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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.

Other reviews in this series

Death & The Jubilee, No 2
Death of an Old Master
, No 3
Death of a Chancellor, No 4
Death Called To The Bar, No 5
Death on the Nevskii Prospekt, No 6
Death on the Holy Mountain, No 7
Death of a Pilgrim,
No 8
Death of a Wine Merchant
, No 9
Death in a Scarlet Coat, No 10 [review 1] [review 2]
Death at the Jesus Hospital, No 11 [review 1] [review 2]

The Book

Soho Constable
April 1, 2008
Hardcover
1569475032 / 978-1569475034
Historical Mystery / England / Ireland / 1905
More at Amazon.com

The Reviewer

Brenda Weeaks
Reviewed 2009
© 2009 MyShelf.com