Death on the Holy Mountain
Lord Francis Powerscourt, No. 7
by David Dickinson
Death on the Holy Mountain is seventh in the Lord Francis
Powerscourt series. The era is Victorian England. †But in this mystery
Powerscourt travels home to Ireland.
Powerscourt is enjoying the arrival of his first published book when he receives a plea for help. Someone
is stealing Protestant landlord masterpieces going generations back. The life-size paintings are removed from
the walls and hauled out during the night. The thieves are never seen, which seems all the more curious.
The Protestant gentry refuse to reveal the blackmail demands. Even though Powerscourt is willing to help,
most of the landowners treat him with disrespect. After one member of the gentry threatens to bring 100
Orangemen to guard them, Powerscourt seeks advice from the Archbishop. During the meeting the Archbishopís
analysis of the mystery is enough to make the reader question: How are they getting the paintings without
being seen? Is it a boycott? Threats of death? Rebellion? Mere art thieves selling Americans fake Irish
relatives for their walls? What do they really want?
When Powerscourt takes the lead in catching the thieves the case turns deadly. A body is found during a
pilgrimage to Irelandís Holy Mountain (formally Croagh Patrick) located seven miles outside Westport. The
very mountain where Saint Patrick fasted forty days and nights.. Eventually, a couple paintings are
returned—repainted with a telling message. Powerscourt realizes intellect not manpower is needed to
solve this mystery.
This is a mystery steeped in Irish history, religious division, political differences, drinking donkeys,
cavorting youths, Protestant children singing Irish / Catholic rebellion songs, and mild humor. Itís not
an action-packed mystery; itís more of a whodunit / how-did-they-do-it brainteaser. Powerscourt and his
lovely wife are well-meaning, irresistible characters. You canít help but want it all to work out.
This is a series, and starting with the first in series is always
recommended. However, I donít recall any spoilers, nor did I feel
lost in beginning with Death
on the Holy Mountain. As a historical mystery reader, Iím
so happy to discover this series.
reviews in this series
Death of an Old Master, No 3
of a Chancellor, No 4
Called To The Bar, No 5
on the Nevskii Prospekt, No 6
on the Holy Mountain, No 7
Death of a Pilgrim, No 8
of a Wine Merchant,
Death in a Scarlet Coat, No 10 [review
Death at the Jesus Hospital, No 11 [review
Mystery / England / Ireland / 1905