Williams, David - 'Treasure in Oxford'
It is high summer in Oxford and the start of the summer vacation; the governors of the Moneybuckle Endowment (an architectural library) gather at All Saints College for the annual dinner before their meeting under chairman Mark Treasure, merchant banker. There is discussion about a book dealer, who is rumoured to have discovered three previously unknown John Constable drawings of well known Oxford beauty spots, in an old family bible and needs to get their provenance sorted out before they are sold. These three works could be worth a fortune if they are proven to be genuine. The book dealer, who is named Cormit is half-brother to Mrs Bidden, who is married to the man who acts a sort of butler/retainer in the college and is always having these gossipy long discussions with his wife about who is doing what to whom and why. The book dealer has a young lady as his lodger and one day the book dealer's nude body is discovered manacled to the four corners of his bed with a plastic bag over his head resulting in a very slow death by asphyxiation. Was this a sadomasochism accident or murder? The young lady says that she was locked in the bathroom whilst the murder occurred.
The police are called and an Inspector Holmes ("Sherlock" to his colleagues) starts the investigation by immediately arresting the young lady. Will the charge stick? Mark Treasure examines all of the evidence as do the various members of the police team under Inspector Holmes. What follows is a hugely interesting and entertaining story set in and around one of the most colourful and beautiful cities in the whole of England. The Ashmolean Museum and other venues and the streets and architecture in the town have become very familiar either from personal experience or from seeing the TV programmes such as Morse or Lewis. This book adds to that familiarity as the stage in which a story is set is very important to the author.
The author wrote twenty three novels, seventeen of which were part of the 'Mark Treasure' series of "whodunnits". This book is the twelth in that series and was first published in 1988. This edition is published in 2012 by Bello a digital imprint of Pan Macmillan. I thought it a most enjoyable book and was very entertained until the final page. The plot is a bit of a slow burner as there are many characters who have to be introduced and the murder does not take place until about fifty percent of the book is read then the police are involved and the rest of the book just flew by.
Terry Halligan, England
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last updated 9/12/2012 13:35