DEAD MAN RIDING: A Nell Bray Mystery
Set during the summer of 1900, the superb 10th Nell Bray mystery (after 2001's The Perfect Daughter) turns Victorian convention on its head with delightful results. Nell and two of her girlfriends, Imogen and Midge, all of whom are free-thinking Oxford students, agree to accompany three male students and one young faculty member on a reading holiday. Fellow student Alan has invited the entire party to be his guests on his uncle's Lake District farm. When gunfire meets their arrival, the group soon realizes that they have quite literally walked into the midst of a small but deadly private war. Alan's uncle, dubbed by all the Old Man, is despised by neighbors and townsfolk alike and is suspected of having murdered a local magistrate's son, who has recently disappeared. Sexual tension fuels the fires as Alan and his closest friend, Kit, become points in a volatile triangle with the fair-haired Imogen. Love, or at least lust, is indeed in the air, and none of the group seems to be unaffected. Yet love interests take a back seat when the Old Man's favorite horse gallops up with his master's dead body tied in the saddle. And when the Old Man's will leaves a handsome legacy to the unborn child of his housekeeper, Nell makes up her mind to get to the bottom of things. Linscott has combined a wonderful cast of characters with a clever, unexpected resolution. (Jan. 18)
FYI:Linscott's eighth Nell Bray mystery, Absent Friends, won the 2000 Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award.