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The Four Last Things (Roth, #1)
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The Four Last Things (Roth #1)

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  519 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
Angel, the perfect childminder, preys on young children. But everything starts to slip out of control when Angel steals her latest victim, Lucy Appleyard. Having massacred the innocents over the years, she now wants someone to know about it.
Paperback, 402 pages
Published February 5th 2001 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1997)
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(showing 1-30)
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25/9 - I love it when people (in books or tv, I've never actually heard it said in RL) use the phrase "Is that the time? I must dash." or words to that effect. It always brings me back to Fawlty Towers, I can't remember exactly which episode it's from but reading it always makes me laugh. To be continued...

26/9 - On page 89,

Clutching the box of paper handkerchiefs...".

Hasn't, like, the whole world been calling them tissues for some time now? That's a very odd way of putting it. *Shakes head in c
Doug Beatty
Aug 31, 2009 Doug Beatty rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
I would be hard pressed to call this a mystery, although there is a crime. But, as you are also following the persons who committed the crime, it falls more into the genre of crime thriller.

This is the first in Andrew Taylor's Roth Trilogy, centering around a London suburb called Roth. In it we meed the Appleyards, and their four year old daughter Lucy. When Lucy is snatched from the home of the woman who watches her during the day, the race is on to hopefully get her back.

You also meet the du
Michael Robotham
Jun 28, 2015 Michael Robotham rated it really liked it
Andrew Taylor is such an effortless writer. I envy his ability to capture place and atmosphere. Looking forward to Part 2 of the trilogy.
Feb 17, 2010 Laura rated it really liked it
Recommended to Laura by: Heidi
Shelves: audiobook, mystery
"Evil causes led to evil effects, which themselves became causes of further evil. Could you ever hope to end the consequences, or would they stretch through the centuries from past and future?"
~ Andrew Taylor, The Judgement of Strangers

In the three books that make up The Roth Trilogy, Andrew Taylor has set out to write a series of inter-related mysteries occurring over several decades of the twentieth century. What makes Taylor's books so unusual - and so interesting - is that he does it "backwa
May 04, 2011 Jj rated it it was amazing
I have never read anything by Andrew Taylor, so I was very excited to dive in to his book. He has a great style of writing. I want say it is as scary and thrilling as I imagine. But it was a good read. It was sad how it ended. So I didn't really care to much for the ending. I thought it should end a lot differently. ( But don't all us readers do lol.)

I also enjoyed how Andrew Taylor took the title and tied it so perfectly in the story. I enjoyed how the title was what made up the middle to the e
I was blown away by this book, and this author. It's as if you crossed Margaret Drabble or Iris Murdoch with a commercial detective writer. The subject is difficult (child kidnapping/abuse) but the author spins such a mezmerizing tale, and the characters are so real (including, believe it or not, one of the kidnappers) that I was in awe. Apparently, Taylor has written many other mysteries, including some historical ones, and I have already ordered several. BTW, this book is the first of a trilog ...more
Feb 07, 2010 Anita rated it it was ok
OK, it's not really fair for me to review this since I didn't really read it. I only started it, then skipped to the end - something I RARELY do. Even my usual speed reading was just not fast enough for me. As a mom, I just cannot read books now about children being kidnapped and having to live through the reactions of the parents and all that. If a book's written REALLY well, then I can force myself through it, but sadly, this book lost me in the beginning with all the anti-working women talk ( ...more
May 09, 2009 Leslie rated it really liked it
How have I missed Andrew Taylor? Taylor's first - part of a trilogy which can be read in any order, according to the author) - is a short sharp shock of a mystery. Not a police procedural, despite a main character's being in the London police, it relies more on the experience of several of the characters within the Anglican church. Indeed, the protagonist, Sally Appleyard, is a curate, and we experience her crisis of faith with her as she copes with her daughter's kidnapping. Told from Sally's p ...more
Kirsty Darbyshire
The first part of a trilogy that has me wondering where the last two parts will go. I know from the introduction to this book that they go backwards in time and to other places and there are plenty of hints to the characters pasts in this book that I'm looking forward to filling in with details.

