THE DEAN IT WAS THAT DIED by Barbara Whitehead


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 Even York and its breathtaking cathedral can't resuscitate the feeble plot here, which opens with Dean Henry Parsifal harassing a dog-walker, annoying an antiques dealer, arguing with the church nabobs, and intimidating the choirmaster just before Parsifal is felled by a bit of lurching church masonry. But Canon Grindal, noting Parsifal's similarity to the balding, paunchy, limping Canon Ogelthorpe, wonders whether death struck the wrong man. A cache of IRA material, a pop singer's appearance in York, and the transfer of a noted rebel for the cause of a free Ireland further fuel Grindal's suspicions, especially when he learns that Ogelthorpe's former prison work makes him one of the few who can recognize a marauding terrorist. While Detective Inspector Smart and CID Inspector Southwell (Playing God, The Girl with Red Suspenders) hover at the plot's fringe, Grindal wrests confessions and explanations from the guilty, then joins the choir for evening service. Evincing little of the author's usual sensitivity or insights, and even lacking the descriptive power to depict York in all its compelling glory. A tired third endeavor.

Pub Date: Dec. 19th, 1991
ISBN: 0-312-06333-4
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1991