'As he turned ... he had the extraordinary impression of a man in full armour rearing up in front of him ... It was the last thing he saw, before he hurtled downwards to a certain death'
An untimely death and the reappearance of a ghost lead television reporter Jemima Shore into a mysterious case of sex, violence and the supernatural.
When the butler plummets from the battlements of Lackland Court, it becomes clear that the ghost of the legendary Civil War poet and soldier, Decimus Meredith, is not the only suspect. Jemima must look to history and delve deep into the ancient hall's past to solve yet another baffling mystery.
In her seventh Jemima Shore ( Oxford Blood ) novel, Fraser deftly brings together her two previously separate fortes, history and mystery. In an unusual premise, long-dead viscount and Cavalier poet Decimus Meredith repeatedly exits his portrait on the wall to haunt his 20th-century heirs. The contemporary viscount, suave and manipulative ladies' man and tennis star ``Handsome Dan'' Meredith, has unconventional visions about keeping up expensive Lackland Court. Dan would model its grounds into very different kinds of courts, where he and his fashionable friends would serve tennis balls and be served ``designer drinks'' between matches. Shore, a TV commentator, agrees to create a program about ghosts in country houses at the same time that she falls in love with a portrait she has been lent, which, coincidentally, features Decimus Meredith. Meanwhile, preparations for a costumed Cavalier Celebration at Lackland Court are upset by a death, a startling discovery and an attack by the resident ghost. Jemima's clearheaded sleuthing sorts out the many suspects, some of whom fit historical roles in the family history. Fraser's own love of history enriches this light, amusingly narrated but essentially sad story of a family haunted by betrayal and obsessed with a poetic past.