Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: Constable & Robinson
Release Date: October 2002
ISBN: 1841195715
Format Reviewed: Hardcover
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Genre: Mystery / Historical Crime (1936 London and Home Counties, England)
Reviewer: Rachel A Hyde
Reviewer Notes:

Hollow Crown
Lord Edward Corinth and Verity Brown Murder Mysteries
By David Roberts

     Lord Edward Corinth and Verity Brown are back from their sojourn in Civil War-torn Spain and are ready for a third adventure in Hollow Crown. Gone is the John Bucham feel of the second book and we are firmly back in Dorothy L Sayers territory - or are we? This time, the sleuthing pair is trying to recover stolen letters belonging to the infamous Mrs. Wallis Simpson, and are plunged into a country house murder mystery involving some old friends and enemies encountered in earlier books.

     As ever, Verity Brown springs to full-blooded life as soon as she appears, and although Edward is no Lord Peter Wimsey, he is more fleshed-out this time and is starting to come into his own.

     Most novels have a plot and a setting, but David Roberts has turned this convention around and here the plot potters along in the background while the 1930s burst into full-blooded and un-put-down-able life. Short of a time machine or reading a novel written at the time, it is hard to imagine a more vibrant portrayal of this most ominous of decades.

     Verity is less sure about her Communist leanings now and one of the biggest treats is her tearful and disillusioned description of the atrocities of Toledo. Sir Oswald Mosley and the BUF, the Jarrow March, Edward VIII's abdication and the gradual slipping away of an old feudal Britain are the meat and potatoes here while the actual murder mystery fails to grip.

     The whodunits provide a framework to hang all the history on. To attain true genius, all this meticulous historical research ought to be married with a humdinger of a plot. But with history this alive, somehow one doesn't care, and looks forward eagerly to the next installment.

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