PROBLEM OF THE SURLY SERVANT
By Roberta Rogow
Robert Hale - June 2002
ISBN 0709070527 HB
1886, Oxford, England
Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde, MyShelf.com
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This is the fourth case for the unlikely pair of amateur sleuths Rev. Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll). the curator of Christ Church College, Oxford and the volatile young doctor/writer Arthur Conan Doyle. Dodgson finds the college wine cellar missing some choice bottles of wine missing from the college wine cellar. He is investigating a case of pilfering when Doyle and his wife come to visit, breaking their journey to see Doyle's insane father. But there is more to uncover as a young female student from Lady Margaret Hall is being blackmailed with a photo Dodgson took of her as a young girl in the nude and soon the dead body of a servant is added to the mix, as well as a young sprig of the aristocracy who doesn't appear to be too choosy about how he raises money.
Dodgson and Doyle never met, but this book manages to present a good idea of what might have happened if they had and has a lot of fun doing it. Rogow also serves up a wonderfully evocative picture of the closed world of an Oxford college in the late 19th century and a good image of the city as a whole. This provides the background for a tantalizing plot as well as a social comment about female students, topped with the strong characters of the two protagonists who both seem to have the ring of realism about them. This is a great development from the tentative beginnings in the first book. In short, a series that is turning out nicely.
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