Dying Flames

Robert Barnard, Author . Scribner $24 (245p) ISBN 978-0-7432-7219-3

The latest mystery thriller from prolific British master Barnard (The Graveyard Position ) may skimp on his trademark mordant humor, but it offers characters with more emotional depth than those who typically populate his cutting satires. While in Colchester for a reunion, Graham Broadbent, an acclaimed novelist, is jolted out of his complacency by the appearance at his hotel of an attractive young woman claiming to be his daughter. Her assertion leads the aloof Broadbent to revisit a long-past romantic relationship with Peggy Somers, an unrepentant manipulator and fantasist, who may actually be the mother of a son whose existence he never knew of. While a murder gives the book's last third a whodunit, the killing and the quest for the culprit are clearly secondary to Barnard's sensitive exploration of the changes unexpected encounters and unsuspected emotions bring about in his well-portrayed protagonist. Whether or not this signals a permanent change in direction for this Diamond Dagger Award–winner, both longtime fans and first-time readers should be pleased. (May)

Reviewed on: 01/30/2006
Release date: 05/01/2006
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-7432-8921-4
Paperback - 252 pages - 978-1-4391-8146-1
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-7490-8110-2
Hardcover - 327 pages - 978-1-59722-292-1
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