The Fza's Reviews > The Bad Samaritan

The Bad Samaritan by Robert Barnard
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Mar 23, 15

bookshelves: fiction, a-puzzle-in-poison
Read in February, 2008

The story of how this book made it into my collection is not even amusing at best, but still I would like to share it w/ you before I begin with my review.

I, like many of my contemporaries in the "lower echelon" of the young urban professional's, do a good percentage of my shopping at second hand stores. Some people think it's because we like the out-of-date styles that came be found and this makes us trendy in a way, in truth it's cause like many American's we'd like to live beyond our means. But UN-like many American's we just don't want the debt.

In other words, while we're not poor, per say, we just can't afford to buy all things new. So when I shop for books I start my search at the local SalVo. As you can imagine, unlike the Bookstore, the Salvation Army is rather limited in its selection. So it's important not to go shopping w/ a specific agenda. This can cause you to have some fruitless shopping excursions or questionable purchases. But on average it's not a bad way to live within your means.

And on occasion you make discoveries like The Bad Samaritan, here. This book was an impulse purchase based solely on the cover. Right I know don't judge a book and all that... to be honest, I really wasn't expecting to ever read this book. But the cover was just so amusing and for $0.50 (fifty cents) I couldn't help myself.

I purchased a book with the devil on the cover eating pizza.

Then one day, not sure when or why, I picked it up and read the first few pages. I must have been hard up for something to read. Well to my amazement this book, which turned out to be part of the author's Charlie Peace series, was just so very excellent!

Now as a mystery fan I wonder if the author pulled the name "Charlie Peace" from the historical figure (an actual English criminal who was mentioned in a Holmes story). But then why make him the detective... hmmm?!

But lets dispense with that line of conjecture and get to the reason you've culled though the preface here... Why did I give this book four out of five stars?

Well what first intrigued me was the character of Rosemary Sheffield, a vicar's wife in her middle ages who, one quite ordinary day, loses her FAITH. I must admit this was a strange beginning to what was reported to be a 'crime novel'. But so interesting was Rosemary's story, and well written the book, that I could hardly put it down. I love it when genre's get blurred!

Now what did Rosemary have to do with this case, well as i turns out quite a lot and not much at all in fact. The little social commentary here was very subtle but all made for Rosemary's little fall from grace, if you will.

She then takes a much-needed rest at a seaside resort and there befriends Stanko, a young Bosnian refugee working as a waiter. When he later shows up at the vicarage, she finds him a job making pizza in town. From there... well you guessed it "a murder most foul" occurs and Detective Charlie Peace is called in.

Charlie must navigate his way through this suburban mine field without the map we have been given, though Rosemary, but he is quite clever and in no time the mysteries on top of mysteries start to reveal themselves.

Who was Stanko really? And who is "Dark Satanic Mills"... in fact who are any of these mild mannered suburbanites? Seems only detectives Mike Oddie and Charlie Peace can deliver the answer to these questions.

From this book alone I would dare say that Mr. Barnard is an great storyteller and I would read any of his other novels.

I would recommended this book anyone who loves to read a good mystery as well as most readers who do not specialize in reading just one genre (sadly there are readers like that out there) because there is just so much going on here it's just an excellent read.
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The Fza Wow, Barnard is an great story teller and the mystery was really really fun.

I would read any of his books after this!


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