Delta, May 2008
In 1977 Madeira, thirty year old wannabe but failed historian Martin Radford has an opportunity to redeem his name instead of wasting his talent and education as he has so far. Leo Sellick selects him to look into the disturbing life of the late Home Secretary Edwin Strafford, whose meteoric rise foretold a great political future that collapsed even faster in 1910 after only two years in the cabinet. Sellick wants to learn why Strafford failed so rapidly that he moved to Madeira to hide and why Prime Minister George named him consul there to live and die in obscurity.
Martin obtains Strafford’s journal that implies there is much more to the abrupt resignation from the cabinet of George’s predecessor Asquith and Parliament of a rising political superstar. Instead Strafford seems to implicate some great figures of the Edwardian Era just prior to WW I with ethical crimes and even murder to conceal their corruption and the young politico embroiled in a love affair only to have the woman he cherished Elizabeth Latimer reject him. Martin’s research brings him looking at his own family while he ponders whether a peer Mr. Coachman wanted to destroy Strafford and if so why. Stranger yet someone wants Radford to drop his study and that unknown person is willing to kill to insure the secrets of six and a half decades ago remain buried because they have major implications on those in power today.
Starting with its aptly named title, PAST CARING is a reprint of a deep English historical thriller that uses a fascinating twist of historiography enabling the audience to compare the modern day (1977) historian with the Edwardian figure he is studying. Fans who appreciate a taut tale will enjoy past and present as betrayal in love and politics is a theme both generations distastefully swallow.