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Murder in a Cathedral

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About the Author

Dr Ruth Dudley Edwards was born and brought up in Dublin, Ireland. Since she graduated she has lived in England, where she has been a teacher, a Cambridge postgraduate student, a marketing executive, a civil servant and, finally, a freelance writer, journalist and broadcaster.An historian and prize-winning biographer, her recent non-fiction includes the authorized history of The Economist, a portrait of the British Foreign Office and a book about the newspaper world of the mid-twentieth century. She uses her knowledge of the British establishment in her satirical crime novels: targets so far include the civil service, gentlemen's clubs, Cambridge colleges, the House of Lords, the Church of England, publishing, literary prizes and - always - political correctness. She has three times been short-listed for awards from the Crime Writers' Association.


The satire in Edwards's latest Robert Amiss tale (after Ten Lords A Leapin') is overshadowed by the abrasive, self-centered Lady Troutbeck (aka Jack), who takes Robert to the installation of another friend as the new bishop of Westonbury Cathedral. Jack, who is described as resembling Ethel Merman and being a "sexy" Margaret Rutherford, bullies her way through the crises at Westonbury. Focusing on arguments about High and Low Church of England practices and gay and lesbian clergy in the church, Edwards gives Jack the C of E traditionalist position, which she advocates loudly. Critical mass is achieved at Westonbury when the Dean, who is, observes Jack, part of the "happy-clappy... bible thumping rave," interrupts a "coming-out service... for a group of lesbian witches." Changes are in the offering when the Dean decides to restructure the cathedral's music and services to be "sing-alongs for Jesus." A wave of violence ensues, beginning with the apparent suicide of the choirmaster. By throwing in everything but the baptismal font, Edwards has created a dissonant hodgepodge of ideas and characters. (June)

The new bishop of Westonbury Cathedral, an institution long dominated by a cadre of High-Church gays, wishes to avoid ugly confrontation when an intolerant new American dean arrives. The bishop confides in Baroness Troutbeck, who sends series sleuth Robert Amiss (e.g., Ten Lords a-Leaping, LJ 7/96) to the rescue‘but not in time to prevent murder. An appealing and humorous series.

This blithe series puts itself on the side of the angels by merrily, and staunchly, subverting every tenet of political correctness. -- Patricia Craig, The Independent

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