It is 1935 and the Duke of Mersham is hosting a party at his country house, when one of the guests is poisoned. Was it an accident or something more sinister? The Duke's younger brother, Lord Edward Corinth, and journalist Verity Browne, set out to investigate.
David Roberts worked in publishing for over 30 years, most recently as partner in Michael O'Mara books, before giving up to devote his energies to writing full time. He is married and divides his time between London and Wiltshire.
As Hitler flexes his military muscles in 1930s Germany, England's Duke of Mersham attempts to do his pacifist bit by inviting a German diplomat to his ancestral pile for dinner. Guests include (among others) a wealthy newspaper publisher, a member of the foreign office, an antiwar bishop, and a famous general opposed to any British accommodation of Hitler. Unfortunately for the duke, the general keels over dead at dinner, poisoned by one of those present. The duke's younger brother, Lord Edward Corinth, takes on the investigation, aided byVerity Browne, a young journalist. First-time author Roberts expertly captures the flavor of the times, recommending this finely tuned historicalDthe first in a new seriesDfor all collections. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
In this workmanlike novel death comes to General Sir Alistair Craig, a WWI veteran with a checkered past, with the serving of the after-dinner port at the lavish home of the duke of Mersham. The setting is England in the '30s. The dinner topic is Adolf Hitler's sudden rise to power. The dinner guests include a pretty communist writer, a pacifist clergyman, a powerful newspaper tycoon and a Nazi. Was Craig a suicide? He was in poor health, despondent over his wife's recent death, and his wartime acts of cruelty to POWs were about to be made public. Or was it murder by cyanide poisoning? Never veering far from formula, this debut historical whodunit provides a sketchily drawn series of suspects snatched straight from central casting. The sleuthing team comprises Lord Edward Corinth, the duke's dashing younger brother, and Verity Browne, the commie scribe with a rich daddy. They clash predictably and set off the occasional romantic salvo, which naturally goes undetected by one another. Roberts neglects the tiresome catalogue of reasons why the obvious suspects would cheerfully murder the general to focus instead on poor Hermione, the drug-addicted daughter of newspaper magnate Lord Weaver. Hermione's travails seem a weird inclusion, since she's pretty much the only guest without a decent motive to kill Craig. Period-piece murder tales are lamentably legion, and this newest entry displays little to distinguish it. (Jan. 1) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Readers waiting for another Christie redux will find great pleasure in this thoroughly enjoyable first novel. - Booklist