Death in a Scarlet Coat
Death in a Scarlet Coat is set in Lincolnshire at the beginning of the 20th century. The 15th earl of Candlesby is found dead on the morning of the hunt, dressed in his scarlet coat, and wrapped in blankets some way from the bottom of the drive of the decaying ancestral home – Candlesby Hall. His death is recorded by the local doctor as ‘natural causes’. But the doctor himself is old and ill and on his deathbed, and confesses to Lord Francis Powerscourt that the death certificate was false – that the earl was, in fact, murdered and asks him to investigate. Shortly afterwards another member of the family meets a violent end. Is there a connection?
This is the first book I have read in this series and regret to say that I found it heavy going. Mention of Lloyd George and his ‘People’s Budget’ of 1909 sets the year of the tale, but other than that I can see no reason for it being classed as an historical novel rather than a general crime one. I found the dialogue slow and ponderous in places, the characters not all that convincing, and with the many errors not picked up in the proofreading, it came over to me as a rather amateur publication. Death of a Chancellor, the fourth in this Lord Powerscourt series, was long-listed in 2007 for Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year. Old peculiar sums it up nicely.