George V. Reilly

Review: The Circle

The Circle
Title: The Circle
Author: Peter Lovesey
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Soho Crime
Copyright: 2005
Pages: 358
Keywords: mystery
Reading period: 17–18 May, 2009

A conman publisher visits a writing circle in Chichester and gets their hopes up. Soon, he is burned to death in his cottage. Other arson-murders follow.

In the first half of the book, the story is primarily told from the viewpoint of the newest member of the writers’ circle, Bob Naylor, who starts in­ves­ti­gat­ing, egged on by some of the others. In the second half, it becomes a police procedural, as seen by Detective Chief Inspector Henrietta Mallin, who takes over the case.

The Circle is a whodunnit in the classic vein, with in­ter­fer­ing amateur detectives and a large cast of suspects. The characters are well-drawn, often quirky, and quite distinct. It’s more real than, say, Agatha Christie’s mysteries: people do get hurt; it’s not just a game.

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