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Publisher's Summary

Dr. James Macintosh, the bishop of Greyle, was a mysterious man. For a long time, nobody even knew his last name...until his body is found emaciated and battered having been pushed face-first off the edge of a cliff.   

Inspector Littlejohn faces an incredibly peculiar case. How to explain the savage murder of a gentle bishop? Did he know too much about the secretive citizens of Cape Marvin? Or did it have something to do with the strange family he left behind in Medhope?  

Above all, why was the bishop's body so undernourished that death by violence won out by only a few days over death by starvation?  

About Inspector Littlejohn: Inspector Thomas Littlejohn of Scotland Yard is a shrewd yet courteous sleuth who splits his time between quaint English villages, the scenic Isle of Man, and French provinces. With a sharp tongue and a dry sense of humor, Littlejohn approaches his work with poise and confidence, shifting through red herrings and solving even the most perplexing of cases.

©1949 George Bellairs (P)2019 Tantor

What listeners say about The Case of the Famished Parson

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful mystery

This is a great beginning to a new series! The characters are wonderful. The mystery is cracking. The narrator does a wonderful job.

8 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Pretty good for a 'village mystery...'

This was fine... characters well-drawn, the crime puzzling and how it was unraveled kept you interested.
Hope there's more of this..

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A Refreshing Change of Pace

At a mere 5 hours and 13 minutes (206 pages in the modern paperback edition), George Bellairs had to set things in motion pretty quickly. It was a refreshing change of pace from some Golden Age whodunnits that keep the first corpse on ice (so to speak) until somewhere around the fifth or sixth chapter, everything before that point being dedicated to setting atmosphere and establishing characters. As P. G. Wodehouse might put it, this story gets off the mark like a scalded cat.

And that pace doesn’t diminish; a quicker story means fewer narrative details to contend with—descriptions of landscapes, domestic interiors, interior monologues, etc.—so it’s easier to pick up on clues (though, as usual, I picked up the wrong ones). Not to say that, like the parson in the title, this story is all skin and bones. Bellairs manages to tell it very economically without stinting on that most attractive feature of the genre, comedy. Like Inspector Littlejohn, vintage detective stories are one of my favorite recreations, and for the same reason: “they appeal to his irrepressible sense of humor”.

At first I felt that Anthony Ferguson’s delivery was too direct and un-nuanced, but soon discovered he was a perfect fit for Bellairs’ style and sensibility.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

I’ve read worse, but not often

I kept waiting for this book to live up to the reviews. Boring story, boring characters, boring narration. Won’t be wasting my time or money on further books by this author. I gave it two stars because, to be fair, I’ve read worse, but this one isn’t interesting enough to bother with again.

1 person found this helpful