An Instance of the Fingerpost, Iain Pears's highly acclaimed bestseller, has all the compelling elements of a superb literary-historical thriller. The scene, set with exquisite accuracy, is Oxford in the 1660s with Charles II restored to a shaky throne. The characters, some fictitious, some real, are created with flawless strokes and recreated for this audio with an equally flawless reading by Paul Michael. The mystery central to the story is the murder of a most unpleasant Oxford don, and you experience the happenings surrounding it through the eyes of four very different characters. This makes the plot, ingenious as it is, all the more intricate and the book all the more revelatory of the world as it was in 17th-century England.

Reviewed by Sukey Howard.

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