Andrew Taylor, Author, Book review, crime/thriller, England, Fiction, Harper Collins, Publisher, Setting

‘Requiem for an Angel’ by Andrew Taylor


Fiction – paperback; Harper Collins; 924 pages; 2002.

Requiem for an Angel by Andrew Taylor  is without a doubt the best book — or series of books — I have read in a long time. This omnibus, also known as the Roth Trilogy, is a finely crafted but deeply disturbing story spanning 40 years.

Each of the three novels — The Last Four Things, The Judgement of Strangers and  The Office of the Dead — is a separate story in its own right, but taken as a whole the force of their impact is more shocking and horrifying than one could imagine. Because they go back in time, not forwards, the reader comes across clues and discovers secrets which strip away the layers of the past to reveal the roots of an unspeakable evil.

Taylor cleverly interweaves characters, places and story lines across all three books, which lends further impact and depth to the trilogy.

This is a very fine achievement indeed.

Andrew Taylor, Author, Book review, crime/thriller, England, Fiction, Hodder, Publisher, Setting

‘An Air That Kills’ by Andrew Taylor


Fiction – paperback; Hodder; 266 pages; 1994.

The bones of a baby are discovered in a disused privy as workmen demolish an old inn in a small market town on the England/Wales border in the 1950s. Newly arrived Detective Inspector Thornhill is called in to investigate what appears to be an old Victorian murder case. But all is not what it seems in this fairly pedestrian murder mystery by Andrew Taylor.

The characterisation — a tarty barmaid, a busybody who owns the town’s newspaper, a cantankerous elderly resident, among others — is poor and the plot moves along slowly. It’s a bit like a badly written Agatha Christie novel.

And the ending, described on the back cover as “satisfyingly chilling” by The Times, is as predictable as they come. I found this a disappointing read given that I loved Taylor’s Roth Trilogy.