this series on a recommendation from a friend. I've not read anything (to my knowleddge) written by Anne Perry before and was interested to see if I liked her style (since she is rather prolific). I give this book a so-so rating. I like the setting and background (it is set against the beginning of World War I in England), and the characters are engaging. I didn't like the idea of the sinister plot etc.. trying not to spoil it to much. Sinister world shattering plots have always been sort of hohum for me ever since I burnt out on Robert Ludlum books in college. I will definitely continue reading the series and can recommend this to any historical fiction fans interested in the origins of Wrold War I.
picardyrose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I liked it better than I expected -- don't know why I was so resistant the first time. It's a pretty good locked-room mystery with the war looming.
cbl_tn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm a fan of Anne Perry's William Monk and Thomas & Charlotte Pitt series. She evokes time and place so well in these Victorian era series that I was hesitant to start this first book in a new series set during the World War I era. I was afraid it wouldn't measure up, so I let it sit on my bookshelf for several years before finally picking it up this week. I discovered that my instincts were right. This is not Anne Perry at her best. She exchanges the realm of detective novels for the world of espionage without substantially altering her writing style. Unfortunately the subtle introspection that works so well in her detective series becomes overwrought melodrama as the characters contemplate international instability, national security, and the possibility of war. While the murders are resolved by the end of the book, there is a larger plot thread that will obviously be continued in the next book of the series. I'm curious about how this thread will play out, but I'm not sure I want to devote any more time to a mediocre series when there are so many other books on my TBR list that seem more appealing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Liked it alright but Monk still has my 5 stars.
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