Shadow of the Past

Written by Judith Cutler
Review by Doug Kemp

Warwickshire 1811, and the second outing for the Rev. Tobias Campion, rector of the rural parish of Moreton St Jude. Despite a wealthy family background, Campion has chosen this relatively impecunious profession through personal commitment, and with his good friend Dr Edward Hansard, both are important members of the village and parish.

With the return to Moreton Hall of the widowed Lady Chase and subsequent discovery of a murdered stranger on her lands, Campion is involved in the search to uncover the truth, and also to find out about Lady Chase’s missing son and heir to the title and estate. Matters are further complicated by the presence of the odious Sir Marcus Bramhall and his family, Lady Chase’s nephew, and the heir to Moreton Hall if the son is indeed not alive. The author has a fine ear for the language and narrative of early 19th-century England, and together with an entertaining story and well-crafted plot, makes for excellent historical fiction – even though the identity of the murderer is rather flagged in advance of the denouement. My only negative observation is the unusually high number of printing errors and words repeated or missing in the text.