cover image The Fallen Architect

The Fallen Architect

Charles Belfoure. Sourcebooks Landmark, $25.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4926-6271-6

Architect Douglas Layton, the hero of this exceptional mystery from Belfoure (House of Thieves) set in early-20th-century England, emerges from prison with his career and reputation destroyed, clueless as to his future. Douglas was convicted of killing 14 people and injuring scores more when a balcony of London’s Britannia Empire Theatre, which he designed, collapsed during a show. With help from his brother, Douglas gets a job as a theater scene painter, changes his name to Frank Owen, and alters his appearance as best he can. In his new job, Douglas discovers that one of the theaters where he works hides a skeleton. A second such finding fuels his suspicions that the balcony collapse that changed his life was not an accident but deliberate, murderous sabotage. Douglas has to suss out suspects and avoid detection as he sets out to prove his innocence. Along the way, Belfoure offers the reader glimpses of early motion pictures, variety hall jokes that are still funny, and a description of Edward VII consuming a 10-course meal. This wonderfully realized background coupled with insights into British society make this a standout. [em]Agent: Susan Ginsburg, Writers House. (Oct.) [/em]