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Robert Barnard Books In Order

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Publication Order of Amadeus Mozart Books

Dead, Mr. Mozart (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Too Many Notes, Mr. Mozart (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Charlie Peace Books

Death and the Chaste Apprentice (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Fatal Attachment (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Hovering of Vultures (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Bad Samaritan (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
No Place of Safety (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Corpse at the Haworth Tandoori (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Unholy Dying / Turbulent Priest (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Bones in the Attic (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Fall from Grace (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Killings on Jubilee Terrace (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Charitable Body (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Idwal Meredith Books

Unruly Son / Death of a Mystery Writer (1979)Description / Buy at Amazon
At Death's Door (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of John Sutcliffe Books

Political Suicide (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Scandal in Belgravia (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Perry Trethowan Books

Death by Sheer Torture / Sheer Torture (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death and the Princess (1982)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Case of the Missing Brontë / The Missing Brontë (1983)Description / Buy at Amazon
Bodies (1986)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death In Purple Prose / The Cherry Blossom Corpse (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Death of an Old Goat (1974)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Little Local Murder (1976)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death on the High C's (1977)Description / Buy at Amazon
Blood Brotherhood (1977)Description / Buy at Amazon
Posthumous Papers / Death of a Literary Widow (1979)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death in a Cold Climate (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Perfect Mother / Mother's Boys (1981)Description / Buy at Amazon
School for Murder / Little Victims (1983)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Corpse in a Gilded Cage (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fete Fatale / The Disposal of the Living (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon
Out of the Blackout (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Skeleton in the Grass (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
A City of Strangers (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
To Die Like a Gentleman (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Masters of the House (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Mansion and Its Murder (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Murder in Mayfair / Touched by the Dead (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mistress of Alderley (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Cry from the Dark (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dying Flames (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Graveyard Position (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Last Post (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Stranger in the Family (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

Breakfast Television (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Woman in the Wardrobe (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
More Final Than Divorce (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Habit of Widowhood (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Gentleman in the Lake (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Nothing to Lose (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dognapped (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Everybody’s Girl (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Old Couple (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Provenance (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

Death of a Salesperson and Other Untimely Exits (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Habit of Widowhood and Other Murderous Proclivities (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Rogue's Gallery (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Imagery and Theme in the Novels of Dickens (1974)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Talent to Deceive: Appreciation of Agatha Christie (1980)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Short History of English Literature (1984)Description / Buy at Amazon
Emily Brontë (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Bronte Encyclopedia (With: Louise Barnard) (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Leisure Hour Improved: Or Moral Miscellanies in Prose and Verse, Original and Selected (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Wreath from the Wilderness, a Selection from the Metrical Arrangements of Accola Montis-Am Ni (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

A Suit of Diamonds(1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fifty Best Mysteries(1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
2nd Culprit(1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
Criminal Records(2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Malice Domestic 9(2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories 2(2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories 3(2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Much Ado About Murder(2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Thou Shalt Not Kill(2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Detection Collection(2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime 7(2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime 8(2011)Description / Buy at Amazon

Robert Barnard was one of the UK’s most famous crime writers, intellectuals, political activist and literature critics. He is most well-known for his mystery novels, Charlie Peace series and Perry Trethowan novels. He also wrote under an alter ego, “Bernand Bastable” – producing four works under this name, one of which featured Mozart as a detective.

Life and background

Barnard was born in in the English county of Essex, in 1936, and he attended the prestigious Colchester Royal Grammar school. His father had been a romance writer, with published work in many women’s magazines. After this he went to Oxford, where he studied for an English degree. He was involved in politics after leaving university, and worked for a liberal organisation, The Fabian Society. In 1961 he moved to Australia. He was married to his wife, Louise, for 50 years. He was widely travelled, and also lived for a time in Norway.

