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Arrest the Bishop?
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Group reads > February 2020: Arrest the Bishop? (1949) by Winifred Peck

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Susan | 9426 comments Mod
Welcome to our February 2020 main read - Arrest the Bishop? Arrest the Bishop? by Winifred Peck first published in 1949 and written by Winifred Peck, sister of the famous Knox brothers, aunt of Penelope Fitzgerald and daughter of the Bishop of Manchester.

The Rev. Ulder, everyone agreed, was the parish priest from hell. In addition to tales of drunkenness and embezzlement, the repellent cleric had recently added blackmail to his list of depravities. There was scandal in the district, plenty of it, and Ulder had the facts. Until, that is, a liberal helping of morphia, served to him in the Bishop's Palace, silenced the insufferable priest - for good.

Was it the Bishop himself who delivered the fatal dose? Was it Soames, the less-than-model butler? Or one of a host of other inmates and guests in the house that night, with motives of their own to put Ulder out of the way? Young Dick Marlin, ex-military intelligence and now a Church deacon, finds himself assisting Chief Constable Mack investigate murder most irreverent.

Please do not post spoilers in this thread. Thank you.


Susan | 9426 comments Mod
Our second Winifred Peck mystery - who is planning to read this one? I must admit I enjoyed this much more than our previous read.


message 3: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 715 comments I’d like to read it and downloaded it onto my Kindle but not sure I can get to it within the time frame.


Susan | 9426 comments Mod
I know how you feel, Abigail. The discussion thread will remain open, so if anyone reads it later, they can post :)


Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8425 comments Mod
I read this in 2016 and remember quite enjoying it, although I liked The Warrielaw Jewel by the same author more. I'm not sure if I will have time to reread it.

Looking at my review, I see I commented on the fact that it is said to be a Christmas mystery but doesn't actually give the season much of a mention, although there is snow on the ground!


Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8425 comments Mod
I also remember thinking that Winifred Peck is great at portraying members of the Church - not surprising since she was the daughter of a bishop and her brother was famous crime writer Monsignor Ronald Knox.


message 7: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 715 comments Am loving the idea that she wrote a book called Arrest the Bishop! when her father was a bishop. Some rich psychological undercurrents there, I imagine.


Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂  | 591 comments Judy wrote: "I read this in 2016 and remember quite enjoying it, although I liked The Warrielaw Jewel by the same author more. I'm not sure if I will have time to reread it.

Looking at my revi..."


Oh good - I was feeling a bit remiss ( for nominating a Christmas mystery when it wasnt Christmas) I've started. A bit muddled at the start but it is hitting it's stride now (I'm at 11%)


Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8425 comments Mod
Abigail wrote: "Am loving the idea that she wrote a book called Arrest the Bishop! when her father was a bishop. Some rich psychological undercurrents there, I imagine."

Haha, that's a good point!


Sandy | 2559 comments Mod
I will be reading it (I own it and liked her earlier book) but will not be starting for a couple of days.


message 11: by Susan in NC (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 2413 comments Abigail wrote: "I’d like to read it and downloaded it onto my Kindle but not sure I can get to it within the time frame."

Same here - I have it on Kindle and will try to read it, but have a stack of library books to finish first - several new books by favorite authors all became available at once, even though I requested them months ago!


message 12: by Frances (new)

Frances (francesab) | 352 comments I'm currently reading this-agreed it was a little hard to follow initially but I'm enjoying it-at about the quarter mark.


Sandy | 2559 comments Mod
Susan in NC wrote: "Abigail wrote: "I’d like to read it and downloaded it onto my Kindle but not sure I can get to it within the time frame."

Same here - I have it on Kindle and will try to read it, but have a stack ..."


I get so annoyed when that happens, although it is great to finally get them. I pick some up as late as possible.


message 14: by Susan in NC (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 2413 comments Me, too! I’ve got two more to pick up today, Monday they go back to the stacks, or more likely, the next requesting patron. And you have to read them right away since they can’t be renewed, others are waiting patiently! I put my requests in as soon as I know the book has been published - if my library is buying it, you still wait a few weeks for processing- but you never know, really, when you’ll get it in your hot little hands!


message 15: by Susan in NC (new)

Susan in NC (susanncreader) | 2413 comments I guess I could end all the suspense and just buy the books, but I’d go broke, and they’d take up an entire room of my small house...


Susan | 9426 comments Mod
Too many books to read, and too little time. A problem we all have, I guess, but the most pleasurable of the little worries of life :)


message 17: by Michaela (new)

Michaela | 286 comments I´ll be reading this some time this month. And I agree Susan! :)


message 18: by Frances (new)

Frances (francesab) | 352 comments I'm part way through and quite enjoying it. Judith, the scandalous daughter, is quite delightful, with her habit of saying things for all to hear and truly not caring what others think.


Sandy | 2559 comments Mod
I'm about half done and was amused by the reference to Flowers for the Judge. The character liked it so I assume Peck did as well.


message 20: by Rosina (last edited Feb 03, 2020 06:11AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosina (rosinarowantree) | 669 comments I noticed that too - but was more surprised to discover that Jeeves dated back to 1915. I have always thought of him as Roaring Twenties rather than The Great War.


