Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for ‘A Portrait of Death’ by Rhen Garland. Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for including me, and to the author for the e-copy of the book in exchange for my thoughts.
What’s it about?
In the quiet English village of Marmis Parva, a weekend house party is organised by a society hostess and all the top names are invited.
But this is no ordinary party.
Two men are savagely murdered during the course of the first evening and a young man, presumed dead, returns home after two years imprisonment in South Africa bringing with him proof of treason.
Detective Chief Inspector Elliott Caine’s long-awaited holiday in the Lake District is cancelled as he is brought in to investigate the peculiar nature of the murders. More bodies are discovered and Elliott has to manoeuvre between high society, Government protocols, and the heinous nature of the crimes if he and his old friend Detective Sergeant Abernathy Thorne, are to catch the sadistic killer, and the traitor lurking amongst them.
When Caine’s past comes back to haunt him, will his judgement be too clouded to focus on solving the crime?
Will the Boer spy’s identity be uncovered before they can flee?
How are these murders connected to another in New York?
There are two separate prologues to set the scene for this macabre tale, and they set the scene for the gruesome crimes to follow.
Marmis Hall is the perfect setting for some nasty goings on, and the novel sits comfortably in the Victorian era which is one I particularly like reading about.
Detectives Caine and Thorne are called after two people are murdered at a dinner party, and the story follows their investigation into the killer, at odds with high society. There are false trails aplenty, and it is a satisfyingly gruesome tale, laced with the supernatural.
Lots of time and effort has been put into each sentence, and this pays off well. The plot is well organised and twisty, and the characters are complex and believable. I won’t spoil it any further but suffice it to say that I enjoyed it.
Buy yourself a copy here:
About the author:
Rhen Garland lives in Somerset, England with her folk-singing, book-illustrating husband, approximately 4000 books, an equal number of ancient movies, and a large flock of stuffed sheep.
She enjoys the countryside, peace, and Prosecco and the works of Ngaio Marsh, Glady Mitchell, John Dickson Carr/Carter Dickson, Agatha Christie, and Terry Pratchett.
“I watch far too many old school murder mystery films, TV series, and 1980s action movies for it to be considered healthy.”
“A Portrait of Death” is a murder mystery thriller with paranormal touches set in late Victorian England and is the first book in the Versipellis Mysteries Series.
To connect with Rhen:
For other perspectives, please check out the thoughts of the other bloggers on the tour.