A murder mystery featuring Lord Edward Corinth and Verity Browne.
August 1935. The Duke of Mersham's exclusive party ends in tragedy as General Sir Alistair Craig VC collapses, victim of a poisoned glass of port, just as Lord Edward Corinth and Verity Browne join the soirée.
The unlikely pair - the younger son of a duke and a journalist committed to the Communist Party - find common ground as they seek the truth and discover that everyone present that evening, including the Duke of Mersham himself, had motive for wanting Sir Alistair out of the picture.
But more deaths will follow before Lord Edward and Verity can get to the bottom of this intriguing mystery...
Praise for David Roberts:
'A classic murder mystery [...] and a most engaging pair of amateur sleuths' Charles Osborne, author of The Life and Crimes of Agatha Christie
'A gripping, richly satisfying whodunit with finely observed characters, sparkling with insouciance and stinging menace' Peter James
'A really well-crafted and charming mystery story' Daily Mail
'A perfect example of golden-age mystery traditions with the cobwebs swept away' Guardian
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.