The Spider’s Banquet

Julius Falconer (2009)

Crime & Mystery   Fiction

A young woman goes to an isolated Warwickshire monastery to visit her brother, who is a monk there. She is dropped off at the door, meets her brother in the parlour; they say goodbye and part; and she is never seen again. The monks, however, have a cast-iron alibi. The diffident and cultured Inspector Wickfield is called in to investigate.

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About this book

A young woman goes to an isolated Warwickshire monastery to visit her brother, who is a monk there. Her sister drops her off at the door. The girl meets her brother in the parlour; they say goodbye and part; and she is never seen again. A search of the buildings and grounds finally reveals her body buried in a shallow grave in the monastery cemetery. The monks, however, have a cast-iron alibi: they were all in chapel at the time of her death. Then the abbot receives a mysterious telephone-call. A man’s voice threatens to hand evidence of the murder to the police – and so incriminate one of the monks - unless the monastery puts up for public auction its most treasured possession, a unique mediaeval manuscript, and donates the proceeds to charity. Is this blackmail or a hoax? As the events unfold, the inspector and his sergeant become less and less sure of what is fact and what is fiction, and the inspector begins to fear for his newly-won promotion. The case takes him to a castle in Italy, a town-house in southern France, a laboratory in Cambridge and the home of a professor of music outside Lincoln; but the solution arrives unexpectedly in his own sitting-room.

In this stylish story written in the classic tradition of British detective fiction, the author intrigues, informs and entertains in equal measure.

About Author

Julius Falconer

Julius Falconer completed six enjoyable years of university studies abroad (particularly slow, our Julius) before working as a translator back in the UK. Thinking that he could earn more as a teacher, to fund his lavish life-style, he took a PGCE at Leeds University and duly turned to teaching. He slaved away at the chalk-face for twenty-six long years in both Cornwall and Scotland before retiring to grow cabbages in Yorkshire, where he still lives. His wife of thirty-three years unfortunately died suddenly in 2000. He has one daughter, married. In 2009, looking to fill his new-found leisure profitably(?), he started to write detective novels and is still happily scribbling away seventeen books later. His interests include music, reading, walking, gardening and genealogy. Julius Falconer is a member of the Crime Writers’ Association. As well as some booklets and several dozen papers in professional journals, he is the author of eighteen murder mysteries featuring the diffident and cultured Inspector Wickfield. Because some of the stories are set in Worcestershire, he has featured in the Worcester News, on BBC Radio Hereford and Worcester and in the online Newsletter for the Worcestershire tourist board.

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