Detective Superintendent Wycliffe finds himself drawn into an investigation into the death of redhead, Morwenna Barker. Morwenna worked in Wycliffe’s favorite antiquarian bookshop owned by Simon Meagor, a shy, lonely, middle-aged bookseller who seems like an unlikely suspect. But, Meagor played a key role in Morwenna’s father’s murder trial. Why would a woman who held a grudge against Meagor volunteer to work in his bookshop? As Wycliffe untangles the complexity of Morwenna’s past, two more deaths enter the picture. The search for clues takes Wycliffe into the past where previous investigations missed essential evidence. If you’re looking for a traditional police procedural with a twisty plot and vivid characters, Wycliffe and the Redhead delivers. GRADE: B+

I hope you enjoyed REDHEAD WEEK. Normal posting returns tomorrow.

18 thoughts on “WYCLIFFE AND THE REDHEAD By W. J. Burley

  1. Jeff Meyerson

    I remember that one from my days of picking up Burley paperbacks in England, where they were plentiful. I always looked for his few early books that hadn’t been published in the States, though I’m pretty sure they are all available now, at least as ebooks. There was a television series (WYCLIFFE) that ran five series between 1994 and 1998, starring the dull (my opinion) but suitable Jack Shepherd as Wycliffe. I liked the Cornish settings.

      1. Jeff Meyerson

        The first episode was a bookstore murder, but it wasn’t that one. Still, I would have enjoyed seeing more episodes. We only saw a few that were on television while we were in England.

      2. george Post author

        Jeff, my Library has Seasons 1, 2, and 4 of WYCLIFFE. It lacks Season 3 and 5. I might give them a try since nothing interesting has shown up on network or cable TV this Summer.

  2. Deb

    I’ve read a few of the WYCLIFFE books, but I have to say that none of them really stand out in my mind. I think I read this one—I remember the bookseller, but the rest of the plot is hazy.

  3. Rick Robinson

    I’ve read the first three or four in the series and have several more On Shelf. I think the last one I read might have been WYCLIFFE AND THE THREE-TOED PUSSY, or perhaps it was the one after that. I’ve enjoyed them, but not for a steady diet. I’m guessing I’m reading one, maybe two, a year. I haven’t seen the TV series.

    1. Jeff Meyerson

      THREE-TOED PUSSY was the first or second Wycliffe, as I remember it. I read that one too.

      George, we’re going through Netflix and Amazon Prime and Acorn trying various series that we’ve marked. We try one episode and either delete it (The Indian Detective, Altered Carbon, Sharp Practice) or keep it (the Australian GLITCH, the Canadian TIN STAR).

      1. george Post author

        Jeff, Patrick is a big fan of THE EXPANSE. I have the SF novels the series is based on. I may start to watch THE EXPANSE in a few months. Diane and I are trying to get caught up on all the stuff we’ve DVRed!

      2. george Post author

        Rick, here’s the Wycliffe mysteries in chronological order:
        Wycliffe and the Three-Toed Pussy (1968)
        Wycliffe and How to Kill a Cat (1970)
        Wycliffe and the Guilt Edged Alibi (1971)
        Wycliffe and Death in a Salubrious Place (1973)
        Wycliffe and Death in Stanley Street (1974)
        Wycliffe and the Pea-Green Boat (1975)
        Wycliffe and the Schoolgirls (1976)
        Wycliffe and the Scapegoat (1978)
        Wycliffe in Paul’s Court (1980)
        Wycliffe’s Wild Goose Chase (1982)
        Wycliffe and the Beales (1983)
        Wycliffe and the Four Jacks (1985)
        Wycliffe and the Quiet Virgin (1986)
        Wycliffe and the Winsor Blue (1987)
        Wycliffe and the Tangled Web (1988)
        Wycliffe and the Cycle of Death (1990)
        Wycliffe and the Dead Flautist (1991)
        Wycliffe and the Last Rites (1992)
        Wycliffe and the Dunes Mystery (1993)
        Wycliffe and the House of Fear (1995)
        Wycliffe and the Redhead (1997)
        Wycliffe and the Guild of Nine (2000)
        Wycliffe and the Last Lap (2003) unfinished

    2. george Post author

      Rick, I have a dozen or so Wycliffe novels. My local public Library has the entire series so if I want to read them all, I have access to the books. Like you, I have not watched the TV series. But I have access to the DVDs of the Wycliffe series at the Library, too.

    1. george Post author

      Rick, I enjoy putting these Theme Weeks together (Blonde Week, Mars Week, Redhead Week, etc.). I tried to include a variety of redhead material: a movie, Westerns, a private eye novel, a SF novel, a police procedural, and a Perry Mason court room novel. Something for everyone!

    1. george Post author

      Steve, both BETTER CALL SAUL and SHARP OBJECTS are on my WATCH REAL SOON list. We’re still trying to watch about a 100 hours of programs we’ve recorded on our DVR over the past two years!


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