Letter from a Dead Man

Written by Dawn Harris
Review by John Manhold

The main protagonist is the daughter of a member of the landed aristocracy on the Isle of Wight, a landowner who has recently passed away after having ferreted out many of the secrets of the island and committed them to writing. His daughter, Drusilla, who helped in much of his research, continues her well-honed investigations, especially after one of society’s most prominent and influential members takes a fatal fall from a horse under circumstances that don’t appear quite right. The story progresses to involve a number of relatives, close friends, servants, and important citizens of the surrounding villages and the mainland. The machinations are all quite involved and complicated by the constant threat of murderous smugglers war with French revolutionaries. The plot is involved but totally interesting, easily establishing empathy even with those characters who aren’t want they appear to be, and the writing well portrays the tone of the British aristocracy of the era. A delightful murder mystery in an 18th-century setting.