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Westmorland Alone by Ian Sansom
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Westmorland Alone

by Ian Sansom

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Professor Swanton Morley, his daughter Miriam and his assistant Stephen Sefton are on the way to Westmorland for the latest volume in The County Guides series, with Sefton making his way north not in the Lagonda, as usual, but by train. Shortly before the train arrives at Appleby station, it derails and crashes into a creamery that's lying connected to a siding, with the result that one person is killed. With no trains arriving in or leaving from Appleby, Sefton and the two others are put up at the Tufton Arms, from where they proceed to gather material for the new book while also investigating the cause of the crash and the discovery of a body at an archaeological dig.

This series is really growing on me, with the tone appearing to get darker with each succeeding volume; there is a lot going on under the surface, and it will be interesting to see where the author will take individual plot strands. The mystery at the centre of the novel also shapes up a lot better than the one in the preceding volume, Death in Devon, and I had no idea as to the identity of the culprit until very close to the end. Maybe the author is now also hitting his stride with his characters, all of them being particularly complex in their own way. Readers will either learn to tolerate Morley with his many idiosyncrasies or they won't; I'm very much in the tolerance camp, as it is Sefton's voice and personality that are the real attraction. I still feel that Ian Sansom has set himself quite a target: to devote one book to each of the 40+ English counties - that should see him through to old age. In any case, I'm already looking forward to book no. 4, set in Essex. ( )
  passion4reading | Jun 29, 2016 |
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Epigraph
Here we entered Westmoreland, a country eminent only for being the wildest, most barren and frightful of any that I have passed over in England.

Daniel Defoe, A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain
Dedication
For the other Morley
First words
London wasn't killing me.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Haiku summary
Morley and Sefton
investigate a train crash,
and a murder too.
(passion4reading)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0008121729, Hardcover)

‘Put together with a charm that is teasingly precious … Beautifully crafted by Sansom, Professor Morely promises to become a little gem of English crime writing; sample him now’ Daily Mail

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 22 Jan 2016 21:18:54 -0500)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Welcome to Westmorland. Perhaps the most scenic county in England! Home of the poets! Land of the great artists! District of the Great lakes! And the scene of a mysterious crime...Swanton Morley, the People's Professor, once again sets off in his Lagonda to continue his history of England, The County Guides. Stranded in the market town of Appleby after a tragic rail crash, Morley, his daughter Miriam and his assistant Stephen Sefton find themselves drawn into a world of country fairs, gypsy lore and Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling. When a woman's body is discovered at an archaeological dig, for Morley there's only one possible question: could it be murder? Join Morley, Miriam and Sefton as they journey along the Great North road and the Settle-Carlisle Line into the dark heart of 1930s England.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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