Death at Knytte

Written by Jean Rowden
Review by Mike Ashworth

Sergeant Beddowes from Scotland Yard is sent to the West Country to investigate a spate of jewel robberies from country houses. Working closely with the local Constabulary he finds that life in the bucolic backwater can be just as dangerous as the stews of London. When the elderly Lord Pickhurst is murdered, a suspect is quickly arrested, but Beddowes’ suspicions are aroused by the behaviour of Lady Lucille, the dead man’s young, attractive widow. Is she the grieving widow she purports to be? Are the robberies connected to the murder? Will an innocent man go to the gallows?

The plot is plausible and moves along briskly, while the characters are well drawn and convincing. Less a crime novel and more a thriller, the story has pace, vivid descriptions and strong characters. The sex is colourful without being graphic, and helps to define the character of Lady Lucille, whose public persona is at odds with her private life. This is the fifth offering from Jean Rowden, and her many fans will certainly snap this up. Fans of the Victorian crime novel will also enjoy.