- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Scribner (April 26 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0743253469
- ISBN-13: 978-0743253468
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.8 x 22.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 363 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,604,504 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Graveyard Position: A Novel of Suspense Hardcover – Apr 26 2005
Customers who bought this item also bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
From Publishers Weekly
Spiritualist Clarissa Cantelo's death reunites her surviving family members, an eccentric clan guarding some dark secrets, in this blackly comic whodunit from prolific British author Barnard (A Cry from the Dark). When Clarissa's nephew and heir, lawyer Merlyn Docherty, who's been living in Brussels, resurfaces after two decades, his relatives challenge his claim; everyone thought he was long dead. Motivated by self-preservation to probe the Cantelo family's twisted dynamics and complex alliances, Merlyn slowly pieces together a pattern that hints at conspiracies and sexual deviancy. An attempt on his life that claims another's suggests he's getting too close to the truth for someone's comfort. Fans of classic murder puzzles will be delighted by the careful hiding of clues in plain sight. Few writers of contemporary mysteries can equal Barnard's ability to meld a clever fair-play plot with satire.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Aunt Clarissa has just died, leaving everything (she was heir to a shirt-manufacturing fortune) to her nephew Merlyn, who has been living abroad for years in Brussels. When Merlyn returns to Leeds to claim his rightful inheritance, he confronts his dysfunctional extended family once again, all of whom are surprised to see that he is still alive, since Aunt Clarissa had suggested otherwise. But there is more in the air than simply the usual family discord--in fact, the atmosphere hints of a family conspiracy to keep information away from him. The body "in question" here--Barnard writes, after all, traditional British whodunits--is not Aunt Clarissa's but, as it turns out, that of the old family patriarch who died years ago. Barnard's novels may be traditional, but they are certainly not tired. His latest Police Sergeant Charlie Peace tale is a fresh take on family inheritance, at the same time exhibiting all the author's greatly appreciated traits, including charm, wit, and excellent pacing. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com
I really hate to "bash" this author too much because of the many books of his I have enjoyed -- the earlier writing seems so much better.
Three stars instead of two because of the clever character names -- love the British!
Robert Barnard's "The Graveyard Position" is a talky and occasionally amusing psychological mystery about a dysfunctional and mean-spirited family. Grandfather Cantelo, the patriarch, was a vicious and self-centered man who brought up his large brood to compete with one another. As a result, the Cantelo family is comprised of bitter and suspicious misfits rather than loving and cooperative relatives. When Merlyn gets to know the Cantelos, he finds them to be a repellant bunch. However, he needs to stick around long enough to prove that he is indeed Merlyn and to claim his rightful inheritance.
Most of this book consists of long-winded conversations between Merlyn and his family, the police, and people who knew the Cantelos over the years. In addition, Merlyn reminisces about his troubled childhood, and he does his own research into the Cantelo family history. Ultimately, he unearths an explosive secret that his family has been taking great pains to hide for many years. All of this adds up to an intermittently engrossing, but rather tame, novel, in which the author tries to be funny and serious at the same time. Barnard's story does provide valuable insight into the stresses that can tear families apart, and there are some genuinely funny moments here and there. However, the "The Graveyard Position" lacks the suspense and the satirical bite that has made Barnard so effective in the past.
-- Debra Hamel
Upon his aunt's death, he returns. Some of the family are sceptical of his identity, but he quickly establishes his bona fides by means of DNA testing. In fact, later in the book, DNA testing becomes a quick fix to the solution of an attempted murder. As a plot twist, "never mind there's no proof or witnesses, a DNA test will prove you're guilty" is a little facile.
Much is made of the fact that Aunt Clarissa is a clairvoyant, but it doesn't really fit into the plot in any meaningful way. Also, the idea that the personalities of an entire family would be warped by a competition among the kids for allowance money is a little strange. It seems all kinds of behavior might result from that, not just that they are all competitive with each other.
In sum, pretty superficial.