Posthumous Papers

Robert Barnard

06 December 2012
180 pages


There were two Mrs Machins, relicts of the talented working-class writer Walter Machin, who was just about to be immortalised by the literary establishment. Viola was large, overbearing and, even in her seventies, still voluptuous. Hilda, the first (and divorced) Mrs Machin, was perky, sharp and the guardian of the deceased Walter’s literary papers. For ten years the two ‘widows’ had lived together in the same house, not speaking to each other, but jealously guarding his memory and literary reputation.

But before the Machin legend could really take off, there was a fire – and a murder. One of the Mrs Machins was silenced for good, and slowly, from the past, emerged a fascinating and intriguing assortment of characters. Somewhere, in their memories of Walter Machin, lay the catastrophic secret that had led to murder.

‘A literary whodunit – with an unusual ending’ London Mystery Selection

‘Freshly written with lots of sly fun’ Guardian

‘Finely crafted and intriguing’ Booklist

‘A witty, well-written and intriguing story’ Times Literary Supplement