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Death By Sheer Torture by Robert Barnard

Death By Sheer Torture (original 1981; edition 1985)

by Robert Barnard

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1446128,222 (3.45)14
Meet the Trethowan family, an eccentric clan that prides itself on nonconformity. Perry, a young police inspector, is the only family member to have broken the tradition. Although the Trethowans disdain his normal lifestyle, they find his services helpful when they discover Perry's father on a bizarre torture machine - murdered.… (more)
Title:Death By Sheer Torture
Authors:Robert Barnard
Info:Dell (1985), Edition: Reissue, Paperback
Collections:Your library, Wishlist
Tags:top100mysteries, wishlist

Work details

Death by Sheer Torture by Robert Barnard (1981)

  1. 00
    Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny, & Girly by Brian Comport (SomeGuyInVirginia)
    SomeGuyInVirginia: Mumsy, Nanny is the golden standard of the dysfunctional upper class English family, but Sheet Torture is of a kind. Kind of.
  2. 00
    The Old English Peep Show by Peter Dickinson (ehines)

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» See also 14 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Had not come across this author before

Very enjoyable

Completely different story but it reminded me of that great movie Death at a Funeral (the English original, not the poor American re-make)

Big Ship

29 September 2019 ( )
  bigship | Sep 28, 2019 |
One of the review quotes on my edition of this book is from a wisely unnamed reviewer for the Chicago Tribune: "Robert Barnard has never produced anything but four-star suspense." The other quotes make it plain Barnard's real fortes are wit and ingenuity; if he ever tried to write a suspenseful novel, I've yet to come across it. He triumphs in the same sort of mystery subgenre as Colin Watson; his books are less outright comedies than Watson's, but they have if anything a more lingering cleverness.

Here the victim of an aristocratic country house murder is, unfortunately for our narrator, Inspector Perry Trethowan, his father; even more unfortunately, Dad died suspended from the strappado he'd commissioned as a masochistic masturbatory aid. It's going to be difficult to live this one down at the Yard. Much of the mirth of this novel derives from Perry's ghastly elderly relatives: the Trethowans have long been famous for using aggressive publicity to make the most of their generally somewhat secondary artistic talents. (The only genuinely talented one among them, the now-dead painter Elizabeth, is generally disparaged by the rest.) As for Perry's Dad, a very minor composer, Perry is at pains to point out to us that his father's greatest compositional triumph was probably the occasional musical fart.

The solution to the murder mystery is satisfying. The solution to Perry's other problem -- making sure he doesn't inherit the ancestral seat -- had me grinning. What more could I ask? This is hardly a major work, but it's a very jolly piece of entertainment. ( )
2 vote JohnGrant1 | Aug 11, 2013 |
Light-hearted detective novel set in a zoo for eccentrics. Occasional whiffs of Kingley Amis-like attempts to shock our liberal sensitivities, but not enough to interfere with the fun. ( )
  ehines | Jun 29, 2013 |
As this, the first in Barnard's brief series featuring Scotland Yard detective Perry Trethowan, begins, Perry has just learned of the death of his estranged father. Worse still, the elder Trethowan was found in one of his own torture devices. Although it's the last thing he wants to do, Perry must go to the family estate in Northumberland to help in the investigation, renewing ties with his eccentric family after a 14-year absence. Surprisingly enough, the book is rather light-hearted, and it is possible to see the real people underneath all the eccentricity. It was a nice, quick book to read after the two excellent, but rather long and grisly, thrillers I just finished. Robert Barnard's writing is always enjoyable. ( )
  auntieknickers | Apr 3, 2013 |
This book was sheer enjoyment from start to finish. ( )
  Condorena | Apr 2, 2013 |
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I first heard of the death of my father when I saw his obituary in The Times.
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