The Office Of The Dead by Andrew Taylor
Published by HarperCollins
Published 5 June 2014
I have the complete Roth Trilogy on my kindle, combined and re-named Fallen Angel: The Roth Trilogy. As the books are complex I’ve decided to review each one separately rather have a long-winded review trying to cover all three novels.
WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT
Like an archaeological dig, The Roth Trilogy strips away the past to reveal the menace lurking in the present: ‘Taylor has established a sound reputation for writing tense, clammy novels that perceptively penetrate the human psyche’ – Marcel Berlins, The Times.
The shadow of past evil hangs over the present in Andrew Taylor’s Roth Trilogy as he skilfully traces the influences that have come to shape the mind of a psychopath.
Beginning, in The Four Last Things, with the abduction of little Lucy Appleyard and a grisly discovery in a London graveyard, the layers of the past are gradually peeled away through The Judgement of Strangers and The Office of the Dead to unearth the dark and twisted roots of a very immediate horror that threatens to explode the serenity of Rosington’s peaceful Cathedral Close.
‘I’m nobody’ Rosie said.
It was the first thing she said to me. I’d just pushed open the door in the wall and there she was. She wore red sandals and a cotton dress, cream-coloured with tiny blue flowers embroidered on the bodice, and there were blue ribbons in her blonde hair. The ribbons and flowers matched her eyes. She was very tidy, like the garden, like everything that was Janet’s.
WHAT I THOUGHT
I thought The Office of the Dead was great. I enjoyed it a bit more than The Judgement of Strangers but not as much as The Four Last Things. Once again, the book has a different narrator, an old friend of Rosemary’s mother, the woman who becomes the mother of Michael who causes Rosemary’s downfall in The Judgement of Strangers. I liked her voice and it was a pleasure to read the story from her point of view. The Office of the Dead is set when Rosemary aka Angel, the child killer is just a toddler. Events in this novel set the seeds of whom and what she will eventually become. There is a lot going on in The Office of the Dead and it’s not just about Rosemary. We meet David, Rosemary’s father as a much younger man. We meet Rosemary’s mother, Janet, who is mentioned only briefly in the other books. We meet Rosemary’s grandfather who may, or may not have had a hand in her murderous ways. Events are never quite as grim as the other two books but there is a lot of tragedy and poor choices. I just want to say one thing – the adults in The Office of the Dead are flawed and very stupid. Rosemary does something awful, something that is not normal for a toddler and the further tragedies this causes and the hush-up infuriated me. That kind of bad parenting leads to dismembered body parts being found in cemeteries. Just saying. Do I feel I understand how Rosemary became the monster she is in The Four Last Things? No, not really. She kills because she is evil and not because some trauma messed her up. Nevertheless, this a hugely enjoyable novel and I’ve loved reading the series. I now want to re-watch the TV to see what I think of it now.