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Death of a Wine Merchant
Lord Francis Powerscourt Mystery, No 9

by David Dickinson

    At a society wedding in Norfolk, just as the guests are about to toast the happy couple, a servant stumbles upon the dead body of the groomís father. Even worse than this is the indisputable fact that the dead manís own brother is seated opposite clutching the gun that clearly did the deed. But is he guilty of more than just this? As Cosmo Colville languishes in jail awaiting trial and the noose, Lord Francis Powerscourt is hired to discover whodunit. This will lead him to investigate the Colville wine empire both at home and in France among the vineyards before he can find out the truth.

This is a somewhat patchy series in my opinion but this particular entry is one of the best, showing what this author can do when truly on form. Just as the earlier Death of an Old Master gave a delightfully tongue-in-cheek look at fine art forgery, this tale looks at wine forgery. It is sure to raise a chuckle as you read about some of the truly audacious ways in which people fake "fine vintages"; and this offsets the seriousness of the tale and the race to save a man from the gallows if he is innocent. The reader is treated to a meticulous investigation where pieces of the puzzle are discovered bit by bit, involving both some hairy goings-on in France and a thrilling courtroom drama. It is not the hardest of crimes to guess, perhaps, but a lot of fun for many reasons.

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

Constable (Constable and Robinson)
January 2010
1849010900 /: 9781849010900
Historical Crime / 1907 / London and France
More at US || UK
NOTE: US edition is from Soho Costable

The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2010
© 2010