BETRAYAL IN BURGUNDY (Troubador)b
Howard Shaw’s latest novel, a love story set in the Second World War, moves into new territory. Set on a bleak RAF bomber aerodrome in rural Lincolnshire and, later, in the beautiful Yonne valley in Burgundy, it shows the developing romance of a young Lancaster pilot, as well as the stresses faced by aircrew living lives of extraordinary contrast, one moment drinking with a girl in the sanctuary of an English country pub, the next struggling for survival amidst flak and German night fighters over the Third Reich.
When the story moves to Burgundy, it covers the varied reactions of the French population to German occupation, as well as meeting the secret world of the French Resistance and its links with the Special Operations Executive in London, the organisation instructed by Winston Churchill to ‘set Europe ablaze.’
DEATH OF A DON
Cambridge may incubate the best traitors but Oxford can pride itself on fiction’s best corpses, a tradition worthily and wittily upheld here … all is much as it was in the days of Sayers and Masterman: good talk, bubbling feuds in the Senior Common Room, a rich choice of Subjects.’
(Christopher Wordsworth, THE OBSERVER)
‘Howard Shaw revives the peculiar pleasure one associates with collegiate murder … this traditional recipe is served up with verve and a conviction all too often absent in present day whodunits.’
(Matthew Coady, THE GUARDIAN)
‘The academic, or more precisely the Oxford, detective story can properly be reckoned a special category, written by and for highly civilised people – erudite fantasy enlivened with wit… Welcome, then to Howard Shaw’s DEATH OF A DON … a genuine, entertaining, Oxford detective story.’
(Anthony Lejeune, THE DAILY TELEGRAPH)
‘Urbane whodunit set among the Fellows of an Oxford college, much flurried by theft and murder … crisply plotted, and offering wryly amusing glimpses of the skeletons that can rattle in the most sheltered and privileged closets.’
(Martin Hillman, TRIBUNE)
‘This is an understated but satisfying mystery recalling Dorothy Sayers’s GAUDY NIGHT … Shaw’s wit is subtle and pleasantly dry, and the authentic Oxford atmosphere is an Anglophile’s treat.’
(Mary Jane Scott, THE STATE, COLUMBIA, USA)
‘Shaw goes in for a good deal of alibi-cracking of one kind and another, and he also presents us with a splendid aural gimmick and a cleverly handled but fair case of identity confusion, both bang in the classic tradition.’
(Jack Adrian, BOOKS AND BOOKMEN)
KILLING NO MURDER
‘Howard Shaw, who teaches at Harrow and has written an historical study, THE LEVELLERS, has the public school mentality pegged, and has also managed to unobtrusively work into the plot his historical research on the earlier book. Not many authors have managed to get away with a trick like that and he is to be congratulated. Nothing else is wasted in this classical mystery either, and the characters are all well rounded.’
(MIAMI HERALD, USA)
‘This is a real attention-grabber, worth the money and the time. The author makes an impressive American debut with this book…
(NEWS-FREE PRESS, CHATTANOOGA, USA)
‘If you like British mysteries, long on atmosphere and rich in solid detective work, three superior products are now in the bookstores. Here’s the way Howard Shaw’s KILLING NO MURDER starts…’
(ERIE TIMES, USA)
PAGEANT OF DEATH
‘With his PEAGEANT OF DEATH he stands in a worthy line of descent from Sayers, Innes and Dexter as a creator of a closed academic community… He tells a cracking tale of lust, artistic forgery, antique weaponry and satisfying murder in a very believable setting… Chief Inspector Barnaby is just the right mixture of intelligence, tact and intuition…’
(Huon Mallalieu, COUNTRY LIFE)
‘The book lives up to all the best traditions of the whodunit with plenty of twists and red herrings, but what sets it apart from the run-of-the-mill is Shaw’s insight into the life of the boys’ boarding school… The author taught for over thirty years at Harrow. The Headmaster is worried about drugs, the housemasters vie with each other, the Common Room is divided between ‘hearties’ and arties’, and female staff are viewed with suspicion … I found myself chuckling throughout and have no hesitation in recommending it.’
(Paul Wickham, SOMERSET COUNTY GAZETTE)
Howard Shaw is currently working on a new crime novel, DEATH ON THE YONNE, a murder story set on a hotel barge cruising in northern Burgundy.
This is a love story, or rather two love stories, set against the backdrop of RAF Lancaster bombing raids over Germany and, after a crash landing, with a small French Resistance cell in South Eastern France. The story is a gripping read and feels very real and immediate despite the passage of time since the events described. The writer weaves in all human emotion between his hero James Chalmers, his bomber crew and ground support and with the extended French farming family and local villagers among whom he can pass as a distance cousin using his fluent French. The tragic ending, flagged from the opening pages, is no less powerful when the inevitable happens but is suffused and mollified by the central theme of enduring love.
by Iain Farrell
Howard Shaw was educated at Taunton School and The Queen’s College, Oxford, where he read Modern History. He was commissioned in the Royal Artillery during National Service and taught at Harrow School from 1961-1997, where he was at different times a House Master, Head of History and Registrar. In 1966 he was elected a Schoolmaster Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He has broadcast on seventeenth-century Puritanism on the old BBC Third Programme, contributed to History Today and written and historical study, The Levellers.
He turned to fiction as a form of light relief and his first detective novel Killing No Murder was published in the USA, France and the U.K.. He has written two further crime novels, Death of a Don and Pageant of Death, the first of which won critical acclaim in Britain and the USA, was a Mystery Guild selection, and was later re-published in the prestigious B.B.C. Black Dagger serial as a prime example of the genre.
Howard Shaw’s interests include classical music and sport. He played cricket for Somerset Colts and captained the Oswestry Garrison Rugby XV (which included two internationals!) during National Service.
Reviews of Howard Shaw’s previous novels (All available as Audiobooks from SOUNDINGS)