Robert Barnard – A Tribute
I recently finished reading A Charitable Body, the last published book of Robert Barnard, one of the best of our contemporary British mystery writers. Robert Barnard (1936-2013) was in many ways a Golden Age writer: his mysteries were always carefully constructed and filled with intelligence and wit. His series characters, Perry Trethowan and Charlie Peace, were memorable and endearing. And many of his non-series books were even better than the ones with Trethowan and Peace.
For twenty years, I have been a member of the e-list DorothyL, and an annual DorothyL tradition is the posting of members’ Top Ten books read that year. Robert Barnard’s books almost always made my Top Ten list, and the lists of many others. Sometimes, two or three of his books made it into my list of favorites for the year.
Though he was awarded a Diamond Dagger (an award for Lifetime Achievement) by the British Crime Writers Association in 2003, Barnard’s novels never won an Edgar, an Agatha or an Anthony (though some of his short stories did, and a few of his books were finalists for the Edgar). His American fans were numerous, and yet he never became a household name.
So this is my tribute to Robert Barnard: a list of my favorites among his many books: the ones that, over the years, kept me entranced and amused and made me eager to come back for more.
In chronological order they are:
Death on the High C’s (1977)
Death by Sheer Torture (1981) [Trethowan]
The Case of the Missing Bronte (1983) [Trethowan]
Corpse in a Gilded Cage (1984)
School for Murder (1984)
Out of the Blackout (1985)
Political Suicide (1986)
Skeleton in the Grass (1987)
Death & the Chaste Apprentice (1989) [Charlie Peace]
Scandal in Belgravia (1991)
Masters of the House (1994)
Corpse at the Haworth Tandoori (1998) [Charlie Peace]
Murder in Mayfair (2000)
Unholy Dying (2000)
Bones in the Attic (2001) [Charlie Peace]
The Graveyard Position (2004)
Last Post (2008)
The Killings on Jubilee Terrace (2009) [Charlie Peace]
A Stranger in the Family (2010)
A Charitable Body (2012) [Charlie Peace]