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Death in Hellfire
A John Rawlings Mystery, Book Twelve

by Deryn Lake

      If you think that Sir John Fielding and John Rawlings, Apothecary, make a good team, then how about adding Sir Francis Dashwood into the mixture for an even better one? In this twelfth novel John, aided and abetted by his old friend Samuel, is dispatched to West Wycombe to find out what this Hellfire Club is all about, and whether Sir Francis is up to anything seditious. He will have to go undercover, pretending to be a younger son of an Irish peer, but this all adds to the excitement. Once there, he finds himself face to face with an old lover and her husband...

There is something cozy about these books. They continue to deliver the goods and therefore remain one of my very favorite series of historical mysteries. Maybe it is the keen manner in which John goes about his investigations, his cheerful ménage or the cracking pace of the plots themselves. For a story involving sex, syphilis and sin, a good-humoured glow hovers over it all, rendering it highly readable and wonderful escapist stuff. By book twelve the characters are old friends, and one of the joys about long running series is that each new story allows the reader to catch up, soap opera wise, with their daily lives. Rose has a new governess, Nicholas has a new girlfriend and Samuel is back on the scene, all adding to the general air of bonhomie and giving the tales a more well-rounded character. Long may the series continue to delight.

The Book

Allison & Busby
December 2007
Historical Crime / 1767, West Wycombe, England
More at US || UK
NOTE: Some sex

The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2008
© 2008