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The Forth Contention
The Newest Darmon Mystery

By Thomas Thorpe

    Elizabeth and William Darmon are in danger of having their estate Mayfair confiscated by the government. To prevent this, they need to prove ownership, which means tracking down a missing deed. Sounds simple enough, but time is short and the deed has been very well hidden in the face of efforts going back hundreds of years by a family named Forth to try to seize a property they believe should have been theirs in the first place.

    The search for the missing deed takes the Darmons and their friends far from the English countryside into a series of adventures involving the Egyptian Sphinx, Greek freedom fighters, Turkish prisons, and Mediterranean pirates. All the while stumbling across a succession of people with Forth in their name, until it becomes clear they are battling some sort of incredibly wide ranging family based conspiracy that involves much more than just an attempt to take away Mayfair.

   The Forth Contention is second in a series (the Darmons are series heroes) described by the author as tales of adventure and mystery involving international crime during the early 1800's. That emphasis on adventure is a good guide to the story. This is not the book for someone looking for a meticulously crafted historical mystery. The prose has some rough edges and the historical accuracy is mixed, pairing accuracy about some quite esoteric details with a less than sure grasp of others - e.g. there was no Scotland Yard in 1825, Lady Carlisle and Lady Catherine are not interchangeable titles. However, if you're looking for a roller coaster action-adventure ride with an historical background, full to bursting with travel to exotic places, mysterious conspiracies, unlikely coincidences, hidden rooms, and cryptic messages, then this could be just the story for you.

The Book

Port Town Publishing
December 2004
Historical Crime [1825-1826 England, Egypt, Greece, Turkey
& France]
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The Reviewer

Kim Malo
Reviewed 2005
© 2005