Unholy Dying Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Unholy Dying

Cosmo Horrocks is the most repulsive journalist on earth. His two main ambitions are to make life miserable for everyone around him and to have a big story that makes it to the London tabloids. When he gets wind of the investigation of a local Catholic priest who is being investigated for an improper relationship with a young woman and questionable handling of funds, he thinks he has hit the jackpot. Instead the story lead to murder and the revelation of many secrets in suburbia. Terrific characters and dialogue and a stinging indictment of "media
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The review of this Book prepared by Linda Sourpuss

Scribner, Apr 2001, 23.00, 288 pp.
ISBN: 0743201493

    While riding a train, West Yorkshire Chronicle reporter Cosmo Horrocks overhears two people discussing the scandalous behavior of the local Catholic priest. Apparently, Father Christopher Pardoe had an affair with nineteen-year old single mother Julie Norris, a parishioner, leaving her pregnant. Also Somebody stole parish money with the Father being the most likely thief. Cosmo, a nasty gossip-mongering “journalist” who would distort any lie to spice up a report, sees a great story in Shipley, England.

    Cosmo heads to the small town to confront the various players such as Julie, Father Pardoe, Julie's estranged parents and brother, and other parishioners. After exposing the priest and the teen, an unknown assailant kills the odious Cosmo. Police Inspector Mike Oddie and Sergeant Charlie Peace begin to investigate the homicide. The only problem is anyone who ever met the disgusting man including his family, his staff on the newspaper, and the impacted people in Shipley have motives to wanting Cosmo dead.

    UNHOLY DYING is a great police procedural that shows why Robert Barnard is one of the top mystery writers around. His latest work is fabulous because the quaint cast makes the entertaining police investigation so much more fun to follow. The tabloid journalism that attacks Father Pardoe based on rumor and no substance augments a great plot in which everyone except the police are suspects, but the real killer is in plain sight yet impossible to identify.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of Unholy Dying

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Plot & Themes

How difficult to spot villain?    -   Very difficult--no foreshadowing/clues    -   Challenging Time/era of story:    -   1980's-1999 What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   50%    -   80% Kind of investigator    -   police procedural, American    -   british mystery (I say!) Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   police/lawman Age:    -   40's-50's


Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   no torture/death    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Explicit sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references Unusual forms of death    -   blunt clubbing (like seals) Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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