Death and the Cornish Fiddler

Written by Deryn Lake
Review by Sara Wilson


When newly widowed John Rawlings and his daughter Rose are invited to accompany Elizabeth di Lorenzi to Helstone for the annual Floral (or Furry) Dance, they jump at the chance. A rural festival seems just the place to relax and enjoy the Countess’s company. They are sadly mistaken. First a young child disappears, and then a known courtesan is found murdered in her bed. Mystery and danger seem to lurk round every corner, and how is the enigmatic blind fiddler involved?

Rawlings decides to investigate, not realising that he might be putting his own daughter at risk – especially when he is increasingly distracted by his feelings for the beautiful Elizabeth.

I must confess I love these John Rawlings mysteries, and Death and the Cornish Fiddler is up there with the best of them. Deryn Lake goes to great pains to evoke what is a very real sense of the mid-18th century – complete with all its sounds, smells, attitudes and social mores. With all his faults, John Rawlings is an agreeable fellow. Every novel seems to add a new facet to his character, and in this his latest outing, his relationship with his young daughter is developing especially well. Here’s hoping the series long continues.