woensdag 15 februari 2012
Robin Paige – Death at Glamis Castle
The ninth book in the Victorian Mystery series, published March 2003.
Lord Charles Sheridan and his American wife, Kate, are on an archaeological dig, excavating sections of Hadrian's Wall, when they are summoned to Glamis Castle by King Edward. Nestled in the rugged Grampian Mountains, Glamis is the most historic castle in all of Scotland, a place teeming with dark secrets and haunting shadows. While Kate winds her way through the elaborate manor, gaining inspiration for her next Gothic novel, Lord Charles discovers the reason behind their journey.
It seems that Prince Eddy, heir to the throne until his purported death in 1892, has actually been alive all these years. Deemed unfit for the throne, he has been living secretly at Glamis under an assumed name. But now the prince has gone missing - on the very morning that the body of one of his servants was found, her throat slashed in a manner eerily reminiscent of the Ripper's. Now, Charles and his clever Kate must find Eddy and clear his name - while keeping his true identity a secret.
Charles Sheridan and his wife Kate are on holiday in the north of England. Charles happily digging around Hadrian’s wall, and Kate making photographs. Then a telegraph summons Charles away, and of course Kate goes with them. A whole train is waiting for them, filled with soldiers, and apparently, Charles will be their commanding officer. They have no idea where the train is headed, but everything has been prepared for a very speedy journey. Kate is very much afraid Charles will be called upon to go to Africa, where the Boer Wars are not going well, so when the train goes north, into Scotland, they are both very much relieved.
Finally, having arrived at their destination, Charles is briefed, and Kate whisked away to the Castle to settle in and refresh herself.
Charles is stunned when he learns the truth about Prince Eddy. That he is still alive, and been in hiding in Glamis Castle for the last ten years. He has been content though, painting and reading, but lately he has been getting confused, thinking himself Bonnie Prince Charlie, and having a woman named Flora MacDonald as his personal servant is sure aiding him in that delusion. The prince is also quite deaf. And now the prince has gone missing, and Hilda MacDonald, Flora’s mother and another of his servants, has been found murdered.
The local constable has been unable to find a clue to the murderer, which is very difficult for him, as he has had his eye on Flora for a while now. And with her mother dead, she will need someone else in her life. Her cousin Herman will be of no help at all. He hasn’t seen the man for a day or so, and he really wanted to interrogate the man.
And while Charles is getting debriefed, Flora MacDonald is showing Kate some parts of the Castle, telling about its history. Kate’s alter ego Beryl is getting excited as well, seeing some new possibilities for books in the place. So many great things have happened here in its long history. The castle is filled with its ghosts. But when Flora breaks down, and Kate consoles her about losing her mother, perhaps Flora tells more than she intended to do.
The soldiers set out to seal of all the roads leading out of town, and around the castle, under the pretence of trying out new bicycles for the army. There is after all the very real danger that the prince has been kidnapped. He was not the sort of man to kill Hilda, or run away from his comforts. He was a sickly man and in his forties already. And when Charles finds the evidence that Hilda was killed in the prince’s rooms and carried out to the street leading towards the castle, he is convinced of it. They need to find the prince, and quick. If it is revealed he is still alive, the monarchy will not survive the scandal. And that is just what the young German Kaiser wants … even though the King is his cousin. War is looming on the horizon.
When Princess Victoria arrives suddenly at Glamis Castle, an astonished Kate also finds out the truth about the mysterious Lord Osborne: Prince Eddy is still alive and missing! She sets out to ask questions from the staff, convinced they know much more than their masters will think possible. And as usual, she is right, and discovers truths that help Charles in his investigation.
I was looking forward to the next Robin Paige book on my list, but I could only read this one by bits and pieces. I was just not that captivated with the story. It was darker than the rest, and I was not so interested in the historical character in this one. It is a conclusion to one of the previous books, in which Charles and Kate discover the truth behind Jack the Ripper (Death at Whitechapel).
It is not a bad book at all, as always it is a good mystery and an entertaining read. I just was not that much interested in the main secondary characters or in the mood to read this one. It did not help that Kate and Charles did not want to do this either, and just wanted to go home to Bishop’s Keep. It was not difficult to figure everything out before they did, as we were told things from the bad guy’s perspective as well. The ending, well, that was very well done.
The book ends on a note that this is all speculation on the authors part, there is no proof that prince Eddy lived a long time after his publicly announced death and burial.