Constable & Robinson
Date: October 2002
it at Amazon US
Mystery / Historical Crime (1936 London and Home Counties, England)
Rachel A Hyde
Corinth and Verity Brown Murder Mysteries
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
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.
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.
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