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A Small Deceit

Brown assumes the judge to be hiding from something sordid. He indulges in a spot of harassment. He gains little, drifting between the judge's home and the house of a lonely local woman with three children. The killing urge soon returns.

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Only a writer with Margaret Yorke's smooth cunning and deceptively simplistic narrative technique could whip a taut climax and a cathartic emotional release out of this disciplined, metronomic tale. She isn't showy, or graphic, or gothic. She just instinctively knows her British characters: The best of the British crime mistresses manage so much more than death and denouement in their novels.


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For example, Yorke's deft portrait of the gently yet inexorably trapped judge's wife contains all the nuance found in the nongenre work of such authors as Penelope Lively and Anita Brookner. Veteran British mystery writer Yorke deftly explores the mind of a murderer convicted of rape. This psychological thriller circumvents an investigative protagonist and shows how extraordinary circumstances can arise from ordinary lives.

Felicity is bored with the routine of her life so she has taken up buying and selling small antiques as a hobby, all this is kept secret from the judge who has kept her well but holds the school of thought that women are to be kept in the home and not encouraged to spread their wings but Felicity needs more than a twice-monthly visit from her pompous son and daughter-in-law to keep her spirits up. As befits her standing in the community Felicity has the faithful Mrs Hunter to help out with the house. This book gives a fascinating peek behind the window-dressing where all in the household is not well.

I found this to be a masterpiece of a crime novel, only slightly marred by too many soliloquies on the rehabilitation of prisoners. The characters really are key to this type of crime novel which keeps its bodies mainly out of sight. The plot tension was carefully tightened as the feeling of menace emanates from our known killer grows page by page. A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life View All Posts.

I remember coming across some Margarate Yorke at the local library in England. To ask other readers questions about A Small Deceit , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Jun 19, Jenn rated it liked it Shelves: Not one of my favourite Yorke novels. I think I prefer her earlier books.

They seemed more gritty with finer distinctions between the classes of Brits.


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I didn't really take to many of the characters but my favourite was Mrs. She was funny, lived the Queen and kept her cool under all circumstances. Oh, and the bad dude should have died - it would have been a fitting ending.

Jun 18, Petercsm rated it liked it. Unfortunately I didn't find this one near as interesting. The basic plot follows two unrelated men using aliases, one of whom we know is not only a recently released convicted rapist but also a murderer. Not only that but they both realize the other is staying the I picked up A Small Deceit after reading Small Hours of the Morning, also by Margaret Yorke,which I had found at my grandparents' house and enjoyed.

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Not only that but they both realize the other is staying there under a false name. She married the older judge when she was young and their marriage is one where passion and openness are replaced with a cold sort of properness. There are also a few short sections devoted to the struggle of a young boy in an abusive home. The real reason for the alias is where the title of the novel arises. I found this book slow though easy to read and began catching my self scanning instead of reading somewhere between pages 23 and The entire section is devoted to the Judge and his wife and I found it, and the remainder of the book, oft-repeated the same thoughts and that neither character was particularly interesting.

And that might be my biggest issue with this novel. None of the main characters are very interesting.

A SMALL DECEIT by Margaret Yorke | Kirkus Reviews

They barely seem to exist. A few of the lesser characters show promise but are never allowed to go anywhere with it and usually disappear from the narrative shortly after showing promise. And when the one mystery character's identity is revealed it makes him immediately uninteresting as well. It's about 80 pages before the plot really unfolds.

The plot seemed to have a lot of padding and be more fitting of a novella. It might not have felt so if I had cared more for the characters. The ending was rather anti-climatic. A good example of this is with less than 20 pages until the novels end, with one character racing to confront the murderer caught in a tense situation, we spend a paragraph inside the maid's head debating about whether she should go home to pick up her things if she stays over at the Judge's residence or if she could just borrow something from them.

Afterwards everything wraps up nicely in the end in a manner that felt oddly rushed. The two main characters go through a rather quick positive transformation but given their ordeal it didn't feel entirely unnatural. There's also one last discovery of a connection between the characters at the very end but I'm not sure what point it served for better or worse. The books writing style flows easily. I can see this book appealing to some if they find themselves attached to the characters, it just wasn't for me.

A Small Deceit was first published in although the story it tells is set firmly in