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ROUGH CIDER
by Peter Lovesey
Soho Press, April 2001
206 pages
$13.00
ISBN: 1569472289


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

In 1944, in a public house somewhere in Somerset, England, an ordinary act, something that happens a hundred times a day, takes place. A man orders a mug of the local cider. But when he drinks it, it tastes off. The owner samples the brew and agrees. From that simple humdrum sequence, terrible things devolve. For when the keg is emptied, what's found is shocking to the core. In the bottom of the barrel is a skull, a human skull with a bullet hole in it.

Now skip ahead twenty years to a university lecturer, Dr. Theo Sinclair, moving pleasantly through a rather routine existence. Into his life comes Alice, a young American, daughter of the service man convicted of putting that bullet hole into the head found in the cider barrel. For Dr. Sinclair, it is a seminal moment in his life.

Peter Lovesey demonstrates a fine mysterious touch in the book, taking us down one twisty garden path after another. The author's sense of rhythm, of pace and of unusual and distinct characters all work together to put the reader completely in place so that we even experience the weather, the crackling of fire, the rain and the mud.

There are many surprises in the novel and Lovesey is adept at keeping the pressure on while fairly revealing fact after fact until the crimes are cleverly dealt with. An excellent, most enjoyable read.

Note: This review is based on the 1986 edition published by Mysterious Press which is now out of print.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, March 2003

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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