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.
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.)