The Gold Masters

Written by Norman Russell
Review by Sara Wilson


Sir Hamo Strange and Lord Jocelyn Peto are both Victorian gentleman bankers and collectors of rare ancient books. Rivals at work and play, their enmity knows no bounds. When theft and then a murder bring them to the attention of the authorities, Detective Inspector Box and Sergeant Knollys are put on the case.

Matters come to a head when vast quantities of bullion are apparently stolen from Sir Hamo Strange’s bank vaults under the very noses of the police. But enquiries take an even more unexpected turn when Box discovers that a group of questionable mediums are mixed up in events. The solution to the case is not going to be easy to prove—especially when it looks increasingly likely that the government might be involved.

Norman Russell specialises in Victorian detective novels and The Gold Masters maintains his reputation for creating thoroughly entertaining mystery stories. Box and Knollys are a great literary pairing, managing to be both likeable and yet remaining a touch abrasive. The subplot involving the classic Victorian mediums is particularly well-handled, debunking the majority and yet retaining an elusive whiff of plausibility. A good read.