A Just and Upright Man
As overseer to Lord Ravenshead, James Blakiston is a busy man, but not too busy to take the time to solve the mystery of Reuben Cooper’s murder. A newcomer to the Durham parish of Ryton, Blakiston is met with a mixture of welcome and suspicion by the locals as he pursues his enquiry into the killing of the villager, and also goes about his job as overseer. Set against a background of the late 18th century threat of enclosure, and with numerous nice subplots running through it, A Just and Upright Man is a delightful read. An absolute gem, R.J Lynch’s tale put me in mind of Winston Graham’s Poldark, with its superb gamut of colourful characters, all of whom come alive on the page and capture your imagination. There are plenty of skeletons in cupboards here, as past actions catch up with many, including Blakiston, as he fights his attraction to the beautiful and spirited Kate Greener, a woman beneath his class but who he finds captivating.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, not only an extremely well-constructed mix of historical, crime and romance but a tale of real people and village life that one felt fully absorbed in. The historical fact was extremely well researched and seemed flawless. I cannot praise this book highly enough, it was a novel I did not want to end…so I am delighted to see that it is the first of a planned series – I will be rushing out to purchase the sequel when it is published. A truly superb novel and indie publishing at its very best.