David Dickinson’s murder mysteries featuring Lord Francis Powerscourt are always a pleasure to dive into, especially after a period of time has elapsed for the reader since absorbing the last novel.
Whilst the series ought to be read in order of publication (and therefore keeping up with the growth of his children), it is entirely possible to dip into each novel out of order. The prose is excellent, providing enough background notes when introducing each character that the reader takes each to heart and becomes emotionally attached to all (though possibly not the evil doers).
This is number three in the series (of which the SMSA library holds the first two) and enters the murky world of the London art scene in 1899, forgeries and Old Masters paintings.
Lord Francis is called upon to investigate the murder by garroting of two young men, the first of whom is a rising Renaissance art expert and a distant relative of his beloved wife Lady Lucy. The second murder victim is a close friend of the first. Lord Francis, ably aided by Major Fitzgerald and William McKenzie, his old colleagues from the war in India, and Lady Lucy and her many relatives, race against time to find the murderer before an innocent man is hanged. The true criminal turns out to be a real surprise.
Thoroughly enjoyed and recommended.
Reviewed by Belinda Coombs
Mystery and Crime Reading Group