Reviewed By: Harriet Klausner
The Judgement of Strangers
Amazon US HC Amazon Canada HC
Class/Genre: Mystery Historical Cozy
Series: Roth Trilogy # 2
St. Martin's, Oct 1998, $22.95, 287 pp.
In the 1970 London suburb of Roth, David Byfield, a widowed minister with a daughter (Rosemary), has just married Vanessa. The occupants of the Byfield home, which happens to be the village vicarage, including his godson, struggle to adjust to the idiosyncrasies of one another. However, the townsfolk are frightened over a series of mutilation murders, including the killing of a cat, Lord Peter.
The Byfields try to pretend that life goes on in spite of the recent events. David works on an upcoming church event. Vanessa researches the dead poet Father Francis Youlgreave, who once stirred up local society. Rosemary seems attracted to a newcomer. However, another resident Audrey Oliphant begins to investigate who had killed her feline.
The second novel in the Roth trilogy is a clever tale that actually is the prequel to events of the first book (see THE FOUR LAST THINGS) as it provides background information to the previous novel. In the hands of a lesser writer, this approach would be a disastrous failure. However, the dexterous Andrew Taylor not only makes it work, he effortlessly provides his readers with loads of suspense and fabulous characters that leave the audience shocked by the sheer brilliance. One does not need to have read the first story to fully gain pleasure from THE JUDGEMENT OF STRANGERS, but this reviewer recommends fans of English cozies to peruse both novels for double the enjoyment.
Reprinted with permission. Do Not repost without permission from the author, Harriet Klausner