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
This report prepared by Linda Sourpuss
Scribner, Apr 2001, 23.00, 288 pp.
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.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner