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Death and the Chaste Apprentice (Charlie Peace #1)

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  223 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
At the Ketterick Arts Festival, the apprentice is just about the only fella that is chaste, know what I mean (wink wink nudge nudge)? Ah, the pleasures of smutty innuendo, and no one relishes them more than Des Capper, a font of dubious gossip and unwanted advice. To the horror of the actors and singers performing at the Festival, Des has been promoted to landlord of the S ...more
Paperback, 227 pages
Published February 1st 2007 by Felony & Mayhem (first published 1989)
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An arts festival in an outer suburb of London attracts a lot of visitors especially because some of the events are held in a very old coaching inn on an open stage in the courtyard. The Saracen's Head is a popular inn though it has recently acquired a new landlord who is less than popular and who is murdered during the performance of the play about the chaste apprentice of the title.

Full of eccentric characters and jokes about the theatre and opera, this is an entertaining crime novel. I must ad
Feb 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-england
Des Capper is the worst kind of pest--a busybody, a know-it-all--but he's the new manager of the Saracen Head Hotel, the pub that's at the center of the Ketterick arts festival. In fact, the little-known Elizabethan play that's presented each year is staged in the Saracen Head's yard, and many of the participants have rooms in the sprawling old hotel. Some of the singers in the opera, performed at nearby theater, are also staying at the hotel. As Des swans around the pub's main bar, giving advic ...more
The gossipy, self-absorbed landlord of The Saracen's Head is murdered, and everyone involved in the productions at the Ketterick Arts Festival who is staying at the hotel is a suspect. Loved the setting, the flamboyant, over-emotive operatic and theatrical types, and the often humorous story. Very much in the mode of a Christie novel, where the detectives interrogate suspects until they arrive at a conclusion - one I didn't foresee. I had read a much later novel in the Charlie Peace series and a ...more
Jun 10, 2011 rated it liked it
This is the first book with Charlie Peace. It takes place at an arts festival. The play they are doing is Shakespeare's The Chaste Apprentice, which is not one that I have read. The details were lost on me. The other part of the festival was an opera, which I have zero knowledge of. So much of the nuances were totally lost on me. In addition, there were so many people to keep track of, and where they were, and being placed in a maze of a facility, I was unable to follow their movements, and whic ...more
Jenn Estepp
Okay, but I fear I had been very misled by a few reviews, which promised terribly wonderful surprises/twist at the end and that was very much not the case. Perfectly acceptable, in the time-killing mystery sort of way, but not one I'm likely to recommend all around. I am going to check out a few more in the series, however, because I think the first offering can often be the shaky one.
Reggie Billingsworth
May 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
A rediscovery of Robert Barnard's work has made me very happy indeed. By now, I have come to the conclusion that an author's quality of writing is of primary importance. If the words are clumsily assembled and achingly miss-handled it hurts too much to subject myself to it all.

I cannot abide poor syntax, banal vocabulary and pedestrian style that grates in it's mind-numbing stupid-ness. Too many 'cosy' writers are guilty of this as if the quality of the writing style was minimally important. On
Lukasz Pruski
Aug 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
Having read several "serious" books in a row I think I have earned the right to some light entertainment. Here's yet another novel by Robert Barnard, "Death and the Chaste Apprentice" (1989), my eleventh work of his.

An annual music and theatre festival is held in Ketterick, a London suburb. The plot begins when the rehearsals for an Elizabethan play "The Chaste Apprentice of Bowe" and for subsequent opera performances begin at the Ketterick Arts Festival. The first 40 pages are really difficult
Debbie Maclellan
Feb 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Not quite as interesting and funny as some of his other books but a good read all the same.
Christopher Borum
Jan 11, 2017 rated it liked it
This was an entertaining story with interesting characters and good pacing. It suffered a bit from being too much inside the theater and opera world. It will help to have some knowledge of (view spoiler). It also relies somewhat on dated activities for clues and misdirections. Things that were meaningful in the 1980's but now aren't. The clues weren't all 100% obvious looking back after I finished, but it was sufficiently satisfying that I'll ...more
Stephen Osborne
A not-bad mystery with a theatrical theme. Loads of red herrings, and some fun side characters. The main difficulty I had with this is that once the detectives arrive and start to investigate, THEY come off as bland and uninteresting. All we really know about Dundy is that he doesn't like theater people, and we know nearly nothing about Charlie except that he's black. Ah, for the quirks of Poirot or Nero Wolfe!
Nov 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
This book had an interesting and unexpected twist at the end but other than that the story roused no particular interest. Mostly everybody just talked until the detective figured out whodunit. Maybe it was the setting or the characters or the plot itself, but it was pretty boring right up to about the last 20 pages. I finished it but that's about all I can say.
May 06, 2014 rated it liked it
I will keep quiet about who the murderer turned out to be, but I wasn't surprised. Des Capper, hotel manager, really was a disgusting man who seemed to be liked by no one. He brought his fate on himself - not that I normally condone murder. Very interesting background on actors, musicians, and festivals,
Mary Kay Kare
Apr 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-british
I had forgotten how good Barnard is. Problematic at times, but who isn't? I need more of this!
Jun 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
The character, Charlie Peace, in this series is wonderful. Barnard's writing is very realistic while letting you "play" with crime. His descriptive nature really sets a scene, too. Good read.
Nov 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Very enjoyable and amusing.
Oct 12, 2009 added it
This was awful to get thru. Not sure I'll read anymore in this series, or maybe start with a more recnt one.
Mark Macatee
Mar 17, 2013 rated it liked it
It was okay. I did not think it his best work. The characters were underdeveloped and the manager of the inn just wasn't believable.
Sandy Meadows
Nov 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Not bad. Considering that it was labeled as a Charlie Peace series book, it didn't seem to focus too much on Charlie Peace. Not a bad read.
Dawn Marie
Apr 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Good satisfactory mystery. Read a bit like a TV show from the 80's.
P. Kirby
Jul 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, contemporary
Clever mystery that had me guessing right until the end.

Review to come....
Kathryn Watson
rated it it was amazing
Apr 09, 2015
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Dec 11, 2011
rated it liked it
Jun 25, 2012
rated it really liked it
Aug 20, 2013
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Sep 01, 2008
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Jun 12, 2011
rated it really liked it
Apr 29, 2015
Gerri Balter
rated it did not like it
Jun 07, 2014
rated it liked it
Feb 19, 2013
Richard Brylczyk
rated it it was amazing
Mar 05, 2015
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Aka Bernard Bastable.

Robert Barnard (born 23 November 1936) is an English crime writer, critic and lecturer.

Born in Essex, Barnard was educated at the Royal Grammar School in Colchester and at Balliol College in Oxford. His first crime novel, A Little Local Murder, was published in 1976. The novel was written while he was a lecturer at University of Tromsø in Norway. He has gone on to write more t
More about Robert Barnard...

Other Books in the Series

Charlie Peace (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • A Fatal Attachment (Charlie Peace, #2)
  • A Hovering Of Vultures (Charlie Peace, #3)
  • The Bad Samaritan (Charlie Peace, #4)
  • No Place Of Safety (Charlie Peace, #5)
  • The Corpse At The Haworth Tandoori (Charlie Peace, #6)
  • Unholy Dying
  • The Bones In The Attic (Charlie Peace, #7)
  • A Fall From Grace (Charlie Peace, #8)
  • The Killings on Jubilee Terrace (Charlie Peace, #9)
  • A Charitable Body (Charlie Peace, #10)

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