When W. J. Burley’s Detective Superintendent Wycliffe reflects on how the study of the human species is far more engaging than the study of animals, he speaks for the author as well. Before Burley turned to writing mysteries past the age of fifty, he was a professionally trained zoologist. His novels are studies of human psychology and sociology, particularly of the inhabitants of small towns. Wycliffe is an engaging but not fully developed character who acts as the means through which readers encounters a range of interesting personalities and situations. The strength of the novels is in the local color Burley evokes and in his strong characterizations of the people Wycliffe observes. Though Burley—long a member but not a participant in the Crime Writers’ Association—won no major awards for his writing, he was honored in a more tangible way by having his Wycliffe series dramatized on television. The popular broadcasts (more numerous than his books) not only provided considerable wherewithal to the author but also introduced his work to a large audience.