Cover image for Barking!
Evans, Liz.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London : Orion, 2001.
Physical Description:
311 pages ; 22 cm

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Stuart Roberts is a mild-mannered, shy accountant suffering from nightmares in which he remembers committing a violent murder (possibly two) and wants to know if they really happened. Grace doesn't want to take the case on the grounds that murders tend to mean there's someone who is prepared to kill around and she'd rather pass - thanks very much. However, these are killings with a difference: they took place nearly thirty years before Stuart was born. During his dreams Stuart becomes 'Joe' and has vivid recollections of life as a hop farmer's son, a world Stuart swears he knows absolutely nothing about. Despite her scepticism Grace has never been able to resist the lure of an unlimited expense account, so she takes the job. And then discovers that her client isn't quite what he appears to be ...

Author Notes

Liz Evans is in her early forties. She has worked in all sorts of companies from plastic moulding manufacturers to Japanese banks through to film production and BBC Radio. She was born in Highgate, went to school in Barnet and now lives in Hertfordshire.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Touted as "England's answer to Janet Evanovich," Evans fills the bill with wild and weird plots and a heroine--the rather charmlessly monikered Grace Smith--who is nearly as spunky, sassy, and wacky as Stephanie Plum. This third book in the series has Grace involved with mild-mannered accountant Stuart Roberts, who believes he is a reincarnated murderer guilty of killing his father five decades earlier. In the course of her investigation of Stuart's allegation, Grace encounters a pampered bulldog who turns into a media star, an aging rock singer with a string of disgruntled ex-wives, a manipulative hypnotist bent on revenge, an egotistical cop who will talk but only for a price Grace is unwilling to pay, and a coked-up killer with an elaborate arsenal of guns and knives. There's also a shootout in a swimming pool. Great fun and good laughs--sure to appeal to those who like their heroines cheeky, charming, and crazy. --Emily Melton

Publisher's Weekly Review

Those with a taste for oddball working-class female PIs should go for Grace Smith, heroine of three earlier mysteries from British author Evans (Who Killed Marilyn Monroe?) and now making her slightly zany American debut. Grace loves her tacky Seatoun beachfront with its perpetual fried-food smell. One morning while in pursuit of her friend Arlene's perennially flatulent and spoiled-to-death bulldog, Waterloo, and wielding a large beef bone for bait, she accidentally bashes the head of Stuart Roberts, a stammering accountant. Learning of her occupation, Stuart confides his fear that he may have killed someone and asks her help. He offers tapes of hypnotherapy sessions describing events that occurred almost 30 years before he was born to support his suspicions. Then, facing eye surgery, Arlene leaves Waterloo in Grace's less-than-enthusiastic care. The animal soon becomes an unlikely hero and instant media darling by rescuing rock star Rick Alaimo's small daughter from drowning when Grace snoops about an estate once owned by Stuart's distant relatives and now occupied by the celebrity and his supremely dysfunctional family. Caught off guard when the mild-mannered numbers cruncher appears in their midst, she begins to have second thoughts about her client as she digs deeper into his tangled past. Evans's skill at placing people solidly on their own turf, be it manor house or beach cottage, keeps the quirkier aspects of the case on a firm footing. Mystery Guild Book Club selection. (Jan. 1) Forecast: "England's answer to Janet Evanovich" states the cover blurb from the TLS, but since Grace lacks the extended family that accounts for a lot of Stephanie Plum's appeal, Evanovich fans may not be so enchanted. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In her U.S. debut, Grace Smith, one of Britain's more unnerving private eyes, raises an eyebrow when asked to verify that her client did indeed murder a woman in a previous life. Armed with tapes of the client's regression therapy, Grace begins some painstaking work while at the same time minding an unruly dog for a friend. A sprightly old lady, a large manor house fallen upon hard times, the colorful owner of a local "tip," and scintillating support characters all handled with humor and aplomb recommend this to all collections. [A Mystery Guild Book Club selection.] (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.