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The Sibyl in Her Grave by Sarah Caudwell

The Sibyl in Her Grave (2000)

by Sarah Caudwell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Hilary Tamar (4)

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Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
The mystery isn't much. The letters and the remarks of Professor Tamar are what make this enjoyable. ( )
  themulhern | Nov 26, 2014 |
Somewhat odd mystery in which it is not really clear who is murdered, or by whom. Nice cozy mystery atmosphere. Partly told in form of very chatty letters.
  ritaer | Apr 5, 2014 |
Witty narration by Oxford don of a complicated non-sensical plot. Fun. ( )
  pnorman4345 | Dec 12, 2013 |
Old-fashioned style detective story with everyone very polite and genteel, and the story unfolding in letters between the participants rather than on-the-spot action. However, at lease people do drink, smoke and have sex, and a gay love affair is just treated as a love affair rathe than a sordd liaison. A very pleasant read. ( )
  SChant | Apr 25, 2013 |
Delightful; Hilary Tamar is a fantastic narrator, the epistolary touch is fantastic, and while I lost track of the plot about two-thirds of the way through, I think that's my fault, not the author's. Any book with a gay unskeevy cleric, a dominatrix, academic infighting, and references to classical poisoning tracts has to be awesome. ( )
  cricketbats | Mar 30, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sarah Caudwellprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cox, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gorey, EdwardCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haddon, EvaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Anne, who stands between me and chaos
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FOR CERTAIN OF MY academic colleagues - I resist the temptation to refer in this context to the Bursar - the chief purpose of publication appears to be self-advertisement.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Haiku summary
She's on her own now
Her Aunt did things by the Book
But died, What to do?

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0440234824, Mass Market Paperback)

For mystery lovers and literary connoisseurs alike, 2000 was a year of loss. Gone are two masters of language, one with over 30 works to his credit (George V. Higgins), the other with only four (Sarah Caudwell). It is some comfort that each gave readers one last glimpse of literary skill before passing on: Higgins (At End of Day) captured the way people really speak; Caudwell captured the way many people would dearly love to speak. Her first three novels (The Shortest Way to Hades, Thus Was Adonis Murdered, The Sirens Sang of Murder) brought readers into the elegant, urbane world of Hilary Tamar, Oxford fellow and mentor to London barristers Cantrip, Selena, Ragwort, and Julia. Caudwell's last work, The Sibyl in Her Grave, continues the intoxicating blend of dry humor and genteel manners that marked her as a successor to Dorothy Sayers.

The sibyl of the title is the psychic counselor Isabella del Comino, who descends in a flurry of bad taste to the Sussex village of Parsons Haver. With an aviary of ravens, a frumpy niece, and a penchant for combining divinations and blackmail, her sudden death comes as a relief to the village's disgruntled inhabitants, including Julia's redoubtable Aunt Regina. Regina has enough to worry about: she and two friends pooled their resources and invested in equities--and made a killing. But now the tax man is demanding his share, and the money has already been spent. When she asks Julia for legal advice, Julia and her colleagues discover that both Regina's fiscal success and Isabella's death are connected to an insider-trading scandal brewing with Julia's biggest clients. Unraveling that connection, of course, is a task that falls to Hilary.

Hilary, who "labors always in the service of Scholarship," is a triumph of authorial ambiguity. After four novels, readers will be left wondering, apparently unto eternity, whether Professor Tamar is a man or a woman. Take it as a political statement if you will--or simply as another little mystery, courtesy of an author who reveled in the power of words to clarify, outline, elucidate, and obscure. --Kelly Flynn

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:58 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Julia Larwood's Aunt Regina needs help. She and two friends pooled their modest resources and invested in equities - a big, but successful, risk. But now the taxman is demanding his cut ...

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