Death in Purple Prose

Robert Barnard

28 February 2013
186 pages


Norway in cherry blossom time seemed exactly the right place to hold a conference of the World Association of Romantic Novelists (WARN for short). Superintendent Perry Trethowan wondered at times how he had allowed his sister to ‘con’ him into accompanying her to the conference but he finally decided that his role was to be one of amused detachment and observation, most especially of the two Queens of the Conference – frothy, gushy, lethal Amanda Fairchild, the British challenger, and the vast, malevolent Lorelei Zuckerman from America.

What Perry had not been prepared for was a body – one clothed in billowing pink, with a bough of cherry blossom carefully placed on the corpse. It was a most unusual murder, in a most unusual place.

‘Mr Barnard disports himself with reliable zest, humour and cunning’ Sunday Times

‘Immaculately plotted, written with a touch as light as thistledown, and infused with gentle malice, this is a delicious soufflé of a whodunnit and the secret, which is worth waiting for, is kept to the end. Brilliant, Mr Barnard’ Irish Times

‘The sort of exhilarating and satisfactory performance readers have come to expect from the virtuoso barnard’ Financial Times