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Wycliffe and the Guild of Nine by W. J.…
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Wycliffe and the Guild of Nine (2000)

by W. J. Burley

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A young woman has joined a crafts colony in the workings of a disused mine on the moors, and when she comes into money, she decides to invest in the colony - but only if she has more say in what happens there. This does not sit well with the founders, a man who based the whole concept on his astrological interpretations and his wife, a more practical Dutch woman who has a sideline in returning to Holland periodically and buying up modest artwork there, to sell it on in the UK at a modest profit. When the young woman’s questions become too meddlesome to bear, a chain of events is set into motion that will end up with multiple deaths…."Wycliffe and the Guild of Nine" is the 22nd and final book in the series by W. J. Burley (apparently he began another one, but died before finishing it), and it is the only one in which characters from a previous book in the series, in this case the 13th book, "Wycliffe and the Quiet Virgin," make a return appearance. I quite enjoyed this last one, in part because of meeting up with those old acquaintances once again and in part because Wycliffe, acknowledging the changing world around him at last, begins to contemplate the idea of retirement. The way that the various deaths pile up here, though, I had the feeling that Burley had written himself into a corner; there simply was no other explanation in the end, rather than there being a specific reason for the events. Still, as final cases go, this one quite satisfies, and I’m pleased to have finished the whole series! ( )
  thefirstalicat | Dec 26, 2016 |
This is the last Wycliffe book published before W J Burley’s death. It’s also the last Wycliffe book for me as I’ve now read them all! It started with a holiday in St Ives years ago when we had a day on the beach and I couldn’t get into the book I’d taken with me (P D James’ Devices and Desires, which I have still not read!) so I went into a local bookshop and as a Cornish writer, Burley had a prominent display of books just inside the door, so I decided to give it a go! Then followed years of trying to track the other published books down - oh, how did we cope before the internet?!). I even wrote to the author and had a lovely reply from him. He told me that Wycliffe had just been commissioned as a TV series and sure enough six were adapted by HTV (the rest of the Wycliffe series were ‘based on the books by…’ rather than being adaptations) and the books were suddenly available everywhere! Anyway, I’ve gone off at rather a tangent!

This book features some characters from and earlier story, Wycliffe and the Quiet Virgin, although it isn’t a sequel and can be read as a standalone story.

Wycliffe is enjoying a relaxing bank holiday with his wife Helen when he gets a phone call to say that a young woman at a craft colony has been found murdered. Wycliffe discovers it’s a someone he knew from a previous case – he feels guilty that he didn’t keep in touch with the victim, Francine, the ‘Quiet Virgin’ from the earlier book. As he investigates it becomes clear that there are a number of suspects and as a second and then third death occur, Wycliffe must keep a clear head as he investigates past and present to try to find the murderer.

The books are very easy reads for when you want something that isn’t at all taxing – in fact, they are rather formulaic and, had it not become a quest for me, I probably wouldn’t have read them all! That said, I did enjoy them and I am sorry that Burley didn’t get to complete the one he was working on when he died. I felt this story was rather weaker than some of the earlier Wycliffe titles.
( )
1 vote Bagpuss | Jan 17, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0752843842, Paperback)

On the moor west of St. Ives, at the site of a disused mine, lies an artists’ colony. Known as the Guild of Nine, it was set up by Archer, who runs it according to astrological principles, and his wife Lina, a woman with her feet rather more firmly on the ground. The newest member, a beautiful young woman named Francine, has a legacy she wants to invest in the colony. Archer isn’t sure—not least because she is a Scorpio; Lina, as always, takes a more pragmatic view. But then Francine is found dead in her bed, asphyxiated by a deliberately blocked gas heater. Chief Superintendent Wycliffe investigates and soon discovers that several members of the colony have good reasons for not wanting the police involved. Then, right under Wycliffe’s nose, comes another death.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:05 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Up on the moor west of St Ives lies an artists' colony, known as the Guild of Nine. The newest member, Francine, is found dead in bed, and all the members of the colony are under suspicion; several have very good reasons for not wanting a copper as hard to fool as Chief Superintendent Wycliffe poking around in their affairs.… (more)

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