This is a story about the abduction of four year old Lucy Appleyard, the daughter of Michael, a police detective, and Sally, a Church of England deacon. The fact that the main mystery is solved but the th
I don't usually read this genre and now I know why! It was a book club choice so I saw it through. I was on the edge of my seat towards the end of the book but I did guess the ending. I'm not sure if I will read the other two books in the trilogy. Although thinking about it I may not be able to help myself! It was well written and a page turner - I just didn't like the whole child abduction thing. I did enjoy The American Boy so it hasn't put me off Andrew Taylor.
Jeremy Good
Jan 18, 2012 Jeremy Good rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 26, 2013 Majanka rated it it was amazing
Book review originally published here:

I have contradictory feelings toward this book. On the one hand, I enjoyed it, especially the passages where we could get into Eddie’s mind. Eddie is a disturbed individual, but the woman he lives with, Angel, who manipulates him and everyone around her, is a lot worse. It’s basically like getting to choose between two evils. I liked the set-up of that, although some passages made me want to throw up. Either way, plot
Feb 24, 2010 Elaine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I never read mysteries and almost never read stories of children abducted by fictional psychopaths. Why did I read this one? I snagged an Early Reviewer's copy of Taylor's Bleeding Heart Square a year ago, and surprisingly found it to be a good read even it it was a mystery. The character development was excellent. The writing was at least up one step from competent, and I read it through without stopping. So, looking for some easy reading to while away lazy summer afternoons, I bought this and ...more
Costea Constantin
Aug 14, 2016 Costea Constantin rated it it was amazing
Micuţa Lucy Appleyard este răpită de la îngrijitoarea sa într-o după-amiază rece de iarnă, iar coşmarul începe. Este ca şi cum copilul ar fi dispărut într-o gaură neagră fără a lăsa indicii unde s-ar fi aflat - până când se face prima descoperire înfiorătoare într-un cimitir din Londra. Urmează mai multe descoperiri de acest fel, toate în locuri cu însemnătate religioasă. Într-un oraş bântuit de religie, ce înseamnă toate aceste ofrande? Tot ceea ce se află acum între Lucy şi sacrificiul final s ...more
Dec 04, 2009 Linda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-crime
Over the past year, Andrew Taylor has become a favorite author of mine, for the tautness of his plots, the pithy nature of his prose, and most importantly, for his ability to first develop his central characters and then to commingle their fates. To accomplish this in one novel is remarkable. To do so in a series such as the Roth Trilogy is exceptional, and it is not hyperbole to say that his novels transcend genre. Taylor has mastered the art of building atmosphere and tension, revealing bits a ...more
Martine Bailey
Mar 13, 2014 Martine Bailey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classic-crime
This has to be my best read of 2014 so far. Beautifully creepy, always lucid, painfully suspenseful. As a mystery writer myself I found myself looking back at certain agonizing passages and thinking - how did he do that? Yes, the reader begins this book full of trepidation because there is about to be a child abduction but in Taylor's hands the event becomes something much more character-driven and psychologically perceptive.
I am just now rewarding myself with the second part of the trilogy, Th
Feb 23, 2013 Estibaliz79 rated it really liked it
4 1/2 para esta novela que trata sobre lo que pasa cuando lo malo se junta con lo peor... a tal punto que lo malo parece menos malo, y lo peor, aún peor. Una historia negra, oscura, de una crueldad fascinante, que te atrapa y horroriza sin remedio.
Interesante primera parte de una 'Trilogía de Roth'de planteamiento aún más interesante. El propio autor puntualiza en una final que los tres títulos están interconectados, pero se pueden leer de forma independiente, y además parece que la narración de
L-J Johnson
It appeared this novel was going to be about how a married couple - a clergywoman and a cop - deal with the most horrible tragedy possible. However, it introduced too many characters - the ranting woman in the church, the husband's godfather, the bishop - and made them seem significant, then gave them inexplicable things to do and no closure. This is one of three books involving the same families and geographical location over several generations, so perhaps Taylor was setting up things that wou ...more
Ant Harrison
May 03, 2013 Ant Harrison rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
This is certainly up to Andrew Taylor’s usual high standard, really atmospheric writing, once again reinforcing my experience of being transported to the time and place he has imagined. The characters are believable, even the children, and the odd mix of personal backgrounds of the main protagonists makes for an original take on the generally over-hyped ‘abducted child’ theme. This is part one of his Roth Trilogy, so I’d suggest starting here, although it’s good as a stand-alone novel.

