cover image Death in a Scarlet Coat

Death in a Scarlet Coat

David Dickinson, Soho Constable, $25 (352p) ISBN 978-1-56947-912-4

Dickinson's strong 10th historical starring Lord Francis Powerscourt (after 2010's Death of a Wine Merchant) combines a compelling whodunit with some of the author's best writing to date. In 1909, a car accident strands Powerscourt and his wife in the town of Candlesby, where he meets an elderly doctor, Theodore Miller. The fatally ill, conscience-stricken Miller confesses to the detective that while he recently signed a death certificate stating that the late Lord Candlesby died of natural causes, he did so under pressure from the earl's sons. In fact, Candlesby, who failed to show for a fox hunt the morning he perished, suffered horrific head injuries that point to foul play. Powerscourt finds no shortage of suspects, ranging from the son of a man the earl shot to death in a duel to his sons and heirs. Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers fans will hope that Dickinson sustains the high quality in his next book in what has been an uneven series. (Mar.)