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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

‘Wycliffe And The Pea-Green Boat’
By W.J. Burley

On the morning of Wednesday 24th June, Morley Tremain lay, between sleeping and waking, Vaguely aware of familiar sounds from the shop below and from the street. Every now and then came the jangling of the shop door-bell, a sound which had been part of the background of his life for as long as he could remember. And there were voices, his mother’s and the customers’, audible only as a confused murmer. Down the street, the baker, who had a hole in the roof of his mouth, was loading wire trays of cakes and bread into his van and greeting passers-by in his garbled speech.

Morley opened his eyes and looked at the clock. Half-past eight. He was on holiday, in the second week of his annual leave from his job at the clay works. He was a wages clerk, though his mother told people that he was an accountant. The sun was shining as it had been for four or five days and, through the window with its little square panes, he could see blue sky above the roofs of the houses opposite….


A picture button for book beginnings at Rose City ReaderWould the first few lines of your book make you want to read on?

If so, would you like to share them with us, (without revealing too many spoilers of course) ?

Click here and visit your host, Gilion @ Rose City Reader

You can then leave a link to your own book beginnings post, or just browse for some great reads, there are always plenty of new authors and titles to be discovered.

Don’t forget that Gilion and all the other contributors to this meme love to hear from you, so why not leave a comment or two at the same time?

I can’t wait to do a little blog hopping myself and check out all the great Book Beginnings you have!


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I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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    • Hi Bev,

      These may not be the most action packed opening lines, however they are certainly descriptive and give a great sense of time and place.

      Taking into account that this, book 6 in the ‘Wycliffe’ series, was written back in 1975, I am expecting a police procedural which fits the era.

      Thanks for stopping by, I always appreciate your comments and enjoy your weekend 🙂

  • I agree with Bev, I love that opening! I have been reading some heavy fiction, Ice Whispers by K. Willow. It’s a great book, a little heavy like I said but still fantastic! Burley’s book will be a great transition!!

    • Hi Jerri,

      The ‘Wycliffe’ book is definitely much more lightweight than ‘Ice Whispers’. However the series, which started back in 1968 and ran until 2000, with some 22 stories, did morph and change successfully, in emphasis and style, with the progress of time.

      ‘Ice Whispers’ actually sounds really good and not lengthy enough to get too bogged down by the storyline. My only nagging doubt, is that the ending of the book might be left unresolved, thus leaving a wide opening, ready for the continuation of the series. I shall be interested in following comments and reviews to see if that is the case, before adding it to my own list, as I only generally read books where the story is an encapsulated unit, with a beginning, middle and end!

      Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your comment, although it is a shame that if you have a blog, you omitted to leave a link, so that I might return the visit 🙂

    • Hi Katherine,

      You can always rely on your mother to talk up a situation, can’t you 🙂

      I can remember the traditional ‘corner shop’, which was on almost every street corner of the country and what you couldn’t buy there, was delivered around the houses by a series of tradesmen.

      The shopkeepers always lived above the premises and most of them worked almost around the clock, in order to earn a living and service the community.

      I don’t know if in the US, you have come across a BBC programme called “Open All Hours”, but that is just what it was like in the 1950s and 60s


      Thanks for stopping by. Your comments took me completely off track, but then that’s the beauty of sharing information 🙂

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      I think, that were this series to be written with this amazing portfolio of titles today, then it would be automatically assumed that they were ‘cozy’ mysteries.

      However, given that the final book in the series of 22, was published way back in the year 2000, then I can only put the title choices down to fact that Inspector Wycliffe was very much at home in Cornwall, the setting for the stories and they are therefore simply a reflection of the pace of life, together with the manner and bearing of the local population.


      The debut book in the series has to be my favourite, “Wycliffe And The Three-Toed Pussy”!

      Thanks for stopping by and I hope that you had a good weekend 🙂

    • Hi Julie,

      Thanks for stopping by Fiction Books this week. I do enjoy ‘meeting’ new people and always value any visits and comments 🙂

      Browsing your blog through some of the books you have read, the ‘Wycliffe’ series might be a little slow for you. However having said that, the solid police procedural and development of the characters over the course of time, more than makes up for the lack of action and after all, who would want to rush around too much, if you lived in beautiful Cornwall 🙂

      Have a great weekend and ‘Happy Reading’

  • This is not a series I’m familiar with, but I do find these lines intriguing. (not that I’m willing to jump into the middle of a series, as you well know! 😉 )

    I finally finished Fourth of July Creek and look forward to starting something new. It’s not often I’m truly disappointed in a book, but as you’ll see when I review it, it definitely fell short for me.

    • Hi Kelly,

      I’m sorry that after all the time it took you to read ‘Fourth Of July Creek’ you were so disappointed with it. If you are anything like me, you will keep forging ahead with a book in the hope that it is going to get better when you turn the next page, so it is almost doubly disappointing when it doesn’t! … I guess that neither of us know to quit when we are ahead 🙂

      The ‘Wycliffe’ series started way back in the 1970s, so the writing in the earlier books very much reflects the pace and style of the times. Many years ago, I read one of the more recent books and have to admit that author W.J. Burley, does do a very good job at bringing the storylines and characters into the modern times.

      ‘Wycliffe’ was also a very popular television series here, back in the 1990s and once again, as the series progresses, so the characters evolve to adapt to the changing times.


      There are over 20 books in the series, so I can’t imagine that you are going to want to go right back to the beginning to read them … but you never know, one day? 🙂

    • Hi Nikki,

      This one is definitely a change of pace and emphasis, from the run of psychological thrillers I have read of late.

      Did you ever watch the television series of ‘Wycliffe’? If so, you will know straightaway what I mean!

      If I had to pigeon-hole ‘Wycliffe’, I would put him somewhere between Agatha Christie’s ‘Poirot’ and R.D. Wingfield’s ‘Jack Frost’.

      This may sound irreverent, knowing the esteem in which he was held by so many people as a brilliant author, but I have never been drawn to the books of Terry Pratchett. Fantasy is very much a genre I can take or leave and one I generally only consider as an author review request.

      Thank for stopping by. I hope that all is well with you 🙂

  • Wonderfully descriptive, I love these first lines. Thank you for sharing.

    The kind of books I like usually begin by telling you about the family you’re going to meet. ‘The Fossil sisters lived in Cromwell Road.’ ‘They were not railway children to begin with.’ They have each other, that’s what the author wants you to know.
    – The Butterfly Summer by Harriet Evans.

    • Hi Tracy,

      I too enjoy and look out for a good descriptive opening passage, which actually gives away something about the place or characters, I am going to encounter during the course of the book.

      I don’t know if you ever caught the ‘Wycliffe’ series on television back in the 1990s, however Jack Shepherd, who took the part of Wycliffe, played a role perfect interpretation of the character from the books.


      I already have ‘The Butterfly Summer’ on my list and what a coincidence that this story is also set in Cornwall, just like Wycliffe. I must admit to being a little disappointed with the previous book I read by Harriet Evans. It was a Goodreads Giveaway win called ‘A Place For Us’ and it sounded and looked by the page count, that I was going to receive a full-length story. I was therefore rather surprised, that when the parcel arrived, I only received part one of a four part story, which was then later released for a second time, as a complete, full-length book. I have never bothered to either purchase the complete book, or the remaining installments and I do hope that ‘drip-feeding’ a story to readers is not going to be the next great gimmick!

      I hope that you enjoy ‘The Butterfly Summer’ and thanks for stopping by 🙂

Written by Yvonne