cover image Legacy of Death

Legacy of Death

Judith Cutler. Severn, $28.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8939-3

In Cutler’s unremarkable sequel to 2019’s The Wages of Sin, Victorian land agent Matthew Rowsley, who serves Lord Croft in the Shropshire village of Thorncroft, creates a board of trustees to look after current and long-term estate needs, as the nobleman is incapacitated due to mental illness. The board includes Rowsley’s wife, Harriet, a former housekeeper, and the longtime Croft family butler, Samuel Bowman. The group has authorized construction of new homes for the estate’s workers, a project disrupted when human remains from Roman times are unearthed. Meanwhile, Bowman is savagely attacked by an unknown assailant. The violence coincides with the arrival from Australia of a stranger who claims to be Croft’s cousin and heir, and who wastes no time acting as if he’s already the new Lord Croft. Rowsley’s sleuthing is nothing special, and Cutler does little to depict class tensions or the political background of the period. Readers content with the same-old-same-old may be entertained. Agent: Sara Menguc, Sara Menguc Literary (U.K.). (Mar.)