A Scandal in Belgravia

Robert Barnard, Author Scribner Book Company $17.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-684-19322-9
Barnard's elegant 24th mystery (after A City of Strangers ) finds him at his delightfully waspish best. Targets include the House of Lords (many members give ``the impression of long disuse''), political memoirs (``politicians in general have an affinity for fiction'') and Mrs. Thatcher (named as source of the quote ``the Good Samaritan had to have money''). The amiable narrator is statesman/industrialist Peter Proctor, sacked by Thatcher and now fretting about his memoirs, especially the mystery surrounding the long-ago murder of Timothy Wycliffe, his friend and sharer of the bottom rung in the Foreign Office in the '50s. Witty, imaginative, dazzling Timothy was battered to death in his flat in Belgravia near Buckingham Palace in 1956. The chief suspect, Andrew Forbes, a workingman believed to have been one of Timothy's many male lovers, skipped the country. What otherwise would have been a scandal was smothered by the Suez crisis. Peter, bothered that the murder had so little impact on him, now determines to investigate. Interviews take him as far as California to Forbes, who persuades him of his innocence. Then back to England and a confrontation with a truly evil monster who reveals why Timothy had to die. Barnard brilliantly depicts a seedy, struggling London in the '50s, the Suez fiasco as a symbol of the death of empire and Timothy's murder as a symbol of a wholly different social climate. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/29/1991
Release date: 08/01/1991
Genre: Fiction
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-440-20751-1
Hardcover - 978-0-517-11431-5
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7861-0464-2
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-890208-16-5
Hardcover - 304 pages - 978-1-56054-283-4
Paperback - 354 pages - 978-1-59058-080-6
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-4767-3730-0
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-1-4472-3976-5
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