While on a much-needed respite with her husband Sam in Nottinghamshire, undertaker Violet Harper is summoned to Welbeck Abbey by the Fifth Duke of Portland to prepare a body. His Grace is known as the "mad duke," and Violet has more than an inkling of why when she arrives at the grand estate and discovers that the corpse in question is that of the duke's favorite raven, Aristotle.Read more...
While on a much-needed respite with her husband Sam in Nottinghamshire, undertaker Violet Harper is summoned to Welbeck Abbey by the Fifth Duke of Portland to prepare a body. His Grace is known as the "mad duke," and Violet has more than an inkling of why when she arrives at the grand estate and discovers that the corpse in question is that of the duke's favorite raven, Aristotle. Many of the duke's servants believe a dead raven is a harbinger of doom, and the peculiar peer hopes to allay their superstitious fears with an elaborate funeral for his feathered friend.
But Aristotle's demise is soon followed by the violent murder of one of the young workers on the estate. Wishing to avoid any whisper of scandal, the reclusive duke implores Violet to conduct her own discreet investigation. In her hunt for evidence, Violet wonders if the manner of the raven's death might provide a crucial clue in solving the crime...before someone else--including herself--risks an untimely fate.
Praise for the Lady of Ashes series
"An unforgettable tale of death and deception...Do not miss this "
--Suspense Magazine on Stolen Remains
"Rich with historical incidents and details."
--Publishers Weekly on Lady of Ashes
"A book you can sink your teeth into, with characters you'll fall in love with."
--Mystery Scene Magazine on Lady of Ashes
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-09-07
- Reviewer: Staff
This novels execution doesnt do justice to its intriguing plot, Trents fifth to feature British undertaker Violet Harper (after The Mourning Bells). In 1869, Violet is summoned to the most magnificent estate shed ever seen, owned by the most eccentric man shed ever met, to care for the most bizarre corpse shed ever been called upon to undertake. The estate is the enormous Welbeck Abbey; the owner, Lord William John Cavendish-Scott-Bentinck, the fifth Duke of Portland; and the corpse that of his raven, Aristotle. Members of the household view the death of Aristotle, who choked on a piece of porcelain, as a harbinger of doom, a superstition buttressed by several murders on the estate, which the duke asks Violet to investigate discreetly. After Col. George Mortimer, an old army friend of Lord William, claims to have seen someone strangled, the body of Burton Spencer, an estate worker, is found, but Spencer was bludgeoned to death, not asphyxiated. Heavy-handed foreshadowing lessens, rather than heightens, suspense. Agent: Helen Breitwieser, Cornerstone Literary. (Nov.)