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The Office of the Dead (Roth #3)

3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  271 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Janet Byfield has everything Wendy Appleyard lacks: she's beautiful; she has a handsome husband, a clergyman on the verge of promotion; and most of all she has an adorable little daughter, Rosie. So when Wendy's life falls apart, it's to her oldest friend, Janet, that she turns.

At first it seems to Wendy asa though nothing can touch the Byfields' perfect existence in 1950s
Paperback, 420 pages
Published 2000 by HarperCollins (first published August 11th 1999)
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Oct 04, 2014 Gail rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
Where have I been? Why haven't I heard of Andrew Taylor and his fantastic books before? Well I have now rectified that and will make my way through the others.

I was thoroughly and totally engrossed in this trilogy and even after I turned the last page of the final book, I couldn't stop thinking about it. It is written 'back to front' and initially I had to keep referring back to the previous book to underline what has been written about a particular character.

The first book starts in the 1990's
This was a book that took some digesting as it was the last of a trilogy which goes backward in time. First book, the actions of a child abductor/murderer (female). In the second book, twenty years before the first, the events surrounding said murderer as a teenage girl; in the third, this one, the seminal events shaping the murderer, at age 4. I think Andrew Taylor is a fantastic writer and thinker -- he writes "mere" mysteries but they're wonderfully psychologically complex, and at the same ti ...more
Kathleen Hagen
Office of the Dead, by Andrew Taylor. A. This is the last of the Roth Trilogy. Downloaded from
This is one of these series where the last book is written first, and you go back progressively to earlier generations or layers with each book. The only thing I dislike about this is that if you read the series with too much time in between the books, you can’t keep it in perspective. Now that I’ve read all three, and have Office of the Dead fresh in mind, I think I’ll reread The Judgment
Jan 02, 2010 Linda rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-crime
he Office of the Dead is the third volume in Taylor’s Roth Trilogy, in which his readers come to understand how a little girl evolved into a serial killer. Wendy Appleyard leaves her husband after discovering his infidelity, and, not knowing where to turn, takes refuge with her friend Janet Byfield, now married to a handsome, up and coming C of E clergyman. The Byfields are pleased to welcome Wendy, who can assist Janet in the running of her household, which encompasses their daughter Rosie and ...more
Martine Bailey
Oct 04, 2014 Martine Bailey rated it really liked it
The final part to this gothic trilogy is superb, even as a stand-alone book, set in the beautifully rendered milieu of an English Cathedral Close. There is so much that is well observed here - of genteel poverty, of personalities mutated by religion and reverence, of blindness to tragedies unfolding in the family home. Written in stylish prose, this concluding novel moves back in time to look at how 'Angel' evolved into a murderer. Only because parts one and two were so riveting, I'd have to say ...more
Rachael Ramsey
Aug 08, 2015 Rachael Ramsey rated it really liked it
I can't believe I've never heard of this author. This booked sucked me in and I finished it within 3days.
Kathleen Kuhn
The first two books in the series were much better, but the book was still good. I felt like the book was too predictable, especially since the books go backwards in a sense. As always though, the book picked up in the end, and ended pretty well.
Aug 08, 2016 Rosemary rated it it was amazing

I wish there was a Roth Trilogy Group for those of us that love this series.
Sep 17, 2009 Tracy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Robert
I read this one "out of order" - meaning I read it after reading "The Four Last Things." I think that's okay, though. I saw the tie-ins to "TFLT" and can't wait to read "The Judgement of Others" to complete the circle. Rosie just creeped me out and I could feel her evil growing. Looking forward to reading about the middle years in the second installment...
Kirsty Darbyshire
Feb 01, 2011 Kirsty Darbyshire rated it it was amazing
The third volume of the Roth trilogy was also the best but that might have something to do with the build up to it. I'm really very impressed with this threesome. As a whole it's unlikely to get beaten as my 'best book of 2003' - it's published in one volume now so I think I can get away with that.
Aug 31, 2012 Jj rated it it was ok
Shelves: august-book-list
from start to finish this book was not as good. As the first three books. It was long and drawn out. It was really hard to even finish. But when I read the other two books it was great. And I enjoyed it a lot. But sorry Mr. Taylor just very hard to read.
May 21, 2011 Nancy rated it liked it
Recommended to Nancy by: series book
Not as good as the previous two books in the series, but still very readable. Maybe I was getting tired of the whole mystery angle. Some of the revelations were surprising, others mundane. The ending was a little disappointing.
Nina Chachu
Apr 03, 2012 Nina Chachu rated it liked it
I am not sure what I expected when I started reading this novel; more of a thriller/suspense novel perhaps? But I enjoyed it nonetheless, despite some slightly slower passages.
Aug 27, 2013 Oliver rated it really liked it
An eerie conclusion to the Roth trilogy. A good case made for either close reading of poetry, or just skipping it altogether.
May 13, 2011 Ryan rated it really liked it
Interesting, a book trilogy that starts at the end and ends at the begining of the story,
Jan 02, 2011 Cindy rated it liked it
Ok way to kill time.
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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 Four Last Things (Roth, #1)
  • The Judgement of Strangers (Roth, #2)

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“Time doesn't heal, it just gives you other things to think about.” 7 likes
“We distract ourselves with details. It's a way of coping.” 2 likes
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