A Man of Some Repute by Elizabeth Edmondson
Mystery, intrigue and conspiracies made this an enjoyable very English Mystery and it did remind me some of Agatha Christie.
Truth is rarely pure and never simple…
Selchester Castle in 1953 sits quiet and near-empty, its corridors echoing with glories of the past.
Or so it seems to intelligence officer Hugo Hawksworth, wounded on a secret mission and now reluctantly assuming an altogether less perilous role at Selchester.
The Castle’s faded grandeur hides a web of secrets and scandals – the Earl has been missing for seven years, lost without a trace since the night he left his guests and walked out into a blizzard.
When a skeleton is uncovered beneath the flagstones of the Old Chapel, the police produce a suspect and declare the case closed.
Hugo is not convinced. With the help of the spirited Freya Wryton, the Earl’s niece, he is drawn back into active service, and the ancient town of Selchester is dragged into the intrigues and conspiracies of the Cold War era.
With a touch of Downton Abbey, a whisper of Agatha Christie and a nod to Le Carré, A Man of Some Repute is the first book in this delightfully classic and witty murder mystery series.
Review by Felicia:
Hugo Hawksworth, and his young sister, Georgia, are the newest temporary residents to the tiny hamlet of Selchester. Sustaining a disabling leg injury while performing his mysterious “duties” in service, Hugo is not looking forward to a new job behind a desk…if that’s all it is. No one he meets seems to believe he’s a glorified paper pusher. It’s hilarious how the town residents not only have sized him up as a spy or covert operative, but are already discussing his possible “business” in Selchester.
Hugo quickly becomes old news, when the skeleton of Lord Selchester is found beneath the masonry of the castle chapel. The Earl of Selchester disappeared seven years earlier in the midst of a snowstorm, and was assumed the victim of the elements even though his body was never found. Now, finding the remains BURIED means a crime has been committed…murder.
In a half-hearted attempt to actually solve the crime, the police conduct a quick, shoddy investigation, already determined to blame the murder on the Earl’s now deceased son with whom he argued with that night. Hugo conducts his own investigation with the help of the late Earl’s niece, Freya – who was among the small group at the castle the night of the murder – and his ever precocious sister.
During the course of the investigation, we get to meet what feels like the entire village – a varied cast of characters who would do any tabloid proud! The exchanges with the town’s residents may seem innocuous and ‘gossipy’, but laced together with a few details from Hugo’s contacts, Freya’s recollections, and Georgia’s observances, a murderer is revealed. Can he be caught before he kills again?
Elizabeth Edmondson has delivered a first-rate murder mystery that will keep you guessing right up to the end. And while the ending is totally satisfying, I am anxiously awaiting book 2!
Review by Deanna Stevens:
Selchester Castle in 1953, within it’s faded grandeur it hides a web of secrets and scandals. Secret intelligence officer Hugo Hawksworth has been reassigned to a desk job in Selchester because of an injury. Before he arrives he is told there are no apartments available and that his place of residence will be at Selchecter Castle.
Hugo overseas some repair work that is being done and The Earl of Selchester Castle is found buried in the Old Chapel. Hugo decides he needs to investigate. Hugo learns that the Earl had left a dinner party 7 years earlier and was thought to have walked out into a blizzard and disappeared. The mysterious reappearance solves the mysterious disappearance but now it seems there was a killer in the Castle that night and may very possibly still be residing at Selchester Castle.
Mystery, intrigue and conspiracies made this an enjoyable very English Mystery and it did remind me some of Agatha Christie. I found it a gentle relaxing read and I enjoyed the interaction of characters, they were very real with interesting personalities, especially the Earl’s!