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The definitive novel about celebrity grave-robbing: completely original, very black, and very funny.

Jay Mason is experiencing a crisis of faith. Disillusioned with his calling as a Deacon in the Anglican Church of Geneva, and estranged from his pregnant girlfriend, he's about to fall into the murky world of celebrity grave-robbing.
His church has been bought by the shadowy antiquities dealer Joseph Moholy, who arrives to claim its most interesting asset: the toe bone of Thomas - Becket. Moholy has a large collection of dubiously acquired relics and is keen to add to his collection. Jay, he decides, is the man to assist him.
Jay finds that grave-robbing can be both lucrative and thrilling, however morally troubling for a man of God, and in Switzerland's cemeteries he finds a rich cast to work on: James Joyce, Richard Burton, John Calvin and Charlie Chaplin all receive his midnight attentions. But Moholy is a ruthless man whose ambitions are perilously high, and as Jay assists him in his search for the holy grail of relics, he puts himself and his loved ones in serious danger.


Excellent-Beard is a hugely playful novelist-Dry Bones is scabrous and profane, but also very human in a good way, and probably a little bit profound too

Independent on Sunday

A roller-coaster philosophical journey of Stoppard-like brilliance-Combining angst and farce in equal measure, Dry Bones is a very English comedy: Graham Greene meets David Lodge

Glasgow Herald

One of the most ingenious, resourceful and entertaining novelists in England

Philip Hensher

'Beard's writing can be breathtaking'

Daily Telegraph

'Richard Beard's prose is dry, nonchalant and fluent'

Times Literary Supplement

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    March 15, 2005


    368 pages

    RRP $26.99

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Also by Richard Beard

The Day That Went Missing
Acts of the Assassins
Lazarus Is Dead
Becoming Drusilla
Muddied Oafs


The Handmaid's Tale
To Kill A Mockingbird
Echo Burning
A Gentleman in Moscow
The Girl on the Train
The Golden House
Dragonfly In Amber
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time
Swing Time
The Mistress
Tiger Men
The Golden Age
Fifty Shades Darker
A Long Way from Home
Uncommon Type
The Trip of a Lifetime
The Light Between Oceans
Line of Fire
Ready Player One