© Koplowit
Jul 29, 2013 Sandra rated it it was ok
The main reason I discard books before the end is because they're badly written, which cannot be said about anything Andrew Taylor writes (though it felt more than a little pedestrian here; old-fashioned). But I could not get engaged in this one - too much religion, too much inaccurately-drawn four-year-old; an over-apathetic husband, over-self-analytical mother and (unsurprisingly) extremely dislikeable villains. But I read to the end, and the writing earns this two rather than one star
Thomas Strömquist
I read the parts of the 'Roth'-trilogy very spaced out in time and probably not in order either. Still, I enjoyed them a lot, not least thanks to Taylor's very good writing. I have an unshakeable feeling of that read back-to-back would improve the experience further and I will try to make time for doing just that soon.
Apr 14, 2010 Johanna rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
I completely agree with Anita's review. I skimmed this book - something I rarely do. I found the subject interesting, but I have a hard time with children being kidnapped. Too traumatizing. I also felt this was pretty anti- working moms, which I have a problem with. It felt more than a little misogynistic.
Deborah Pickstone
3 1/2 stars

Some very good things about this book - interesting imagery, thriller without being gratuitously gory (I hate thriller/horror as a genre, usually; I can't abide cruelty). Unexpected plot twists. But. BUT I found the main characters (the parents) irritating and silly. Readable with bonus good bits!
Mar 25, 2011 Nancy rated it really liked it
Liked it so much am going to read the rest of the Roth Trilogy. What makes a serial killer? Is it in the blood, or is it a developed trait? This was a horrifying story of children being kidnapped...for reasons only known to a psychotic personality...the killer. This book stands alone or can be read in conjunction with the rest of the trilogy.
Aug 30, 2009 Tracy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Robert
To all those people who said, "I can't believe I'd never read Andrew Taylor before," I agree, I can't believe I hadn't, either. And now I am so glad I have. This first one had me so intrigued that I knew I had to continue and read the other two. What led Angel to become such a freak? Why is Uncle David such a jerk? I have to know...
Jul 14, 2012 Catie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i was really surprised that i liked this book. when i picked it up at the library it sounded but i thought i would get it anyways because i really needed something to read. i couldn't put it down. a good book and an easy read
Ruth Innes
Jul 02, 2014 Ruth Innes rated it really liked it
First in a trilogy. A curate and policeman's daughter is abducted. An exploration of marriage under stress, and a glimpse into the minds of the criminals. Interesting observations of church characters.
Aug 25, 2011 Carolyn rated it really liked it
Very interesting English mystery, my first introduction to enlish phrases and dialect. Starting on book #2 of the trilogy today. Like the way the characters are interwoven throughout the years. A good thrilling read.
First published book in the Roth Trilogy (though the third chronologically). A female Anglican curate and her policeman husband are rocked by the kidnapping of their daughter. Lots of church politics and theology.
Sep 15, 2011 Eileen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good suspenseful page-turner, the first book in a trilogy that goes backward in time somehow - I will probably read the other two just to satisfy my curiosity about how the reverse timeline actually plays out.
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Andrew Taylor (b. 1951) is a British author of mysteries. Born in East Anglia, he attended university at Cambridge before getting an MA in library sciences from University College London. His first novel, Caroline Miniscule (1982), a modern-day treasure hunt starring history student William Dougal, began an eight-book series and won Taylor wide critical acclaim. He has written several other thrill ...more
More about Andrew Taylor...

Other Books in the Series

Roth (3 books)
  • The Judgement of Strangers (Roth, #2)
  • The Office of the Dead (Roth, #3)

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“The grief of children was unconditional, fueled by the implicit belief that it would last forever; for a child, grief was not grief unless it was eternal.” 3 likes
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