Friday, October 19, 2018

Friday's Forgotten Books:
The Hidden Wrath by Stella Phillips (1968).

What am I supposed to do with them, send them round the doors asking "Does your daughter, lodger, neighbour have homicidal tendencies?"
—Inspector Furnival, The Hidden Wrath 99
In The Hidden Wrath, a college library community confronts the murder of the chief cataloguer of the county library who was spearheading the cataloguing of its collection and was "gauche, earnest, a bit of a bore" (6). So why was she a threat? Inspector Matthew Furnival and Sergeant Reg King must sort through a plethora of suspects. Is it the warden or his wife? Is it the college secretary, who had dark secrets in his past and a crush on the victim? Is it the secretary's spouse, who doubles as college housekeeper, is weary of her husband's serial infatuations, and chafes at village life? Is it a volunteer cataloguer who yearns to break free of her querulous invalid father? Is it the new college graduate at a bit of a loose end? Is it the scion of a distinguished family? Is it the jaded director of a production of the Scottish play? Or is it someone else?

This novel is ideal for bibliomystery fans, featuring passages of exquisite writing, superb portrayals of characters' lives, and hints of disquiet at home for Furnival.

Retired librarian Stella Phillips (1927–?) wrote eight novels. The Hidden Wrath is the second featuring Furnival and King. The others are Down to Death (1967), Death in Arcady (1969), Death Makes the Scene (1970), Death in Sheep's Clothing (1971), and Three May Keep a Secret (2004). Novels outside the series include Dear Brother, Here Departed (1975) and Yet She Must Die (1973). (see photo of Stella Phillips)

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