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Wycliffe and the Scapegoat by W. J. Burley
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Wycliffe and the Scapegoat (1978)

by W. J. Burley

Series: Wycliffe (8)

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From Amazon:

Each year at Halloween, high on the Cornish cliffs, a life-size effigy of a man is strapped to a blazing wheel and run into the sea—a re-enactment of a hideous ancient legend of human sacrifice. So when Jonathan Riddle, a respected local builder and undertaker, disappears, it seems all too likely that his corpse has gone the way of the historic “scapegoat.” As Wycliffe begins to investigate Riddle’s family life, more and more unpleasant facts begin to emerge, until eventually he’s left with an incredible, seemingly impossible, solution.

My Thoughts:

There is a saying that "good things come in small packages". That is certainly true in this small treasure. I found these little books while seaching the library for an entirely different book. There was almost an entire shelf lined with these small offerings none which has over 220 pages....but pages packed with a top notch detective that actually does investigate as well as cast of everyday characters placed in the small village of Cornwell. This is a fascinating story showing how family life is rarely what it seems like to outsiders and the crime is not always what it appears to be.
( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
Every Halloween, a fishing village in Cornwall re-enacts a ritual whereby a stuffed dummy is tethered inside a woven-wood wheel, which is then set ablaze and rolled off the cliffs into the sea; the idea is that the dummy is the town’s “scapegoat” and carries all the sins of the villagers away with it. But one year, the ritual coincides with the disappearance of a local businessman, builder and village undertaker, Jonathan Riddle, and it is soon rumoured that the dummy in the wheel was no dummy at all. And as Superintendent Charles Wycliffe is soon to discover, there is no shortage of suspects who have reason enough to want Riddle out of the way…. This is the 8th novel in this series and was published in 1978; by this time, the casual sexism of the series is more muted, or perhaps I’ve just become more used to it. I liked the whole pagan ritual aspect of the story, and of course Wycliffe himself is an interesting character, but once again it’s the Cornish landscape (and seascape) that I love the most about this series. It’s not necessary to have read the previous books in the series to enjoy this one; in fact, this might be an excellent introduction to the series! Recommended. ( )
  thefirstalicat | Mar 20, 2016 |
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Jonathan Riddle walked down Bethal Street between two rows of identical granite cottages whose front doors opened on to the street.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0752849719, Paperback)

Each year at Halloween, high on the Cornish cliffs, a life-size effigy of a man is strapped to a blazing wheel and run into the sea—a re-enactment of a hideous ancient legend of human sacrifice. So when Jonathan Riddle, a respected local builder and undertaker, disappears, it seems all too likely that his corpse has gone the way of the historic “scapegoat.” As Wycliffe begins to investigate Riddle’s family life, more and more unpleasant facts begin to emerge, until eventually he’s left with an incredible, seemingly impossible, solution.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:15 -0400)

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