Amidst the usual jobs following unfaithful spouses, he is approached by the glamorous Sylvia Booker. The wife of the bursar of Morley College, Booker is worried that her daughter Lucy has fallen in with the wrong crowd. Aided by his assistant Sandra and her teenage son, George soon realises that Lucy is sneaking off to the apartment of an older man, but perhaps not for the reasons one might suspect.
Then an unfaithful wife he had been following is found dead. As his investigation continues, enlivened by a mild stabbing and the unwanted intervention and attention of Detective Inspector Vicky Stubbing, George begins to wonder if all the threads are connected…
Thanks to Lydia at Titan Books for my review copy
Meet George Kocharyan, a Cambridge private investigator who is about to take on a case which may just change his life (assuming he manages to avoid being bumped off by a stooge with a pocket knife).
George’s wife has left him for another woman. He is ‘dealing with things’ and making Bambi eyes at the nutritionist that works in his building, but business is slow. As the story opens we find George breaking the news to his client that the client’s wife is spending time with strange men in parked cars – George has the photo’s to prove it (even if you cannot always see her face). As one unhappy client leaves his office a new one enters in the form of the lovely Sylvia Booker. Mrs Booker is the wife of one of the Bursar’s at a Cambridge college. Her husband’s position means she moves in powerful social circles so cannot afford a whiff of a scandal. She wants to engage George’s services to keep an eye on her daughter who seems to be falling in with the wrong crowd. George can hardly say ‘no’ to the bewitching Mrs Booker, especially when there is a bulky cash-filled envelope pushed across his desk to cover his costs.
What seems to be a relatively simple task soon starts to snowball in complexity. Mrs Booker has not been entirely forthright with George and has kept back a lot of information that could have made his task much easier. Her daughter (Lucy) is also keeping secrets but for the life of him George cannot quite work out what she is doing hanging around the home of a man that is old enough to be her father.
As if these secretive Booker women were not proving George with enough of a headache the local police are very keen to have him ‘help them with their enquiries’. The lady from the parked cars has been spotted in another car, however this time she is on her own and very, very dead. DI Stubbing does not seem to like George and seems to believe that a man who spends his time taking pictures of people coupling in cars should certainly have no problem spending time assisting the police with their investigations.
The Bursar’s Wife was great fun to read. There is a really good crime story to enjoy but the tone is light and the lead character really engaging – if you have read Lawrence Block’s fantastic ‘Burglar’ series then you may have an idea as to how well this balance can work.
I am going to be singing the praises of The Bursar’s Wife for quite some time, it ticked all the right boxes for me and I was delighted to find that George Kocharyan will be returning next year. Although my bookshelves are filled with dark, intense and gritty reads The Bursar’s Wife was a very welcome addition…I love when an author feels that they can have fun with a story and E.G. Rodford nails this perfectly. You have to read this one – it would be a crime to miss it!
The Bursar’s Wife is published by Titan Books and is available in paperback and digital formats. You can order a copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bursars-Wife-George-Kocharyan-Mystery/dp/1785650033/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1462054044&sr=8-1&keywords=the+bursar%27s+wife