The Amateur Historian
A Rounder Brothers Mystery by Julian Cole
Review: Julian Cole introduces the Rounder brothers, Rick an ex-Yorkshire police officer now a private investigator and Sam, a Detective Chief Inspector with the York Police Department, investigating a case that may be linked to the death of a young girl that occurred over a century ago in The Amateur Historian.
In 1901 Esme Percy, a nine year old girl, the youngest of eight in the Percy family, died. The Percy's were poor, living in poverty. Esme probably died of malnutrition. At least that is what an elderly historian initially believes when he finds a picture of the family taken at the turn of the twentieth century. But the photograph contains clues to something more sinister … or so he thinks. Their clothes are ragged and there is litter on the stony ground where they stood. Upset by what he imagines as the true fate of the dead girl, he sets out to make things right with the understanding that life has a strange way of balancing itself.
Rick Rounder has just returned to Yorkshire from Australia where he has been living and takes up as a private investigator, much to his older brother's annoyance. Rick had given up his job as a police officer two years ago when a man committed suicide after killing his daughter. Although the girl was killed hours before Rick got to the home, he blamed himself for not being there in time. Sam stayed in Yorkshire and is now a Chief Inspector with the department. Rick's first case as a PI, however, puts him in conflict with his brother as they both become linked in a case involving a missing girl.
The Amateur Historian is a complex novel, and mostly in a good way. The author probably tries to do too much here, what with introducing a pair of brothers who, as adults, have grown apart and are more different than they are alike, more rivals than partners, now involved in a case that is replete with twists and turns. The common element here is the amateur historian, who taunts the men about the disappearance of the young girl but whose motivation is unclear. It's a compelling mystery with the occasional touch of humor at the interactions between the brothers, but one that is, at times, a bit hard to follow.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Amateur Historian.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of The Amateur Historian for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Minotaur Books (Hardcover), May 2011
ISBN-13: 9780312585921; ISBN-10: 0312585926
Location(s) referenced in The Amateur Historian: York, England
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The Amateur Historian by Julian Cole — A Rounder Brothers Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: June 2010
List Price: $23.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
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