cover image Wycliffe and the House of Fear

Wycliffe and the House of Fear

W. J. Burley. St. Martin's Press, $19.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-312-14080-9

Charles Wycliffe's 20th case (after Wycliffe and the Dunes Mystery) begins as he is on holiday with his wife in Cornwall, where he becomes interested in the 500-year-old estate of Kellycoryk and its family, the Kemps. The manor at Kellycoryk has fallen into ruin and is barely habitable. To save it, Roger Kemp, to whom heritage matters above all else, must either sell outright or lease it to the company owned by his wealthy second wife Bridget, who plans to make it a tourist resort. Roger, with ""a knack for turning misfortune into... calamity,"" becomes the prime suspect when Bridget goes missing and the evidence points to murder. Wycliffe's natural curiosity becomes official when he takes over the investigation and turns his attention to the boating death of Roger's first wife, all while sorting out the Kemp family's festering relationships. Intuition, experience and factual inconsistencies lead him toward the solution of both deaths, but not before an apparently guilt-induced suicide occurs. This skilled blend of mood, character and plot will likely be read in one sitting. (Jan.)