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Wycliffe and Death in Stanley Street by W.…
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Wycliffe and Death in Stanley Street (1974)

by W. J. Burley

Series: Wycliffe (5)

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A young prostitute is found dead in a rather sordid street as W. J. Burley’s "Wycliffe and Death in Stanley Street" opens, but it isn’t long before Superintendent Wycliffe discovers that her life, and death, were not at all what they at first seem. Artists, antique book dealers and major real estate deals all have parts to play in the crime, but it will take another death, and a suspicious fire, before Wycliffe can begin to get a handle on the case…. This is the fifth book in the long-running detective series, set in Cornwall, UK, in the 1960s and ‘70s. In this one, Wycliffe has been moved to new offices in the “city,” by which I assume Truro must be meant (although the name of the municipality is never given) simply because nothing else in Cornwall would really merit the term “city” at that time. I enjoy the main character and his relationships with subordinates, and I like that the mystery is fairly laid out, giving the reader a fair chance at solving the murder before the hero does. As with the earlier books in the series, there’s a lot of casual sexism running through the story (there are no “women” in the book, only “girls,” whereas there are also no “boys” in the book, only “men” - language parsing that becomes trying at times); I can’t say there’s racism too because there are no non-white characters at all. However, if you can ignore those factors, then the story is entertaining and nicely paced. I don’t think it’s necessary to have read the earlier books to enjoy this one; recommended with the above caveats. ( )
  thefirstalicat | Dec 9, 2015 |
Fifth in the Wycliffe series, first published in 1974. A prostitute is found murdered in her flat, in circumstances that suggest a sex crime. But it's obvious to Wycliffe's team that the suggestion is deliberate, and they need to consider other motives. The only clue they have initially is that the young woman was clearly well educated and intelligent, with a clientele willing to pay a premium for that. With that, they soon trace her real name and background -- the daughter of a well-to-do man, but both parents dead some years earlier, leaving only her and her brother.

As Wycliffe and his team trace the woman's professional and personal contacts, they find more than one motive for murder. But nothing seems to quite fit the normal patterns. Lily was exploiting pillow talk to make money, but not in a way likely to provoke murder. She had some dubious connections with a record of violence, but they seem well-satisfied with the relationship. There has to be something else the team aren't seeing, but it takes an arson attack and another death before Wycliffe has enough pieces of the puzzle to start to see a pattern. And even then, he's not sure if it's another pattern deliberately created for him to see -- and if so, what it's meant to hide.

Another well-constructed police procedural from Burley, with the clues laid out just clearly enough for the reader to stay slightly ahead of Wycliffe. As ever, much of the pleasure in the book is in the characterisations, giving it a good re-readability factor. However, I'd note that this is another title in the series which features a gay stereotype character and the normally tolerant Wycliffe's homophobia as a significant element. ( )
  JulesJones | May 2, 2010 |
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Stanley Street is a cul-de-sac, blocked at the far end by iron railings which seperate it from the railway embankment.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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aka Death in Stanley Street
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0752849697, Paperback)

In a sprawling West Country port lies the insalubrious Stanley Street, a dubious cul-de-sac just off the busy main road. And when a prostitute is found naked and strangled in her bed there, Chief Superintendent Wycliffe is called in to investigate. But things aren’t quite as straightforward as they seem. The victim, Lily Painter, is the kind of girl who liked Beethoven and had plenty of fine qualifications to her name. The more Wycliffe investigates, the more surprises he uncovers. But it takes a dangerous arson attack and a second murder before the solution to this diabolical puzzle can be found.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:14 -0400)

In a sprawling West Country port lies the insalubrious Stanley Street, a dubious cul-de-sac just off the busy main road. And when a prostitute is found naked and strangled in her bed there, Chief Superintendent Wycliffe is called in to investigate. But things aren't quite as straightforward as they seem. The victim, Lily Painter, is the kind of girl who liked Beethoven and had plenty of fine qualifications to her name. The more Wycliffe investigates, the more surprises he uncovers. But it takes a dangerous arson attack and a second murder before the solution to this diabolical puzzle can be found.… (more)

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