Valerie Brown | 54 comments I just finished it. I liked it, and glad it was suggested as a group read.


ShanDizzy  (sdizzy) | 152 comments I am finding this very entertaining.


message 23: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8425 comments Mod
I have started rereading and am enjoying it so far. I also liked the introduction with all the information about the author, and was interested in her jokey dedication to her husband, where she describes how he helped her with her plotting.


Sandy | 2559 comments Mod
I've finished now so off to the spoiler thread. Susan, I also liked that dedication to her husband. I think Peck would have been a fun acquaintance.


message 25: by Jill (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jill (dogbotsmum) | 1870 comments I think it was a shame she only wrote two mysteries. I think she did well at it


message 26: by Indeneri (new)

Indeneri | 29 comments Looking forward to reading this. Trying to get a copy from somewhere!


message 27: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8425 comments Mod
Hope you manage to get a copy, Indeneri. I think it's quite a fun read.


Carol Palmer | 56 comments In the spoiler group, several people have commented about the confusing house floor plan. I can understand that! I had to do something with this book that I never remember doing before. I read the first chapter and realized that I had not really comprehended the set-up of the house nor the relationships between the characters. So, I set the book down and thought about it. It was tempting to decide that the book was just not for me, but instead I decided to slowly read the first chapter again and really note the details as I read. After I had a good grasp on the house and characters, the rest of the book was really quite wonderful!


message 29: by Carolien (new)

Carolien (carolien_s) | 444 comments I've just started it and enjoyed chapter 1. It does sound like there will be a vast cast of suspects.


message 30: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8425 comments Mod
Carolien, I agree there are quite a lot of characters. I keep getting a couple of them mixed up - I remember now that I did this the first time I read the book, too. I'm still enjoying it though.


Susan | 9426 comments Mod
There were a lot of people in the house, for sure, although the author kept the list of suspects under control. I kept imagining distant chanting off-scene :)


message 32: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8425 comments Mod
I'm enjoying the humorous note in Winifred Peck's writing - especially seen in her portrayal of Judith.


Susan | 9426 comments Mod
Judith really helped the story along, I thought.


message 34: by Ruth (new) - added it

Ruth | 310 comments Carol wrote: "In the spoiler group, several people have commented about the confusing house floor plan. I can understand that! I had to do something with this book that I never remember doing before. I read the ..."

I often do this Carol and find it really helps. Once I've made a list of the characters with a note of who they are, it seems to fix them in my brain and I don't usually have refer to the notes again very often.


Carol Palmer | 56 comments Ruth wrote: "Carol wrote: "In the spoiler group, several people have commented about the confusing house floor plan. I can understand that! I had to do something with this book that I never remember doing befor..."

This one was particularly difficult for me, I think because the characters were referred throughout the book by first name, last name, and/or nickname! Confusing!


Sandy | 2559 comments Mod
Ruth wrote: "Carol wrote: "In the spoiler group, several people have commented about the confusing house floor plan. I can understand that! I had to do something with this book that I never remember doing befor..."

Making a list can help you remember because it is a second way of 'knowing'. There is a bike safety program starting in either the US or Canada called ' See Bike, Say Bike' (we drivers run into them fairly regularly). The idea is to actually say "bike" out load once you see one. The bike often disappears from your direct view as you check for cars and does not move fast enough to be picked up by peripheral vision. The hearing side of your memory helps the sight side and you have a better chance of remembering the bike.


Leslie | 592 comments Sandy wrote: "I'm about half done and was amused by the reference to Flowers for the Judge. The character liked it so I assume Peck did as well."

I noticed that as well - pretty funny allusion for Mack! Also several allusions to Wodehouse ;)

I also saw (or at least think I saw) a reference to how life after WW1 wasn't as bad as it was in 1945 - a 'throwaway' line but it caught my eye because the book is set in the 1920s.


Leslie | 592 comments I am curious about whether the river Eve is supposedly the Exe and Eveland Exeter.


message 39: by Judy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8425 comments Mod
Leslie wrote: "I also saw (or at least think I saw) a reference to how life after WW1 wasn't as bad as it was in 1945..."

Interesting - I think Winifred Peck does this in her other mystery, The Warrielaw Jewel, too, setting the story in the past and drawing comparisons with the present day.


Sandy | 2559 comments Mod
Judy wrote: "Leslie wrote: "I also saw (or at least think I saw) a reference to how life after WW1 wasn't as bad as it was in 1945..."

Interesting - I think Winifred Peck does this in her other mystery, [book:..."


I remember Warrielaw Jewel as being written for her (grown?) children, telling them a story from her first year of marriage. I have a vague feeling that this book had a similar introduction.


Leslie | 592 comments Sandy wrote: "I remember Warrielaw Jewel as being written for her (grown?) children, telling them a story from her first year of marriage. I have a vague feeling that this book had a similar introduction...."

This reference was within the story rather than in a foreword or introduction. About halfway through as I recall - I suspect it was when Mrs. Broome or Soames were talking about the difficulties of providing for all the guests but am too lazy to go look for it.


Jan C (woeisme) | 1295 comments I finally finished Arrest the Bishop?. I enjoyed it much more than Warrielaw Jewel.

I thought it started a little slow but definitely picked up and turned out to be enjoyable.


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