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An Air That Kills (Lydmouth, #1)
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An Air That Kills (Lydmouth #1)

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  212 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
From the prize-winning author of Richard and Judy Book Club novel, The American Boy, this is the first in the acclaimed Lydmouth crime series, set on the Welsh/English border in the confusing years after the Second World War.
Paperback, 373 pages
Published February 2nd 1995 by Not Avail (first published November 17th 1994)
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Jan 03, 2010 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: British mystery lovers, or really any mystery fans
Recommended to Laura by: Fiona Quinn
Shelves: xx-2010-xx
I'm so glad this was my first read book in 2010! Way to start out the year.

If you like a British mystery with an old-time feel, written by a man who knows how to write(!), then you've found a great new series. I almost checked my "classics" shelf when I logged this one in, because in many ways it feels like a classic.

Andrew Taylor makes his characters real in a masterful sense. Fiona, who has been pushing all manner of Andrew Taylor novels on me for some time, says "He gets you to know these ch
First Sentence: November is the month of the dead.

Both journalist Jill Francis and Inspector Richard Thornhill are new to Lydmouth and both have issues in their lives. Richard is trying to become accustomed to the ways of the small town and Jill is staying with her friend, Phillip, and his wealthy, and rather imperious wife, Charlotte.

During the clearing of an old property, an old wooden box is found containing a tarnished silver brooch and a baby’s bones. They go to the town historian, who poi
Jan 26, 2009 Fiona rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who like crime/mystery books
I've been wanting to read this book for a long time. Andrew Taylor is one of my favourite authors of all time. He is a natural story teller who can create just the right atmosphere for the time and setting.

An Air That Kills is the first in the Lydmouth series. Unlike most other crime/mystery novels Lydmouth isn't the name of the detective, it is actually the name of the town the novels are set in. Lydmouth is a fictional town situated between England and Wales, during the 1950's. The backdrop is
Apr 07, 2009 Rhonda rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book immensely, not only because it feeds my need for mystery murder thrillers, but mostly because it was English and that made it fun. I actually admired the people who were always smoking something, the incredibly damp wet weather and the bitter beer. It brought back memories of Dunhills in my purse and then later, the John Player Specials, which I thought quite exotic. I even drove a black and gold British sports car briefly before trading it for a slightly more dependable silv ...more
Kirsty Darbyshire

This wasn't as deep the two volumes of the Roth Trilogy that I've read so far but I did think it was a really interesting introduction to what I hope I'll find to be an engaging series. As well as enjoying previous books by the author I was attracted to this series by the titles: they are all quotes from AE Housman's poems A Shropshire Lad and are set in the imaginary town of Lydmouth on the border of Shropshire and Wales in the 1950s. My mum's family are from Shropshire so that appeals to me, a

Jennifer (JC-S)
Apr 29, 2010 Jennifer (JC-S) rated it really liked it
‘They say November used to be called the month of the dead.’

**First: my thanks to Linda. Her review of this book led me to read it.**

Set in the 1950s in Lydmouth, an ancient market town on the border between England and Wales. Two newcomers to Lydmouth: Jill Francis and Detective Inspector Richard Thornhill become involved in investigating a mystery. Both, as becomes clear during the story, are caught up with issues in their own lives. Jill, recovering from an emotional experience of her own, is
Mar 11, 2010 Linda rated it really liked it
Lydmouth is small, postwar English town along the Welsh border, a place that has seen better days. Still, newly promoted CID Richard Thornhill eagerly accepted a position on the Lydmouth police force. But he and his family are having some problems adapting to their new home. Successful London journalist Jill Francis accepts an invitation from friends to stay with them in Lydmouth, while recovering from an emotional experience that only becomes clear as the story develops. Complicating Jill's rec ...more
Oct 28, 2011 JackieB rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, crime
This was quite slow moving for a crime novel, but I think it worked well. Andrew Taylor developed a convincing picture of a small town in England shortly after the Second World War. There was a sense that people were still struggling with the aftermath of the war but in some ways they were reluctant to move on and embrace the inevitable changes which would come in the 50s. This was woven into the mystery in a very clever way. Andrew Taylor also use the slower pace to develop the crime aspect mor ...more
Tammy Wooding
Aug 05, 2016 Tammy Wooding marked it as books-i-have

The first instalment in the acclaimed Lydmouth crime series, from the prize-winning author of the Richard and Judy Book Club novel, The American Boy. Workmen in the small market town of Lydmouth are demolishing an old cottage. A sledgehammer smashes into what looks like a solid wall. Instead, layers of wallpaper conceal the door of a locked cupboard which holds a box - and in the box is the skeleton of a young baby. Items within the box suggest that the baby was entombed early in the nineteenth

Feb 27, 2010 Heidi rated it really liked it
What can I say? I love Andrew Taylor. I love his writing, his characterization, his dry wit. No character is fully bad -- nor fully good. Just like in life. I look forward to devouring all the Lydmouth series and have them lined up from the library, like circling planes ready to land.

