Invitation to Die (Inspector Redfyre Mysteries)

Written by Barbara Cleverly
Review by Gini Grossenbacher

The author of Fall of Angels returns with Detective Inspector (DI) John Redfyre in Cambridge during the early summer of 1924. The clever young detective becomes entangled in a series of murders, all seemingly related to St. Bede’s College and the long-forgotten Boer War. Redfyre discovers a neatly positioned corpse on a graveyard tombstone adjoining the university. The body bears the card, “An Invitation to Dine,” along with an empty bottle of brandy. The coroner reveals the victim died by strangulation, and Redfyre links the homicide to a series of unsolved cases pointing to a St. Bede’s dining club. His careful investigation links the multiple victims to an incident in the Boer War in which a troop of soldiers’ discovery and theft of diamonds unsheathes the worst and most treacherous aspects of human nature.

This novel grows on the reader since the slow beginning is shrouded in unknowns and strange incidences, such as the odd behavior of a homeless man who turns out to play a role in the story later. A patient reader unearths the soldier’s tale of murder and mayhem during the Boer War, and watches as the soldiers’ oath of loyalty breaks in the face of greed, corruption, and self-aggrandizement. The plot twists and turns gain in complexity and speed until DI John Redfyre cracks the case, surprising even himself. An enjoyable read with lots of historical detail.