By Roberta Rogow
Robert Hale - June 2002
ISBN 0709070527 HB
Historical Crime
1886, Oxford, England

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde,
Buy a US || UK Copy

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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