What a delightfully convoluted mystery! I have read and loved each of the thirteen books in the series – and each new book is better than the last. At first, I wasn’t a huge fan of Barker but he has definitely mellowed – and now, the mighty Barker is beginning to feel his age and he doesn’t like it a bit. Llewelyn has also nicely matured into a formidable investigator on his own. This book is a great addition to the series with non-stop action, an intriguing mystery with a maze of clues and suspects that will keep you guessing right up until the last.
Thomas Llewelyn and Cyrus Barker are at their detective agency when a man rushes in, says “Help Me” to Barker, and drops dead on the office floor. He is a relatively young man, did he have an apoplexy? No, it turns out he was poisoned and Barker insists they solve the case even though they won’t be paid for it. They will cooperate and work alongside Scotland Yard, but the cunning murderer is well ahead of both the detectives and Scotland Yard.
The murdered man is a former solicitor and newly elected member of parliament. Was he murdered because of his stance on a bill before parliament? Could someone involved in one of his legal cases bear a deadly grudge? Or, is it something else entirely? As they are investigating everything in the man’s background, an entire family is found murdered – poisoned. Then, a servant is murdered – and several attempts are made on the lives of Thomas, Cyrus, and their staff – even Barker’s beloved Koi fish are killed in the fish pond.
When the murderer was revealed, I was in total shock – and that just never happens. The murderer had absolutely no scruples, no morals, no compassion, no remorse, and no conscience, so I was really, happy to see how things ended up. Sadly, I almost understood his motivation for one of the murders, but the others were just beyond the pale.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and did not put it down from beginning to end. The writing is excellent, the characters are compelling, and the mystery is riveting. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.