Monday, December 30, 2013

Short Notes: A Little Local Murder by Robert Barnard

A fortnight ago, I had no idea about Robert Barnard. Then Patti @ Pattinase dedicated one Friday to his books and I got to know that he was a British writer of mysteries who had passed away but recently. Sergio's review of his book A Fatal Attachment was so compelling that I wanted to read one of Barnard's books rightaway. I was lucky that Open Library has a number of his books that can be borrowed (downloaded/ read online). I chose A Little Local Murder because I liked the title. By sheer chance, it also turned out to be the first book that he ever wrote.

The little village of Twytching is thrown into disarray when Radio Broadwich decides to broadcast a documentary on its local charms. Suddenly, the villagers either turn philanthropists or accomplished artists, each eager to be interviewed for the show. However, the local Inspector George Parrish fears that something sinister is brewing under all this excitement. And his suspicions come true when a murder occurs (and the way the author brings it about, gives one a real jolt). Tensions increase and skeletons come tumbling about.

I absolutely adored the humorous description of the village and its denizens. After reading a number of books that narrate the woes of policewomen who are never given the due or regard that their male colleagues receive, it was refreshing to read such a passage:

Sergeant Feather and Sergeant Underwood stood by watching him and waiting, the latter now and then patting down her skirt a little nervously. She had never before been on a murder case, and Twytching being what it was - this could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. She didn't want to disgrace herself by some foolishness of word or deed, and since the men at the station mainly kept her on cases of lollipops purloined in the school playground and pets who had absconded from old-age pensioners, it wasn't easy to decide how to behave.(72)

This is a delightful book and though I am sorry that Mr. Barnard has passed away, I am glad to have discovered a new author. I am looking forward to reading more of his works in the new year. Thanks Patti and Sergio.


First Line: The letter arrived on the front doormat of Glencoe, the residence of the Chairman of the Twytching District Council, on Wednesday morning but (the Chairman being busy in the kitchen frying bacon and mushrooms, poaching eggs and toasting toast) it was sometime before he came to hear of its contents.

Title: A Little Local Murder

Author: Robert Barnard

Publication Details: NY: Dell, 1984

First Published: 1976

Pages: 196

Other books read of the same author: None



  1. Robert Barnard is one of my favorite authors. I don't have an exact count, but I would guess I have read about half of the books he wrote. I looked it up and this is not one of them. I will have to read it sometime soon. It sounds very good.

    1. I wish you get it soon Tracy. I enjoyed it tremendously and hope you do so too.