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The Circle (Inspector Henrietta Mallin, #1)
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The Circle (Inspector Henrietta Mallin #1)

3.53  ·  Rating Details  ·  352 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
A writer's circle in Chichester is delighted when a publisher agrees to address one of their meetings, but when that same publisher turns up dead they find themselves and their unpublished ambitions under close police scrutiny.
Paperback, 358 pages
Published February 1st 2006 by Time Warner Trade Publishing (first published June 1st 2005)
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First Sentence: The night of the first murder.

At the urging of his daughter, amateur poet Bob Naylor joins a local writers circle. At the previous meeting, the group was addressed by a vanity-press publisher who’d come to critique their work; some favorably, most not. The publisher is killed in an arson fire and Maurice, the group’s leader, becomes the prime suspect. Because Bob is new and not a suspect, he is recruited to prove Maurice’s innocence, almost losing his own life in the process. Be
Oct 04, 2010 Charly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
This was a really interesting mystery piece about a serial killer who has put a writer's circle in his/her sights for arson murders. I must admit I didn't have it until the very end. A clever and entertaining work with occasional touches of humor. for the most part a good mystery.
Deanna Against Censorship
I get a kick out of Lovesey's books, some more than others. Understated British mysteries with more emphasis on character development than plot movement or action. We have the suspects, members of a writing circle, who start investigating the murders. We have the police who are doing more than the writing circle believes. The characters don't trust each other. They are not trully friends, just members of the circle. The newcomer, Bob, keeps insistig he is not a member of the circle but he is ver ...more
Jill Meyer
May 07, 2016 Jill Meyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Police procedurals and mysteries are written with different plots, but maybe the most commonly used is the "someone-is-killed-and-the-suspects-are-part-of-a-group". And, of course, the book continues with more murders with the victim count rising and the suspect count going down. Finally, only a limited number of people are left to be murdered by a limited number of possible murderers!

That is the plot of British author Peter Lovesey's novel, "The Circle: A Hen Mallin Investigation". Mallin - who
Rachel K
Aug 07, 2014 Rachel K rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was disappointed in this book.
There were things that I liked about it, and I thought I'd finally found another good mystery writer in the old British style, but no. I guessed the identity of the killer relatively early on, just because it seemed like that's where things were headed. It certainly wasn't because the person's motive made any damn sense. I'd buy that that motive would be sufficient for the first murder, but not for the murder(s) committed to facilitate the prime murder, or even th
Sep 10, 2010 Pamela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know why it took me so long to find this author but I am a die hard fan and will be adding more of his books to my shelves.
Feb 07, 2015 Val rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story is based around a writing circle. Bob Naylor, a single dad, is encouraged by his teenage daughter to join the local writing circle. He finally goes along to a meeting and becomes embroiled in all their lives when the Chair of the group is wrongly accused of murder. For some reason the group want Bob to investigate. Everybody seems to have their own little secrets. The ending, as usual, has quite an unexpected twist.

I love this author. His books are set in the English countryside and h
Dec 21, 2015 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The circle is the the Chichester Writers' Circle and when a publisher who was a recent speaker at one of their meetings is murdered, they become a list of prime suspects. Many of them also take it upon themelves to become amateur detectives, forming a contrast to Inspector Henrietta Mallin’s more disciplined procedures. The plot is engaging and driven by the development the eccentric characters that make up the writer’s circle. Hen herself is interesting without the prickliness of Peter Diamond.
Anirban Das
Dec 12, 2014 Anirban Das rated it really liked it
The Circle by Peter Lovesey takes place in the town of Chichester, where Bob Naylor, a parcel delivery man and an amateur poet egged by his daughter decides to join the local writers circle. The day he decides to attend one of the meetings to see for himself whether he is good enough to join the other writers, the chair gets arrested on the charges of setting fire to the house and murdering a publisher who was due to publish the chairs upcoming book on unsolved real crimes, and was also the gues ...more
Jan 20, 2010 Wendell rated it it was ok
As a murder mystery, this is slight enough to blow away in a moderate wind, and its improbable murderer and even less probable motive don’t help. What makes it reasonably worthwhile for a rainy winter day is the derisive tone of the plot (occasionally a bit overdone) and the relentless pettiness of the novel's nasty crop of characters (all of it done in a terribly understated, veddy British sort of way that owes some debt to David Lodge). Lovesey’s obvious ambivalence about writers, a race whose ...more
May 20, 2010 Tony rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lovesey, Peter. THE CIRCLE. (2005). *****. Lovesey is a prolific writer of historic and modern-day detective novels that fall into the category of entertaining puzzlers in the Golden Age tradition. You know that you are in for a good read when you pick up one of his books. This novel features Inspector Henrietta Mallin on a case in Chichester. It seems that a group of writers, and wannabees, have formed the Chichester Writers’ Circle, and meet once a month to read their works in progress and hea ...more
Aug 09, 2012 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, reviewed
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 02, 2010 Tony rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I like a nice traditional British mystery as much as the next person, but this effort from the prolific Lovesey just doesn't measure up. Set in the "city" of Chichester (population roughly 25,000) just inland from the English Channel, the story is a classic whodunit. A small-time vanity publisher is killed by an arsonist, and suspicion falls upon the amateur writer's group he recently spoke before. A series of further arson attacks ensue, and Lovesey tries to play a shell game to keep the reader ...more
Jun 29, 2013 Nelly rated it liked it
If you expect a tense, suspense-filled novel, do not read this book. It's quite humourous, due to the eccentric actions and speech of the writers, and Bob's rhyming take on every situation, including the other characters and his own personal life. I really enjoyed this and my favourite of these was;
Watch out lady, here comes Bob.
Invite him in, and he's on the job.
But when he says he needs a screw
It's for your letterbox, not you."

