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The Discourtesy of Death by William Brodrick

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

Father Anselm is a monk (ex-criminal lawyer) at Larkwood’s Prior. An anonymous letter arrives accusing a TV guru of murdering his wife two years previously. There was no foul play noticed at the time; she died of cancer. Now Anselm is faced with looking into this very sensitive accusation. But Anselm is a very special person, full of humanity and understanding so he is just the man to tackle the problem. A beautifully written mix of psychology and philosophy where lives are altered by one misguided act and the mistaken results of that act fuelled by love and hate, this is a whodunit with a difference. Highly recommended.

If you like William Brodrick you might also like to read books by Barbara Nadel, David Bell and Harry Bingham.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. Former barrister turned sleuthing monk, Father Anselm is charged with a difficult and dangerous new case by his Prior. Two years ago, Jenny, a tragically paralysed ballet dancer, died peacefully, spared a painful death from cancer. But a rumour has reached the prior that Jenny’s partner, the renowned maverick academic Peter Henderson, was in fact responsible for her death. Was Jenny the victim of a mercy killing, or something yet more sinister? With an eye to the well-being of Jenny and Peter’s young son Timothy, Anselm must delve delicately into the secrets of the past in search of the truth. Complex, compelling and psychologically intriguing.
~ The Good Book Guide

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The Discourtesy of Death by William Brodrick

An anonymous letter sent to Larkwood's Prior accuses Peter Henderson, an academic celebrity renowned for daring ideas, of a grotesque murder: the calculated killing of Jenny, his disabled partner, believed by everyone to have died peacefully two years previously from a sudden attack of cancer. But for this letter there is no evidence, no suspect and no crime. Time has moved on. Lives have been rebuilt. Grief and loss are tempered by a comforting thought: a paralysed woman, once an acclaimed dancer, had died quickly and painlessly, spared a drawn out illness; a life marked by agonising misfortune had come to a merciful end. But now Anselm has been told the truth behind the soothing lie. He must move cautiously to expose the killer and the killing. He must think of young Timothy, Jenny and Peter's son. A boy who is still learning to live without his mother. And so Anselm begins his most delicate investigation yet, unaware that Jenny's adoring father is also thinking of Timothy's future; that this urbane former army officer is haunted by the memory of torture and shoot-to-kill operations in Northern Ireland; that he remains capable of anything, if he thinks it's for the best; that he has set out to execute Peter Henderson. Death, dying and killing, however, were never so complicated.


'Brodrick writes with great elegance, his style unhurried, dialogue intelligent, polite yet full of meaning.' -- Marcel Berlins The Times

'a reflective novel' -- Joan Smith Sunday Times

'Brodrick is amongst the greatest contemporary crime writers, and his novels cannot be dismissed as mere 'thrillers'. Thought-provoking and philosophical, they never hinge on a gory slaying, but on ethical dilemmas that are central to our changing moral landscape... my crime book of the year.' -- Victoria Cross The Lady

About the Author

In a career change that mirrors Father Anselm's, Bill Brodrick was a Franciscan friar before leaving the order to become a practising barrister.

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Book Info

Publication date

7th August 2014


William Brodrick

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Abacus an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group


416 pages


Action Adventure / Spy
Crime / Mystery
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Crime & mystery



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