W.J. Burley, Wycliffe and the Four Jacks (1985)

This is the twelfth British Inspector Wycliffe mystery. A perfect read for this week when I was a bit distracted by other things.

The bestseller writer David Cleeve meets Inspector Wycliffe by chance, but takes the opportunity to tell him that he has received death threats over several months, each time in the form of a jack from a pack of cards. Wycliffe cannot do much as he is on a holiday together with his patient wife. Besides, he has already guessed that the writer has left out a couple of things. Of course Wycliffe´s holiday is interrupted very soon when a young girl is killed near the bed and breakfast where he is staying, and there is no doubt that there is a connection between the victim and Cleeve´s family.

I have read a couple of Wycliffe mysteries before, but this is the first one featuring DS Lucy Lane (in the TV series she is his smart and thoughtful sidekick). At first Wycliffe is sceptical, but Lucy can hold her own, and throughout the story he learns that he has a new, intelligent sparring partner on his team.

In some ways the story reminded me of Barbara Vine´s The Chimneysweeper´s Boy, but it does not have the same psychological depth. Furthermore I thought it was quite amusing that I had picked a book with a jack (or knave) on the cover without thinking about it.

Good choice for a hot day in the garden or on the beach. Not exactly a demanding book, but a very nice mystery.

The book was a prize for finishing the Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge (not that a prize was needed – it was a very pleasant challenge, Phryne).


Today the Cosy Knave Baton is on it´s way down under to Kerrie.

About Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen

I am a Danish teacher. In my spare time I read, write and review crime fiction.
This entry was posted in British, review, review 2011, W.J. Burley. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to W.J. Burley, Wycliffe and the Four Jacks (1985)

  1. Petty Witter says:

    Not too sure about the book but I love the cover …. quite art deco don’t you think?

  2. Tracy: yes, it´s a charming old cover. And of course I had to use this one where you can actually see the card. The Wycliffe books are nice cosies, but not a ´must-have´ for me.

  3. Margot Kinberg says:

    Dorte – I thought about The Cosy Knave just as soon as I saw that cover and title :-). Thanks for this fine review. Perhaps the Wycliffe mysteries are not the most important and in-depth and well-crafted series there’s ever been, but they are nice stories. I really think I’m going to include one in my In The Spotlight series; thanks for the reminder.

  4. Barbara says:

    Sounds like a good summer read. In Sept. I’ll be ready to think again, but Aug. is still light mystery reading time.

  5. Kelly says:

    I, too, immediately thought of The Cosy Knave when I saw the Jack on the cover! I haven’t read any in this series.

  6. Ellen says:

    Me too! (The Jack…)
    I don’t know Inspector Wycliffe – yet… because after reading your review he sounds like I’d find it nice to meeting him – I enjoy ‘light’ and easy-read crimes in the summertime 🙂

  7. Margot: spotlighting Wycliffe sounds like a great idea!
    Barbara: this one is a good choice for the summer, and it is not even important to read them in order.
    Kelly: it is a good, traditional cosy series. I have not read them all, but we saw some of the episodes on TV years ago, and I loved the setting and the detective.
    Ellen: Wycliffe is a very nice gentleman, and summer and cosies go together like hand in glove 🙂

  8. Just catching up with some blogs that I haven’t been able to visit for a while. So glad you enjoyed the book (and the Challenge!). I plan on hosting another round of the Vintage Mysteries for next year, so stay tuned.

  9. Bev: Wycliffe is always good company, and I´m looking forward to the vintage mystery challenge!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s