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Death in a Scarlet Coat

A Lord Francis Powerscourt Mystery by David Dickinson

Death in a Scarlet Coat by David Dickinson

Review: When John Dymoke, the Earl of Candlesby dies under suspicious circumstances, Lord Francis Powerscourt is called in to investigate. But when his prime suspect, the Earl's son and heir, is murdered, he knows that the solution to the case will be far from simple, in Death in a Scarlet Coat, the tenth mystery in this series by David Dickinson.

While waiting for Dymoke to announce the start of the annual Candlesby Hunt, a man is seen walking a horse in the distance with what appears to be a body dressed in a scarlet coat, the traditional color of the hunt. Jack Hayward, the senior groom, is met in the stables by the Earl's sons, Richard, Henry and Edward. But only Richard views the body on the horse, and confirms that it is that of their father. Richard demands that the family physician, Dr. Miller, certify that Dymoke died of natural causes, even though it is clear his head had been bashed in. Miller agrees, but later confesses to Lord Powerscourt of the fact, urging him to find Dymoke's killer. Powerscourt looks first to the obvious suspect, Richard, who clearly wanted to expedite his succession as Earl of Candlesby, but he is murdered on the train taking him to be inaugurated into the House of Lords. Unfortunately, Miller, the last remaining witness to the damage done to Dymock's body, dies shortly thereafter of influenza. Powerscourt believes that the groom may now hold the key to the solution of this mystery, but Hayward has vanished. Taking a young Detective Constable into his confidence, Powerscourt begins to work through a lengthy list of suspects but with no one to attest that Dymoke was murdered, can he name a killer?

Death in a Scarlet Coat is a remarkable mystery, an intricately woven whodunit that presents Lord Powerscourt with many potential pathways to a solution, but little solid evidence on which to make a reasoned conclusion. Not only are there multiple suspects John Dymoke was a most hated man among his family and associates but multiple motives as well. Lady Lucy Powerscourt, always present but often on the periphery of these stories, has a surprisingly integral role here as does young DC Andrew Merrick, representing the local police. Ten books into this series, Lord Powerscourt remains at the top of his game.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Death in a Scarlet Coat.

Acknowledgment: Soho Press provided an ARC of Death in a Scarlet Coat for this review.

Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author

Mystery Book Review: Death of a Wine Merchant by David DickinsonDeath of a Wine Merchant
Soho Constable (Hardcover), March 2010
ISBN-13: 9781569476222; ISBN-10: 1569476225

Mystery Book Review: Death at the Jesus Hospital by David DickinsonDeath at the Jesus Hospital
Soho Constable (Hardcover), March 2012
ISBN-13: 9781616950842; ISBN-10: 1616950846

Location(s) referenced in Death in a Scarlet Coat: England

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Death in a Scarlet Coat by David Dickinson

Death in a Scarlet Coat by A Lord Francis Powerscourt Mystery

Publisher: Soho Constable
Format: Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-1-56947-912-4
Publication Date:
List Price: $25.00

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