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Wycliffe and the Three-toed Pussy by W. J.…
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Wycliffe and the Three-toed Pussy (1968)

by W. J. Burley

Series: Wycliffe (1)

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I think I decided to read this because I had never read anything by Burley and some thought he was a good mystery writer. There are about a dozen possible suspects in regard to murders in a Cornish village. Superintendent Wycliffe is a smart guy who sees what other police do not, and he proceeds to talk to people and in the end they of course tell him he is right. I did not see that the book was worth reading and so I won't read any more by Burley. The solution is far-fetched and unlikely and non-inspiring. ( )
  Schmerguls | Nov 23, 2013 |
Wycliffe and the Three-Toed Pussy is the first novel in the Wycliffe series by author WJ Burley. A young woman known as Pussy Welles is found murdered in her home with her deformity placed on show. Wycliffe is called in to investigate. What he discovers is a woman who was more than what she seemed on the surface. She was a manipulator of men and used her beauty to get on in life. She has left a trail of destruction in the lives of those in the village and therefore multiple suspects for Wycliffe to discover.

This is a fairly standard police procedural that owes more than a touch to Agatha Christie. In fact it comes straight out of the Christie playbookRead the full review here ( )
  thecrimescene | Aug 27, 2013 |
In Wycliffe and the Three-Toed Pussy, by W.J. Burley, readers are introduced to John Wycliffe, police superintendent working in Cornwall in Great Britain's southwest. He is called to handle the case of Pussy Welles, a young woman who has been shot to death in a small village; all that has been taken from the scene of the crime is one shoe and one stocking, the removal of which reveal her to have a foot deformity. As he begins to delve into the woman's past, Wycliffe learns that there is no lack of suspects, as it seems that she has been involved with a large number of the leading men in the village and the women, well, none of them are exactly sad to see her dead.... Published in 1968, this book begins a police series of some 22 novels; it contains the sort of casual sexism one would expect of that time (for example, when discussing the victim's lust for power, Wycliffe notes that such lust is rare among women but more dangerous than when men have the same desire because "women have a pragmatic approach to morality and they are capable of showing scant respect for taboos which might restrain a man") and all of the characters, of course, are white. Interestingly, though, the secondary characters include a gay couple who are most definitely not closeted, and those men are entirely accepted within the village community, even if many other villagers disapprove of their sexual orientation; I found the fact that these characters even exist in a fictional police procedural written in the mid-1960s to be quite surprising. Evidently this series became a long-running television show in Britain, and one can see why, as Wycliffe is an engaging character given to solving cases by willing himself into the "life" of the victim through portraits provided by the victim's family, friends and enemies, and by taking the occasional intuitive leap. An interesting mix; I shall look forward to reading more Wycliffe stories! ( )
1 vote thefirstalicat | Jan 28, 2013 |
This is the first in a long series of Wycliffe crime stories. Most of them make for easy and fairly uncomplicated reads. This one is different in that beside offering us some interesting insights into the early life of Wycliffe, he is also working without his regular team to back him up. More importantly,this story is a much darker and unpleasant one than usual.
A woman (Pussy Welles) is found dead from a shotgun wound,the stocking and shoe have been removed and her foot is shown to be deformed.As the case proceeds ,the life of the dead woman is found to have been a mass of contradictions. She has been involved with many men in the district,whom she has manipulated shamefully.On the other hand she is a clever compiler of crossword puzzles and was in the middle of writing a somewhat unusual novel.In the small village in which she had lived,there are many suspects and Wycliffe has to fight against the opinions of the local police in his running of the case. ( )
1 vote devenish | Oct 7, 2009 |
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Pussy Welles.

Slumped on her plain oatmeal carpet in the ultimate relaxation, in the abandoned posture of a child asleep; one arm beneath her body, the other flung out, fingers flexed but not clenched.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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aka The Three-Toed Pussy
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0752880845, Paperback)

The peace of the village of Kergwyns has been shattered by a bizarre murder. A young woman has been shot. The only thing taken from a scene is the shoe and stocking from her left leg…exposing her deformed foot. Wycliffe uncovers evidence of an unhappy woman who routinely manipulated the men in her life. As half the men in the village have been known to visit her, and most have reason to lie about it, finding the murderer will not be easy. Wycliffe's task is complicated by the discovery of some clues in the form of crossword puzzles left by the victim herself. If Pussy Welles knew she was going to die, why did she make no effort to save herself?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:04 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

The peace of the village of Kergwyns in Cornwall has been shattered by a bizarre murder. A beautiful young woman has been shot. The only thing taken from the scene is the shoe and stocking from her left leg - exposing her deformed foot. Detective Superintendent Wycliffe uncovers evidence of an unhappy woman who routinely manipulated the men in her life. As half the men in the village have been known to visit her and most have reason to lie about it, finding the murderer will not be easy. Wycliffe's task is complicated by the discovery of some clues in the form of crossword puzzles left by the victim herself. If Pussy knew she was going to die, why did she make no effort to save herself? When several men have been incriminated in the murder Wycliffe begins to wonder if someone very powerful is stage-managing events.… (more)

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