The characters were enjoyable to read about, and the idea of ea
Julie Thomason
Feb 18, 2016 Julie Thomason rated it liked it
This book took me a while to get into. too many characters too soon. As I got into it it became a bit more engaging but I never reached the I want to finish this to find out who dun it. I found the language cluttered with a lot of cliches and sentences "like as popular garlic bread in Transylvania."One may be funny but it was a bit overdone for my personal taste. Not tempted to read any more of the series.
This starts with an interesting conceit when Bob, a truck driver widower, goes to a writing circle to share his rhymes, and people in the circle start getting murdered. Author Lovesey uses 3rd person omniscient voice, and it makes everything a bit dry, the reader is standing far from the characters which are not too interesting. Hen, the detective, doesn’t have much of a role, other than being perpetually irritated that things are going well. But there are some interesting backdrops, men getting ...more
Eva Mitnick
In some ways, this is one of those cozy and almost claustrophobic British mysteries. The action never moves out of Chichester, and when a murder takes place (and then several more), the only suspects are the eccentric members of a small and very amateur writer's group called the Circle. And all this is good - definitely my kind of book!
One thing bothered me, however - I became suspicious of one of the Circle members early on. "Why aren't the other characters questioning why this person did acted
Oct 16, 2014 Joanna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
I love Peter Lovesey, but this one was not up to par. It was a quick, light read, and seemed to be an attempt to be Agatha Chrisie instead of Peter Lovesey. I have to say that Agatha does Agatha better, and Peter does Peter better than he does Agatha.
Claire Louise
Feb 22, 2015 Claire Louise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and read it in just two sittings. Readers are kept guessing until the very end. Likeable, well-rounded characters and a very easy, enjoyable read. Will be checking out his other books!
Jan 25, 2016 Christine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great crime novel about a writers' circle by an undisputed heir to Dame Agatha Christie. Nuff said.
Jan 16, 2010 Snap rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
The members of a literary circle come from all walks of life and practice may forms of writing, f rom fantasy to torrid romance to household hints. There seems to be nothing about any of them to incite a serial killer. But it becomes clear that there is an arsonist in their midst who is determined to burn his victims to death. Detective Chief Inspector Hen (Henrietta) Mallin is in charge of the investigation of the Chichester murders by fire. Peter Diamond makes a cameo appearance. Lots of the r ...more
Apr 22, 2016 Km rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 05, 2015 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really like Peter Lovesey's puzzle mysteries.
Couldn't get into it.
Sep 27, 2015 Marie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This would have been an enjoyable mystery if it had been 100 pages shorter. Way too much filler!
John Machata
Too cozy for my tastes.
Tess Makovesky
Quirky, warm-hearted and fun; a great traditional 'cosy' detective mystery with an added bonus for writers in that it's set amongst the larger-than-life characters of a local writers' circle. You do need to park the disbelief at the door, though, in terms of character motivation and the general stupidity of the police. I worked out 'whodunnit' after the second death, only to think I must be wrong because forensics would never be that wrong... But as long as you don't mind that it's a jolly wheez ...more
Rog Harrison
First read 23 March 2005.
Mar 15, 2010 Tim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bob Naylor gathers his courage to attend the writing group, only to stumble into a murder mystery. Lovesey is not kind to the pretensions of would-be writers, but Bob is a stout investigator and I missed his constant presence a little when the story turned to a more typical police investigation. Not a terribly complex mystery or deep with meaning, but the characters and caricatures were good to spend time with and the pages sped past with ease.
May 21, 2012 Estibaliz79 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una muy buena novela que, más que negra, es de misterio, como se decía en los buenos viejos tiempos. Y es que esta historia, plagada de personajes entrañables por lo cercano y cotidiano, tiene un aire clásico muy a lo Agatha Christie. Nada de sangre a raudales ni cruentos psicópatas, sino crímenes más amables (aunque no menos mortales) y una investigación absorbente que entretiene y no decae en ningún momento.

No me importaría leer más de Lovesey.
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Peter (Harmer) Lovesey (born 1936 in Whitton, Middlesex) is a British writer of historical and contemporary crime novels and short stories. His best-known series characters are Sergeant Cribb, a Victorian-era police detective based in London, and Peter Diamond, a modern-day police detective in Bath. Lovesey's novels and stories mainly fall into the category of entertaining puzzlers in the "Golden ...more
More about Peter Lovesey...

Other Books in the Series

Inspector Henrietta Mallin (3 books)
  • The House Sitter (Peter Diamond, #8)
  • The Headhunters (Inspector Henrietta Mallin, #2)

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