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Lydmouth Books In Order

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Publication Order of Lydmouth Books

An Air That Kills (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mortal Sickness (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Lover of the Grave (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Suffocating Night (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Where Roses Fade (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death's Own Door (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Call the Dying (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Naked to the Hangman (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon

Lydmouth is a series of novels written by Andrew Taylor. The books are historical fiction with elements of the crime and mystery genres.

+The story

The Lydmouth series of books is pretty popular. In fact, it is one of Andrew Taylor’s most popular series and for good reason. Andrew places a lot of emphasis on his characters, which isn’t what one expects when they go into this series.

The Lydmouth series takes place in a fictional town called Lydmouth located on the Anglo-Welsh borders. Lydmouth is very typical of the time period in which this series is set, which is after the Second World War.

A provincial society, Lydmouth is rather self-contained. Its conservative nature emanates from weary attitudes about the war. The people of Lydmouth would rather remain separate from the world and its politics, especially at a time when things are changing drastically.

Andrew succeeds with the Lydmouth series because he is able to create a powerful sense of time and place. He drags readers along for a ride through the decades, painting vivid pictures of the changes swirling inside and around Lydmouth, its residents and the story’s protagonists.

Andrew Taylor has been compared to the likes of David Lynch and P.D. James. His Lydmouth books are more about Lydmouth than anything else.

Certainly, the novels have protagonists. Jill Francis is a journalist that moves to Lydmouth from London. While the small town might not initially seem like her cup of tea, she is more than willing to bear the struggles involved in order to escape the sad secrets of her past.

Detective Inspector Richard Thornhill was residing in the Fens of East Anglia before making the move to Lydmouth. Richard’s life is one of battle, both within his mind and in the physical world.

One aspect of the Lydmouth series of books is the attraction between Richard and Jill. They share a spark that they neither want nor try to nurture; but they can do very little to extinguish it, which becomes a problem, especially in light of the fact that Richard is married.

Richard and Jill are interesting characters. However, it is no coincidence that this is not called the Thornhill series or even the Francis series. The name ‘Lydmouth series’ more aptly describes what Andrew Taylor does here.

He treats Lydmouth as a character that speaks, breathes and changes with the times. The small town is populated by all manner of interesting characters, many of whom continue to recur throughout the run of the series.

The Lydmouth series is a mystery and Andrew displays a competent mind for creating decent mysteries. However, it is the stories of normal life in Lydmouth that attract people to this series. Andrew Taylor makes it fun to read about his characters.

The books, it should be noted, are set in the 1950s. However, they are not designed to mimic the detective novels of that age. They are something entirely unique.

+The Author

Andrew Taylor is a British author born in 1951 in East Anglia. A student of The King’s School, Ely, Woodbridge, Emmanuel College, Cambridge and University College London, Andrew Taylor primarily writes crime novels.

And he has earned accolades like the Diamond Dagger for his efforts. Andrew is married with two children.

+An Air that Kills

A group of workmen didn’t expect much when they took to demolishing an old cottage in Lydmouth. But then their hammers revealed a locked cupboard. Inside that cupboard were the remains of a young baby, contained within a small box.

All signs pointed to the baby having been entombed in the 19th century. Jill Francis is a journalist that just arrived from London on an assignment. And she is very interested in the death of a man and how it relates to clues suggesting that the boy in the box died very recently.

There might be a killer on the loose.

This book, the first in the Lydmouth series, works to build an atmosphere truly reminiscent of the 1950s; the small town feels very much like a small town, boasting surprisingly authentic local characters.

The book puts the focus on Jill and Richard, a journalist and a new detective inspector both of whom just came to Lydmouth. Jill and Richard are similar in that they are both outsiders.

Pretty soon, their efforts begin to collide as they explore evidence suggesting that a killer might be on the loose. The book is seemingly designed to be a police procedural. However, it is very personal in the way it is written.

Andrew does an amazing job of getting readers to care for his characters, even the villains and minor cast members. You will remember this book once you finally finish it, and you will look forward to following the characters into the next book.

+The Mortal Sickness

The body of a spinster is found in the Church Vestry. It looks like she was bludgeoned to death. All signs point to a burglary gone wrong, seeing as a number of valuable items are missing from the church, this including the Lydmouth Chalice.

The new vicar might have something to do with it. When the police begin investigating the crimes, they reveal secrets the residents would have rather stayed buried.

Jill Francis is a journalist that initially watches events transpire from the sidelines. However, she is eventually forced to engage in the goings on of Lydmouth.

The second book in the Lydmouth series continues to expand Andrew Taylor’s world. Andrew uses the residents of the town to explore life in its entirety, analyzing people from different backgrounds and at varying stages of their lives in a world that is still trying to find its feet following the Second World War.

Women are central characters in the book. Even though they are often pushed into taking secondary roles, they, none the less, have a very strong presence. This is especially true for Jill and the Vicar’s wife.

Andrew’s descriptions paint a very vivid picture of life in Lydmouth. All is not as rosy as the small town seems. There is something brewing underneath. It only takes a murder to kick start those investigations everyone fears might unearth the unexpected.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Lydmouth

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