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The Black Seraphim

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  36 ratings  ·  7 reviews
James Scotland, a young pathologist, has come to Melchester on a much-needed vacation. But amid the cathedral town's quiet medieval atmosphere, he finds a hornet's nest of church politics, town and country rivalries. . . and murder. When one of the community's most influential figures dies suddenly (and very publicly), Scotland uncovers some curious alliances among church, ...more
Paperback, 216 pages
Published February 5th 1985 by Penguin Books (first published 1984)
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THE BLACK SERAPHIM. (1984). Michael Gilbert. ****.
One of my favorite authors, Michael Gilbert has here woven a mystery tale around the goings-on among the cathedral community in a southern English town. James Scotland is in this small town in an attempt to treat his job burn-out. His section chief in London ordered that he take this rest cure for a month or so to get out from under his heavy work load and cure him of his battle fatigue. He becomes involved with the society that exists around the
Lukasz Pruski
About 40-45 years ago I used to read a lot of British mystery classics. I found them well written albeit not particularly interesting, with notable exceptions, such as, for example, Anthony Berkeley's "Trial and Error", Peter Dickinson's "A Pride of Heroes" or Josephine Tey's "Brat Farrar". I have been curious how my literary tastes changed in almost half a century.

Michael Gilbert is mainly famous for his "Smallbone Deceased", but I chose "The Black Seraphim" to begin the rediscovery of the "cla
James Scotland, a young pathologist, has been overworking himself and goes to visit a friend in a quiet cathedral town. But the town is in the middle of a heated battle within the cathedral and against the town as well. The dean and the archdeacon are the two opposing forces, and when the archdeacon becomes ill at a large luncheon, not too many folks are sad to learn of his death. But Scotland is not content to ascribe the death to natural causes. It must have been murder; and it will take his s ...more
Mary Kay
This was an elegant, well-written, classically British mystery. Set in and around a Cathedral close, and populated with highly individual characters, it is a fine read that holds the reader's interest. It first appeared in 1984 but remains rewarding. I'll be seeking out more books by this author.
Doctor James Scotland, a young pathologist, needs a month's rest, and picks the cathedral city of Melchester, where he has friends. He's soon aware of the conflict among the Dean of the cathedral, the archdeacon, and some of the local business interests, which want to buy some cathedral land for industrial expansion and housing. The dean is an uncomfortable character, but James feels differently about the dean's daughter Amanda. Charming characters and situation.
I adore cathedral-close mysteries, and this is a fine one. Harsher than Close Quarters, Mr. Gilbert's other cathedral murder story, but still very funny at times and well worth reading.
A classic English mystery set in a Cathedral Close
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Born in Lincolnshire in 1912, Michael Francis Gilbert was educated in Sussex before entering the University of London where he gained an LLB with honours in 1937. Gilbert was a founding member of the British Crime Writers Association, and in 1988 he was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America - an achievement many thought long overdue. He won the Life Achievement Anthony Award at th ...more
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