A Fall from Grace, by Robert Barnard

December 3, 2007 at 8:28 pm (Book review, books, Mystery fiction, The British police procedural)

fall.jpg barnard.jpg It’s always a pleasure to have a favorite author who you know will not disappoint you. For me, Robert Barnard is one of those authors. A Fall from Grace is the third mystery by Barnard that I’ve read this year. His novels are set in Yorkshire; Death by Sheer Torture and The Corpse at the Haworth Tandoori were on the reading list for the trip to Yorkshire and Scotland that we so enjoyed this past September.

Barnard’s current protagonist is Charlie Peace. Although Charlie is attached to the Leeds Constabulary, he prefers to live with his wife Felicity and his daughter Carola in one of Yorkshire’s smaller villages. As A Fall from Grace begins, Charlie and his family have recently settled in Slepton Edge. Felicity’s father Rupert Coggenhoe has also come to live in the village, though not with Charlie and Felicity. Rupert is a difficult man – too difficult to live in the same house with. In fact, Charlie and Felicity are not sure they’ll be able to survive living in the same village with him! This worry, however, soon proves to be a moot point…

What sets Charlie Peace apart as a policeman in northern England is that he is black. His wife Felicity, an aspiring novelist (like Ellie Pascoe in Reginald Hill’s series), is white. While this fact at first takes some getting used to for the residents of a small village in Yorkshire, they tend by and large to be welcoming and friendly toward Charlie and his family. Charlie Peace’s ethnicity infuses a refreshing new element into the traditional English village mystery, a greatly treasured (by me, anyway) subgenre of of British crime ficiton.


  1. An occasion for celebrating books, with a poignant aftermath « Books to the Ceiling said,

    […] Robert Barnard – Death by Sheer […]

  2. Last Post, by Robert Barnard « Books to the Ceiling said,

    […] ever since I first discovered the joys of crime fiction, I’ve been enjoying the works of Robert Barnard. Last fall, as part of our Smithsonian mystery tour, my husband and I had the pleasure of meeting […]

  3. K. Taylor said,

    Good story, but left unanswered the consequences: what about that teenaged evil girl? Did she in fact get the $10,000? If so, she was rewarded for her evil doings. Did not like the unanswered questions the book ended on.

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