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Sirens Sang of Murder [Hardcover]

Sarah Caudwell
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 7 1991 Atlantic Large Print Books
Whilst on a trip to the sunny Channel Islands to find the heir to a lucrative tax law case, young barrister Michael Cantrip finds himself in over his head. Peculiar things begin to occur on the mysterious and isolated islands with something - or somebody - bumping off members of his legal team. With the help of his mentor, amateur investigator Hilary Tamar, Cantrip, must find a safe passage back to the Lincoln's Inn Chambers.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Astringently British witticisms season Caudwell's third suspense novel with Professor Hilary Tamar of Oxford, as usual, telling the tale. One of her young lawyer friends, Michael Cantrip, is off in the Channel Islands where he joins an international group charged with administering the "Daffodil Settlement," involving a great fortune. Checks on the previous administrators reveal that one of them, a strong swimmer, had drowned during a meeting on the Cayman Islands. Alerted to their friend's possible "death by misadventure," the coterie at Lincoln's Inn flies to his defense. The tensions increase moment by moment, capped by a heady scene between Michael and a charming Italian contessa. Besides giving readers a bewitching mystery, the author absorbs them in the legends of Jersey, Sark, Little Sark--all the storied Channel Islands. Mystery Guild alternate.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From the Publisher

Young barrsiter Michael Cantrip has skipped of to the Channel Islands to take on a tax-law case that's worth a fortune -- if Cantrip's tax-planning cronies can locate the missing heir. But Cantrip has waded in way over his head. Strange things are happening on these mysterious, isolated isles. Something is going bump in the night -- and bumping off members of the legal team, one by one. Soon Cantrip is telexing the gang at the home office for help. And it's up to amateur investigator Hilaray Tamar (Oxford don turned supersleuth) to get Cantrip back to safety of his chambers -- alive! --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes delightful, often taxing Aug. 16 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Of the four Caudwell mysteries, this is the one to read last or not at all. That Wildean wit and off-center logic that are a part of the characters in all four books are there, but Good Grief! the wading one must do through tax codes, financial details and fiduciary claptrap. Caudwell becomes almost pedantic about government regulation on tax matters (will there be a quiz after?) and that is very tiring. Any of the other three is a better choice, particularly as a first Caudwell read. (Note: Given a vote in the matter, I do believe that Prof. Tamar is female, though it seems not to matter one way or another.)
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5.0 out of 5 stars The funniest of them all Oct. 25 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the third of Sarah Caudwell's sublimely funny murder mysteries narrated by Hilary Tamar, professor of legal history at Oxford, and featuring her young barrister friends. All four of these books are hilarious, and this is the funniest of the lot. Not many books in my life have made me cry with laughter, but this one reduced me to tears on several occasions. The adventures of young Michael Cantrip (educationaly disadvantaged, poor boy, he went to Cambridge)in the Channel Islands and in France and Monaco are full of wildly funny incidents. The poor boy has to suffer spending five hours shut in the boot of a car, being locked in a wine celler by a dotty waiter etc, meanwhile back in london his colleagues are having to cope with his barmy uncle. The plot is amazingly convoluted, and like all the books you may find yourself getting a bit lost in the complexity of the financial details, but who cares. Just enjoy the ingenious story, the wonderful characters, the witty dialogue, and Sarah Caudwell'smarvellous style. What a tragedy that there are only four of these marvellous books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Letter writing at its best Nov. 19 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Cantrip is missing! Having been seconded to assist with the mysterious Daffodil settlement in the Tax Haven of the Channel Islands, he disappears, and there seem to be bodies all over the place, bodies and unlimited suspects who might well have been involved in murdering them - or then again might not. Even murder isn't necessarily on the cards here. Really, it is up to Professor Hilary Tamar to sort things out and find the culprits, and find Cantrip at the same time.
A while ago we were discussion (on a Jane Austen list) the art of the epistolary form of the novel - and perhaps this is the original idea behind Caudwell's form of mysteries - they are very reliant on letter writing. While the first mystery featured letters by Julia from Venice (Thus was Adonis murdered), and the second Serena from Corfu (The Shortest Way to Hades), this has Young barrister, Michael Cantrip, writing from..... well.... all over France - and using the handy mechanism of the Telex machine to send his messages back to the members of the nursery at 62 New Square (and the occassional less than flattering note to their Clerk, Henry).
A very funny, bouynat mystery with the usual Caudwell twist at the end - I guess the unexpected seems to occur every few pages really - The only thing I would mention is that I didn't feel like all the clues were quite at my grasp as they might have been - however, I didn't mind, it was such a rollicking good fun ride. Sometimes I wonder if I read these as mysteries or comedies - they are lovely as both. .
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pure delight Aug. 8 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
After the relatively disappointing second book in the series (The Shortest Way to Hades) I was enraptured to find The Sirens Sang of Murder on a par with the first Sarah Caudwell, the one that made me sing hosannas and rush out to buy everything she had written. One of the strengths and pleasures of Sirens, as with Thus Was Adonis Murdered, is that a large part of it takes the form of an epistolary novel, in this case through telexes in the hilarious voice of Cantrip. Surely Caudwell is a fan of P.G. Wodehouse, since the hapless Cantrip reminds me irresistibly of clueless Bertie Wooster, even down to his malapropisms and his dotty uncle (reminiscent of Uncle Fred). Having so many adventures related through his harried, well-intentioned, quirky voice ("pottle" is one of his favorite verbs) makes everything that much livelier. Another clever, enjoyable device is the use of hackneyed romance-novel cliches, which circulate due to Cantrip and Julia's collaboration on a would-be bestseller. Added to this heady mixture is the faintly dangerous, sexy whiff of witch lore and the supernatural.
If you enjoyed Thus Was Adonis Murdered, don't hesitate to heed the Sirens' seductive cry.
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