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Tags:mystery

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Thus Was Adonis Murdered by Sarah Caudwell (1981)

20th century (6) amateur detective (6) art (7) British (30) British mystery (10) crime (18) crime and mystery (5) crime fiction (11) detective (8) detective fiction (5) England (16) English (5) fiction (109) Gorey (5) Hilary Tamar (26) humor (33) Italy (18) Kindle (5) law (13) lawyers (18) London (10) murder (8) mystery (225) novel (20) read (11) sarah caudwell (6) series (13) to-read (31) unread (5) Venice (27)
  1. 60
    Rumpole of the Bailey by John Mortimer (GeraniumCat)
    GeraniumCat: Anyone who enjoys Sarah Caudwell's legal mysteries should also like Horace Rumpole, and vice versa. They share much of the same humour, a delicious set of English eccentrics and a similar fascination with the intricacies of the legal system.
  2. 21
    Still Life by Louise Penny (wandering_star)
    wandering_star: Both these mystery series are excellent examples of the quirky/cosy end of the spectrum, with extremely engaging characters, an ironic wit and good twisty mysteries.
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Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Six-word review: Delightful series-starter introduces colorful characters.

Extended review:

Clever whodunit with an endearingly stuffy first-person narrator and a droll supporting cast in the best tradition of British cozy mysteries. I would be thrilled to discover a list of two dozen titles following this one in series, but alas, there are only three more. I expect to savor them.

Young barrister Julia Larwood, well versed in law but charmingly inept in practical matters, is off on a holiday in Venice. In quest of a romantic fling in a picturesque Italian setting, she instead finds herself under suspicion of murder. Her colleagues back in London, together with an Oxford don with talents as an armchair sleuth, set about the urgent business of rescuing her on the strength of what they are able to discover, deduce, and contrive from a distance. ( )
1 vote Meredy | Jun 4, 2014 |
Dithery professor solves murder of tourist in Venice, freeing her friend, the main suspect.
  ritaer | May 27, 2014 |
Thus Was Adonis Murdered is the first of four mysteries featuring a group of English barristers, including narrator Hilary Tamar. Tamar is a pompous academic who mentors the younger members of the group. In this novel, one of the barristers, Julia, gets caught up in a murder while on holiday in Venice. Her colleagues back home find it impossible to believe Julia had anything to do with the crime, and aim to prove this to the authorities. Which of course they do, because this is the sort of book where you know everything will work out all right in the end. Along the way there's a fair amount of irony and humor, making this more of a "fun read" than a gripping crime novel.

Every series has its schtick, and in this case it revolves around Tamar. Is Hilary Tamar a man or a woman? It really doesn't matter, but one can't help wondering, and Sarah Caudwell leaves clues which keep the reader guessing. Tamar's credentials are a more relevant concern, and this is my only quibble with this series. Caudwell provides little background on Tamar and the team of barristers, simply dropping the reader into the story. They are all amateur detectives, conversant in law but not in criminal investigation. And their investigative efforts occur almost entirely from a London office, based on clues obtained from letters Julia wrote in the days leading up to the murder. Tamar is the sort of crime-solver who earns his stripes by being more intelligent than everyone else, ultimately declaring the solution which has been obvious to him (her?) all along. It requires some suspension of disbelief to think a murder could be solved more quickly via long distance without ever visiting the crime scene, than by the local authorities with all manner of evidence right in front of them.

But then, this book is intended more as a romp than a page-turner, and on that level, it succeeds. With only four books in the series, these will be perfect light reads when the mood strikes. ( )
  lauralkeet | May 17, 2014 |
When one of a group of young London barristers is detained as a murder suspect while on holiday in Venice, the others, with the help of their mentor Professor Hilary Tamar, combine efforts to solve the crime and exonerate their friend. Julia, the suspect, has sent one of their number daily letters detailing the events of the Art Lovers tour of Venice and a description of her travel companions, giving her friends back home in London all the information they need to apply the rules of logic to solve the crime.

Although the book is a little more risque than the typical cozy mystery, it has a similar humorous, light-hearted atmosphere. Readers who enjoy reading about the British legal and tax systems, art, and travel, all wrapped up in witty repartee will want to add this one to their reading lists. ( )
  cbl_tn | Sep 22, 2013 |
I FINALLY got my hands on this. *o/* And it absolutely lived up to expectations. **o/** Caudwell's novels are unquestionably the BEST when it comes to character and narratorial voice; she doesn't quite have Hilary down in this first of the series, but everyone else is so much themselves that I can overlook that. I love the sex-positivism, I love the literary flourishes, I love the devotion to food, I love the implicit feminism. I love Timothy, whom I do not recall from the other Tamar novels, and I love Graziella, and I love Cantrip's hilarious family, and this was totally worth the four dollars second-hand. ( )
  cricketbats | Apr 18, 2013 |
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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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Dedication
To J.G.F.C.G.
for all the letters I've failed to write you
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Scholarship asks, thank God, no recompense but Truth.
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'Furthermore,' I added, 'it is no use your implying, Selena, that your part in the enterprise was a merely negative one. If you tell me that Julia could have managed to purchase a travel ticket, find her passport, pack her suitcase and catch an aeroplane, all without the aid of some competent adult, I shall be obliged to disbelieve you.'
It is about an hour and a half since you left me at the airport. Things, since you left, have not gone well with me: they have taken me from a place where there was gin to a place where there is no gin, and from a place where I could smoke to a place where I cannot smoke. That is to say, from the departure lounge to the aeroplane.
'Julia did very well,' said Selena, 'not to fall into the lagoon. How beastly of that woman to suggest she'd had too much to drink.'

'Most uncharitable,' said Ragwort. 'Julia, as we all know, needs no assistance from alcohol to make her trip over things.'
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Book description
Androgynous barrister Hilary Tamar's colleague, Julia Larwood (young, brilliant and disorganized) is in deep trouble with the Inland Revenue. Julia goes on holiday to Venice, seeking romance; she also finds a dead body.
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Detective and mystery stories. Mystery fiction. When her personal copy of the current Finance Act is found a few metres away from a body, young barrister Julia Larwood finds herself caught up in a complex fight against the Inland Revenue. Set to have a vacation away from her home life and the tax man, Julia takes a trip with her art-loving boyfriend. However, all is not what it seems. Could he in fact be an employee of the establishment she has been trying to escape from? And how did her romantic luxurious holiday end in murder?… (more)

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