Andrew Taylor

Crime and Historical Novelist

The Barred Window


The Barred Window
"A heart-in-mouth chiller of great power and subtlety... the atmosphere electric and the plot so gripping the tension hurts." Frances Hegarty,  Mail on Sunday

Thomas Penmarsh has always lived at Finisterre, the house by the sea. He sleeps in the room with the barred window and looks down on the cats in the garden. He is 48: but he has been an old man since one evening in 1967 when he lost everything he valued.  Then Cousin Esmond came back and rescued him from despair and the cats; Esmond always looks after Thomas.
But now Alice wants to come home too.  Alice will spoil it all if she returns, because she brings the past with her. From the moment of her conception, she has been a child of enchantment, madness and death.

The Barred Window and The Raven On The Water both explore the relationship between now and then: as a writer I'm fascinated by the fact that if you want to understand the present, you have to go back to the past. Both novels use a double narrative technique, in which the distant past and the recent past unfold together until they converge in the present. Both deal with the long shadows cast by old crimes.

The Barred Window was widely reviewed as mainstream fiction. It is set in Cornwall and uses many of the conventions of the Gothic novel. One of its themes is the blurred dividing line which sometimes exists between predators and victims.

These two novels predate
The Roth Trilogy (aka Requiem For An Angel/Fallen Angel) and A Stain On The Silence but have similarities in tone and preoccupations.

Selected Reviews

"A psychological tingler with more than a touch of the Daphne du Mauriers..." Independent on Sunday

"An intelligent, exciting psychological drama..." Daily Mail

"This cleverly crafted jigsaw is a masterly portrait of a seemingly guileless narrator... Beautifully measured... Taylor's understated thriller generates a dark, hypnotic pull" Time Out

"... Classically paced and proportioned... A slow burner, most cunningly constructed, plays havoc with your sympathies" Literary Review