Andrew Taylor, The Barred Window (1993)

A stand-alone by the British writer of the Lydmouth series, one of my all-time favourites.

“I lived happily ever after from my mother´s funeral in May, when Esmond came back, until the end of September when I had my first intimation that something might be going wrong. At the time I was listening to Esmond and Bronwen, who were talking in the sitting room.”

This story definitely begins in the middle of things. After the first couple of pages you wonder why the narrator, Thomas Penmarsh, lives in the room with the barred windows, why he grew old in one moment back in 1967, and why his cousin Esmond lives downstairs in what is apparently the narrator´s house.

Other questions that arise are how Esmond´s baby sister died, what happened to his charming scoundrel of a father, and why Esmond seems to have such an immense power over Thomas. And at some point you begin to wonder if the narrator is really to be trusted.

Slowly we learn what happened in the sixties, why Thomas´ daughter Alice grew up somewhere else, and we begin to see how old patterns of behaviour repeat themselves in Finisterre, Thomas´ home near the sea.

An intriguing mystery with a satisfactory yet fairly open ending. I bought the book myself, and I am looking forward to a couple of other stand-alones by this terrific writer.

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 Andrew Taylor, British, review, review 2011. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Andrew Taylor, The Barred Window (1993)

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    Dorte – Ah, so That was the book you were hinting at the other day! It does sound intriguing and Andrew Taylor is a very, very talented writer! OK, you’ve done it now – you’ve added to my TBR! 😉

  2. Petty Witter says:

    Sounds like a winner to me, thanks for the recommendation.

  3. Barbara says:

    Boy, I was waaaay off the track with this question. The book sounds very good. Thanks.

  4. Margot: yes, Philip Amos was the only reader who guessed. And I am sooo sorry for having tempted you again 😉

    Tracy: apart from a few scenes about the drug scene of the 60s (something I couldn´t care less about), I was engrossed in it. Had to read on to find an answer to all those questions.

  5. Bill Selnes says:

    Dorte: I certainly had no idea from which book you drew the quote. Since I was a teenager in the 1960’s I should be able to relate to the era.

  6. Kelly says:

    I really like the sound of this – especially when you suggested that perhaps the narrator couldn’t be trusted! Intriguing!

  7. Bill: Andrew Taylor is excellent at evoking an era so you´d probably enjoy revisiting this decade.
    Kelly: yes, I also love that.

  8. Pingback: Andrew Taylor, A Stain on the Silence (2006) | djskrimiblog

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