I have to say that his plot was one he semi-recycled in one of his later books and that I had a suspicion of what was coming near the end. But mostly it was the interplay between the characters that kept me eagerly
Mar 03, 2015 Kay rated it liked it
I'm of two minds about this book. On the one hand, it's set in post-war England, a period I find quite interesting, and the prose is excellent; on the other hand, the characters--especially DI Thornhill--are self-absorbed and hard to connect with. The Lydmouth novels were apparently filmed by the BBC, so I will probably try the next installment.
Jan 03, 2016 Sandra rated it really liked it
Taylor's ability to subtly draw the reader immediately into the world of 1950s (or thereabouts) Lydmouth is impressive, as is his ability to make you care about his characters.
The very English quality, manners and a gentleness, is partly due to the time period but also the writing, and if I say it is a relaxing read it is not meant to be in any way denigratory.
Jul 16, 2010 Windy rated it really liked it
A crime thriller set in a village in the 1950s. Rather than the usual whodunnit, in this story we know who is responsible for most of the crimes but there is a historical mystery to solve which resonates to the present day story. Great characters and beautiful, descriptive writing. Looking forward to the rest of the series.
Nov 20, 2011 Jenn rated it really liked it
The last book I tried to read by this author, I gave up on. This one was much better. Multiple murders, various burglaries within a small community that has a new head of police. There was an interesting character development that does lead me to want to look for the next in the series. And to potentially dig up the one I couldn't finish to see if it would get any better.
Oct 21, 2011 Deb rated it liked it
British Village Mystery on the border of Wales takes place right after WWII. Inspector new to the area; journalist new to the area. A construction site uncovers a box w/a baby's bones in it. The two investigate from different points of view and discover the secrets of the village. They find the murderer of course! good mystery.
Sep 26, 2014 Alice rated it really liked it
There's a slowness to these books in the Lydmouth series that is totally appropriate for the post-WWII setting. Very skillfully done. At first, I wasn't convinced, but I'm now enjoying the whole series. Hard to believe it was written so relatively recently.
Denis Kaufman
Jun 23, 2008 Denis Kaufman rated it really liked it
One of the earliest (if not the first) of the Lydmouth series. Introduces Richard Thornhill and Jill Francis, along with Lydmouth.
Petra Willemse
Jul 03, 2016 Petra Willemse rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries, series
A solid traditional British mystery, set just after the war that gives you the sense that change is on the horizon. I enjoyed having a female non-police perspective on events as a counterpoint.
Sep 04, 2011 Brooks rated it really liked it
First in the Lydmouth series. Lots of unfinished business & characters to be developed. Atmospheric 1950's setting. Enjoyable read.
Mar 06, 2013 Allison rated it it was amazing
Andrew Taylor is one of my favorite authors. Really well written and sort of a backwards plot from most mysteries.
Dale rated it it was amazing
Aug 18, 2011
Dorte rated it really liked it
Apr 07, 2010
Suzanne rated it really liked it
Jun 29, 2009
Norris Battin
Norris Battin rated it it was amazing
Mar 10, 2009
Elizabeth Gilliver
Elizabeth Gilliver rated it did not like it
May 28, 2016
Dr Philip J Lewis
Dr Philip J Lewis rated it it was amazing
Dec 06, 2016
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Aug 01, 2016
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Feb 20, 2010
Jean rated it really liked it
Jan 20, 2017
Iris Gernhuber
Iris Gernhuber rated it liked it
Jan 21, 2013
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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

Lydmouth (8 books)
  • The Mortal Sickness (Lydmouth, #2)
  • The Lover of the Grave (Lydmouth, #3)
  • The Suffocating Night (Lydmouth, #4)
  • Where Roses Fade (Lydmouth, #5)
  • Death's Own Door (Lydmouth, #6)
  • Call the Dying (Lydmouth, #7)
  • Naked to the Hangman (Lydmouth, #8)

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