Works and influence

Later reflecting on his life, Barnard described himself as “a horrid, snobbish little schoolboy”, which is an interesting way to describe your own life! He credited this time at school as developing his early interest in mystery stories, and starting off his incredibly successful career.

He had an academic background, and he wrote several thesis and critical works on authors such as Charles Dickens and Agatha Christie, and this influence is visible in his work. He noted Christie as one of his favourite writers. He spent time gathering information and inspiration for his work in all the countries he lived in, for example setting Death in a Cold Climate in Norway, drawing on experience from his time as a lecturer there.


He was famous for his series focused around characters. They were all detective – and one of his most famous, Charlie Peace, was actually based on a real life murderer in the 19th century. They all had varied and interesting backgrounds, such as Scotland Yard superintendent Perry Trethowan.

He deliberately made his villains unlikeable – and even those who were meant to be heroes in the piece. He said this stemmed from the fact they were suspected murders, and he believed anyone bad enough to be the suspect of murder couldn’t be considered a decent person.

Work history

He was a prolific writer, creating more than 30 published works during his life. These also included several non-fiction works which studied other authors, including books on the Bronte sisters. His writing style was very varied, and over the course of his books he changed his style from light and humour-filled, to exploring the darker side of human psychology. In wider society he was noted for his cheerfulness, and he had a sharp wit. He was a member of the Crime Writers’ Association, and spoke at many conventions and conferences for writers and their fans.

He always liked a challenge, and set about to finish one of the book world’s unsolved mysteries – The Mystery of Edwin Drood. This was a book which had never been completed by Charles Dickens.

TV and film adaptions

Unlike many of the authors alive at the same time, his work was never turned into a TV or film adaption, and the books were rarely reprinted.

Among his contemporaries, were several other crime writers. These included Reginald Hill, Jonathan Gash and Peter Lovesey, who were all born in 1936. They all achieved great fame and began the writing tradition and style that is evident in Barnard’s work. Along this theme, there is evidence of the so called “cosy” school of crime writing – that is, works similar to Agatha Christie. While he never actively adopted this, he never denounced it either. He and Christie shared the same editor at his publishing house, which would also provide a reason for the similar writing styles.

Early works

A Scandal in Belgravia was one of his most popular works. It was first published in 1991. Its popularity has meant that it has been reprinted several times, and is also now available on several eBook formats. This award winning work won the Nero Award the year after it was published.

Set in London’s exclusive Belgravia, former politician Peter Proctor introduces the book. The story focuses on the murder of his friend Timothy Wycliffe, which happens 30 years before. We discover that Wycliffe was gay, a crime at the time he was murdered. Proctor is determined to solve the murder.

The book received a huge amount of praise, and was even the inspiration for a Sherlock Holmes TV episode title.

Death by Sheer Torture, which predated A Scandal in Belgravia was another of his prominent early works. This is one in the series of his well-received Perry Trethowan books. Trethowan’s father is found dead on a torture device of his own creation. There is an assumed sexual undertone to the circumstances and Perry fears for his own reputation. However, he soon discovers the actual killer may be a member of his own family, and he sets out to reconnect to the family he thought he’d left behind a long time before. This was one of his most successful works in terms of sales.

Reception and criticism

Robert Barnard’s work was generally well received, but his most prominent success came outside of his native England. The United States was where his work sold best, and had its biggest fans. His first book published in the states (titled “A Little Local Murder”), was very well received and the New York Times praised his style. He has also been the subject of academic reviews, and Robin Winks, a prominent crime academic has given him high praise.


Fundamentally, he set out to entertain his readers. He set out, like Christie, to create a pleasure in reading crime fiction. His legacy was just that, and he will be remembered for his charm and intelligence, as well as his political activism and great, enjoyable books. Towards the end of his life he began to suffer from dementia, and spent his last year in a care home in Leeds, England. He received a lifetime achievement award, the Crime Writers’ Diamond Dagger. He and his wife had no children. His death was recognised by newspapers and television news shows around the world.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Robert Barnard

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