A Piece of Justice: An Imogen Quy Mystery Paperback – Jul 15 1995
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From Publishers Weekly
Brisk and neatly plotted, the second Imogen Quy mystery (after The Wyndham Case) relies heavily on the skills of its engaging amateur sleuth, school nurse at St. Agatha's College, Cambridge. Imogen's lodger, graduate student Frances Bullion, has just undertaken to ghostwrite a study of Gideon Summerfield, a relatively obscure mathematician. Always kind, loyal and compassionate (but relentlessly nosy), Imogen agrees to help and soon discovers that the three previous Summerfield biographers are all either missing or dead. Summerfield's vituperative widow hounds Frances and demands the return of her husband's papers, and Imogen is threatened by thugs. What could a bookish mathematician have in his background to inspire such malevolence? Imogen checks with her well-placed contacts (a local detective and the wife of St. Agatha's director of studies) and eventually goes off on a horrific but edifying trip to Wales. A warm circle of friends in a quilting group inadvertently provides some clues to a mystery as intricate and finely constructed as one of the hand-sewn quilts so central to the story.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Imogen Quy (rhymes with "why" ) returns after successfully solving The Wyndham Case (1993) for her employer, St. Agatha's College, Cambridge University, where she works as the college nurse. Like the first in the series, this rather gentle story is ever so cozy--murders, yes, but no obvious blood, gore, or violence. Imogen's tenant/friend Fran, a struggling graduate student, gets an unexpected windfall by way of her adviser, who turns over to her the job of writing a biography of a deceased mathematician, formerly of St. Agatha's. All rather boring, if truth be told, since the deceased led a seemingly uninteresting life--except for the fact that, of the three other people who have tried to write his biography, two have disappeared and one is dead. A clever plot and the likable Imogen are the main features here, along with Walsh's rather good send-up of academicians and their pretensions. An excellent mystery in the very English tradition. Stuart Miller --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
- Sir Thomas Browne, _Religio Medici_, part I, section 38 (one of Lord Peter Wimsey's favourite books)
After reading _Thrones, Dominations_ and learning that she was continuing Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey stories in _A Presumption of Death_, I was curious to see what Walsh's writing is like taken alone, free of my existing opinions about Lord Peter. _A Piece of Justice_ is Walsh's second Imogen Quy (rhymes with 'why') mystery, thus also serving as an independent check on Walsh's handling of series characters.
Starting on the library's copy one weekend afternoon, I set it aside somewhere about chapter 12 - because I only had about an hour to get back there and check out _The Wyndham Case_ before I'd miss my chance for another week. :) The books can be read out of order without missing anything crucial to understanding the characters in _A Piece of Justice_ or spoiling _The Wyndham Case_.
What impresses me most about Walsh's writing in the Quy books is that nothing goes to waste - the writing is watertight. Anything that happens serves to provide clues or illuminate character - and just as the reader might dismiss an incident as only one or the other, Walsh may turn the tables.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
- Sir Thomas Browne, RELIGIO MEDICI, part I, section 38 (one of Lord Peter Wimsey's favourite books)
After reading THRONES, DOMINATIONS and learning that she was continuing Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey stories in A PRESUMPTION OF DEATH, I was curious to see what Walsh's writing is like taken alone, free of my existing opinions about Lord Peter. A PIECE OF JUSTICE is Walsh's second Imogen Quy (rhymes with 'why') mystery, thus also serving as an independent check on Walsh's handling of series characters.
Starting on the library's copy one weekend afternoon, I set it aside somewhere about chapter 12 - because I only had about an hour to get back there and check out THE WYNDHAM CASE before I'd miss my chance for another week. :) The books can be read out of order without missing anything crucial to understanding the characters in A PIECE OF JUSTICE or spoiling THE WYNDHAM CASE.
What impresses me most about Walsh's writing in the Quy books is that nothing goes to waste - the writing is watertight. Anything that happens serves to provide clues or illuminate character - and just as the reader might dismiss an incident as only one or the other, Walsh may turn the tables. As a consequence of this storytelling style, on the other hand, the landscape is *not* littered with standard red-herring tools such as characters who exist only to divert reader suspicion from the real culprit(s) - like the extra 2 or 3 board members of a firm hiring Nero Wolfe, or the non-entity sibling who's quietly pruned from the cast list in a BBC adaptation of a Marple novel. The lack of clutter strengthens the story, although it entails working without a safety net in terms of misdirection on the puzzle side. As I favour story over puzzle aspects in mysteries, that doesn't bother me.
Imogen works part-time as school nurse at St. Agatha's College, Cambridge. As a member of the Newnham Quilter's Club, her inquisitive mind turns naturally to the love of patterns that run across the entire surface of a finished work - she is, of course, among the few who love designing the quilts the group works on, rather than just following through a pattern laid down by others. (Throughout JUSTICE, Walsh provides a recurring pattern herself, concerning traditional activities that may entail little formal recognition, but are vital to well-being or comfort: crafts rather than arts.)
When Imogen's favourite lodger - Fran, a starving grad student - lands ghost-writing work from Professor Maverack, her advisor (in Cambridge-speak, he's supervising her), on a biography of the late Gideon Summerfield, Imogen isn't happy with the patterns that emerge from the research Fran has been handed. Just how many researchers have been handling this material - and what happened to them?
Janet Summerfield, the widow, craves acclaim for Gideon; she *wants* the biography to be written, and provided much of the raw data. She's eager to talk about him - but why is she so hostile when biographers want to talk to *her*?
And frankly, who other than Mrs. Summerfield would care about "the great Gideon's" life, posthumous Waymark prize in mathematics notwithstanding? Maverack didn't want to write the biography himself because Summerfield seemed boring - so he says - and the publishers insisted on using his name for fear the book wouldn't make money otherwise.