The Murder in Whirligig Lane
In October 1813, Gibraltar is now safe from Napoleon, thanks to Nelson and Wellington, but an older and merciless enemy is now attacking the people of the Rock: yellow fever. Army Sergeant Miles is supervising the carts that are carrying away the dead. When he enters a house to remove a victim he finds that the beautiful Spanish woman within has died, not from fever, but by murder.
Sergeant Miles immediately informs District Health Officer and amateur detective Giovanni Bresciano, a native Gibraltarian, part of a community that was multicultural long before the term was coined.
With the aid of Sergeant Miles, who has been assigned by the town major to help him, Bresciano soon comes up with a long list of suspects, civilian, naval, and military, male and female. Who was the late Magdalena Guzman de Forsdyke in reality, and what was her relationship with her self-important uncle?
The plot has more turns than the narrow streets of Gibraltar itself and is complicated further when the lonely widower Bresciano finds himself being attracted to one of the female suspects. There is even a touch of postmodernism, when one of the characters, a Captain Wentworth RN, receives a copy of a novel called Sense and Sensibility by A Lady.
The Murder in Whirligig Lane passes the Good Mystery Test, because the dénouement is unforeseeable, in spite of a generous supply of clues, and yet plausible. I read it at one sitting, and look forward to Bresciano’s next case. It also made me want to pay another visit to Gibraltar. (Available from http://www.calpepress.com.)