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The Gold Masters
Insp. Box and Sgt. Knollys series #4

by Norman Russell

      Another case for those Scotland Yard stalwarts, Detective Inspector Box and mighty Sergeant Knollys, this time involving spiritualism and high finance. Sir Hamo Strange and Lord Jocelyn Peto are two "gold masters," men so rich that they lend money to nations. They are also bitter rivals when it comes to owning valuable old books, and a particularly rare bible is likely to be the undoing of one of them - but which one? Seemingly unconnected is the tale of PC Lane's recently dead daughter and a temple of spiritualists certain of whom are keen to let him speak to the deceased. Inspector Box smells a rat and starts to investigate.

I always enjoy Russell's books, but this is possibly the most ordinary and not his strongest plot. A little more of the sensational and some surprises could have been in order, and I can only assume that he intends to continue with another story involving some of the characters, as the ending is unsatisfactory. Still, any Russell novel is worth reading, and this tale of bank robbery and spiritualism is entertaining, with his usual flashes of humor and links to his other stories. There is not much of a whodunit in here to solve, as most of it is already known to the reader, a plot device that needs more in-depth psychological insight and a deal of panache to really work.

The Book

Robert Hale
31 March 2006
Historical Mystery [1893, London, UK]
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2006
© 2006