An unwelcome guest - Death - gatecrashes a society wedding and Lord Francis Powerscourt is summoned by his barrister friend, Charles Augustus Pugh, to investigate this most singular case of murder in the Fens.
The dead man is Randolph Colville, successful wine merchant and father of the groom. The murderer would appear to be his brother Cosmo, found in the same room with a gun in his hand. But is this simply a modern-day version of Cain and Abel, or is there more to it than that? Cosmo isn't speaking and time is running out for him for he has an appointment with the gallows in two weeks.
Francis has to act fast and sets out to discover all he can about the dead man - and his brother. Cosmo's silence is bothering him for it can only be for two reasons; either he is protecting a woman - or a family scandal. His investigations take him to the vineyards and towns of Burgundy, where he uncovers evidence of serious malpractise in the Colville wine trade, bitter rivalry with a London-based competitor and a disgruntled ex-employee bent on revenge. But there is another secret - more terrible and shocking than anything gone on before - which finally reveals the motive for the untimely death of a wine merchant.
Praise for David Dickinson:
'Splendid entertainment' Publishers Weekly
'A leisurely period whodunit with Dickinson's customary historical tidbits and patches of local color, swathed in an appealing Victorian narrative' Kirkus Reviews
'Detective fiction in the grand style' James Naughtie
'A cracking yarn, beguilingly real from start to finish' Peter Snow
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Lord Powerscourt has moved from investigating actual historical cases to random mysteries, to the detriment of the series. The newer books aren't bad, but they lack a certain something contained in the first few. In this, a wine merchant is shot at his son's wedding reception. His brother is found standing there with the gun and is, naturally, arrested. But he refuses to speak. Powerscourt is retained by the defence to find evidence to free him.