What better victim in a Robert Barnard novel than the literary poseur? And what better place to find such a person than in a society set up to honor the dubious talents of Susannah and Joshua Sneddon? Not quite in the league of the Brontes, Susannah and Joshua toiled at their creative tasks in a remote cottage in a tiny Yorkshire village in the early years of this century. Neither wrote great literature, but Susannah's work was always the more popular. Perhaps that's why Joshua one day killed his sister with an ax and shot himself in the head. Now, many years later, there's a surprising new interest in the Sneddons, seemingly inspired by entrepreneur Gerald Suzman. Suzman has bought the Sneddon homestead, with plans to open it as a museum and to found a literary society known as the Sneddon Fellowship. Sneddon fans from as far away as America, Norway, and Japan have gathered at Suzman's invitation for the inaugural Sneddon Weekend. Detective Constable Charlie Peace has come, too, intrigued by Suzman's sudden literary interest in the obscure Yorkshire siblings. Suzman's history indicates a far greater affinity for wealth than for literature, so he must have discovered an unlikely source of profit in the Fellowship. But where? Charlie fears that elderly American Lettie Farraday may know too much for her own good. Lettie, who has returned to the village of her birth for the first time in more than fifty years, is the only conferee who personally knew the Sneddons. Too much knowledge may be dangerous. To read a new Robert Barnard novel is to appreciate once again the extraordinary range and depth of one of the greatest of contemporary crime writers. A Hovering of Vultures is vintage Barnard from a writer at the peak of his powers.
Back to top