In A City of Strangers, Barnard creates one of his most memorable characters ever; the dreadful Jack Phelan. Dirty, potbellied, vulgar, selfish, Jack is a man everyone loves to hate. And the rest of his family isn’t much better. The wife is slatternly, the teenaged children flirt with petty crime and prostitution, even the baby is unpleasant. Only twelve-year-old Michael Phelan seems to have escaped the family curse, and it may be just a question of time until he, too, sinks to the Phelan level.
Robert Barnard (1936-2013) was awarded the Malice Domestic Award for Lifetime Achievement and the Nero Wolfe Award, as well as the Agatha and Macavity awards. An eight-time Edgar nominee, he was a member of Britain's distinguished Detection Club, and, in May 2003, he received the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for lifetime achievement in mystery writing. His most recent novel, Charitable Body, was published by Scribner in 2012.