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Death at the Jesus Hospital
Lord Francis Powerscourt Series, No 10
David Dickinson

Soho Constable
2012 / ISBN-10: 1616950846
Historical Mystery / England-1910

Reviewed by LJ Roberts

First Sentence: When there is no moon in January the dawn creeps in very slowly like the second hand on a clock that is running slow.

Three men appear to have been murder by their throats slit. What, then, is the odd thistle-like mark on each chest? Each man had a connection to The Silkworkers, an ancient livery company for the City of London. In each case, the victim was paid a visit by the same person shortly before their death. Lord Francis Powerscourt, an ex-intelligence officer, veteran of the Boar War and having conducted investigation on behalf of the Queen, Prime Minister and Foreign Office, is asked to work with the police to find the killer.

There is no question that Dickinson knows how to capture the reader from the first paragraph. Even better is that he knows how to keep the reader thoroughly intrigued to the very last word. That Dickinson knows the period and has done his research is quickly and abundantly clear. He establishes a very strong sense of time and place through both descriptions and the level of details to ordinary elements of life and historical events.

One thing particularly appealing is that Powerscourt is married and has a family that we've seen grow and develop through the series. This is no angst-ridden loner. He is surrounded by fascinating friends from Johnny Fitzgerald, who served with time in the army, as did his butler. Lady Lucy may not go tearing through the streets tracking down killers, but she does help Powerscourt in the way a well-connected wife can. There was even a lovely reference to characters from past books. Rather than this being confusing to new readers, it adds veracity to the lives of these characters now.

Dickinson knows how to plot a story. Although he plays fair with the reader, his plot twists keep both the reader and the protagonist off balance with plenty of action and good suspense along the way.

"Death at the Jesus Hospital" may not have been the most dynamic book of the series, but it doesn't miss the mark by much. It was a very good read with tones of our current political culture, and part of an overall excellent 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]

Reviewed 2012