Crime and Historical Novelist
The Lover of the Grave
The body dangles from the Hanging Tree, for centuries a place of execution
On the coldest night of the year, they find the man's body hanging where so many bodies have hung before, from the dying oak on the outskirts of a village near Lydmouth. His trousers are around his ankles. Is it suicide, murder or accidental death resulting from some bizarre sexual practice?
Journalist Jill Francis and Inspector Richard Thornhill become involved in the case in separate ways. Jill is also drawn unwillingly into the affairs of a small public school where the dead man taught. Meanwhile a Peeping Tom is preying upon Lydmouth; Jill has just moved into her own house, and is afraid she is being watched. And there are more distractions, on a personal level, for both policeman and reporter.
"Andrew Taylor... was given the thumbs up long ago for beautifully crafted, well written narratives combining subtlety, depth and that vital 'Oh, my God, what the hell is going to happen next?' factor, which is the driving force of the story-teller. He is also that rarity that can manage the semi-historical as well as the modern... The Lover of the Grave...ends with a cliffhanger of hope that makes you long to read the next tale." Frances Fyfield, Daily Express
"Taylor keeps up the suspense until the very end, when both the real killer and the compelling motive are revealed. And, in the process, the chill heart of a society that got it all wrong is equally well exposed." Donna Leon, Sunday Times
"Taylor continues his ambitious (not to say subversive) effort to recast the pretty-as-a-picture image of the postwar English country mystery." New York Times Book Review
"Readers who, beguiled by Taylor's understated wit and nostalgic charm.. will be rewarded by an unguessable killer." Kirkus Reviews