Death on the Holy Mountain
Soho, Apr 2008, $24.95
In 1905, though semi retired, English private investigator Lord Francis Powerscourt accompanied by his wife Lucy travel to Ireland to look into some odd art thefts. Someone is stealing low valued familial portraits from the mansions of Protestant Lords, but ignoring highly valuable masterpieces from some of the Masters.
Francis struggles with the motive as money is obviously not the objective; so he assumes a political statement is being made. However, when the portraits with altered faces begin to reappear on the walls they were stolen from, Francis ponders even more the motive behind the crime. Soon after that the bewildered sleuth rescues kidnapped Protestant noblewomen from Irish nationalists but not before someone is murdered inside the chapel at Croagh Patrick while the pilgrimage has begun.
Moving deeper into the Edwardian Era from the Victorian Age of much of the previous Powerscourt historical mysteries; David Dickinson provides a deep period piece. The story line obviously contains a strong investigative whodunit, but also much more as the audience obtains a feel for Ireland’s struggle to become a modern nation. Powerscourt personally feels the tugs, but it is the larger scale of early twentieth century pragmatism warring with rich ancient tradition that makes this book incredible.