Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Cold War Intrigue in an English Village

A Very British Mystery #3
Anselm Audley, Elizabeth Edmondson
Thomas & Mercer, Audible
October 19, 2017

It's January 1954, and there have been leaks of research done at "The Atomic" facility; leaks that have ended up in the hands of Soviet Russia. British Intelligence Agent Hugo Hawkesworth, who works at the center is assigned the task of finding out who is the source. When a nuclear scientist, Bruno Rothesay, goes missing British Intelligence is sure that he must be the mole. When Rothesay's body turns up, Hugo isn't so sure. The scientist was an arrogant serial adulterer who had plenty of enemies, including his own wife. Intelligence and the obnoxious Inspector Jarrett have a culprit in mind, one who has appeared in previous books and is convenient. Hugo thinks he is entirely too comfortable a fit, which puts him at loggerheads with his superiors-again.

All of the residents of Selchester Castle make an appearance in A Matter of Loyalty: Hugo and his sister Georgia, author Freya Wryton, Gus, the new Earl of Selchester, and his daughter Molly, and Mrs.Partridge, the housekeeper. The previous Earl is almost a presence because his misdeeds cast somewhat of a pall over the household even years after his death. Each has his or her part to play in this story, and one's life is brought into great danger. The Very British Mysteries are impossible to pigeonhole, part Cold War spy novel, part historical mystery, and part budding romance. They paint a picture of a Britain brought to its knees by WWII and just beginning to dig out of deprivation, only to be caught up in Cold War paranoia, even in Selchester village.

Sadly, A Matter of Loyalty is the third and last book in the series. Ms. Edmondson passed away leaving only notes and conversations with her son, Anselm Audley, for the book. Mr. Audley has done an admirable job working from their conversations to finish it. While I would have liked to see more of the characters and Ms. Edmonson's plans for them, the ending does not leave us hanging. Michael Page gives voice to the characters and is, as usual, outstanding.

RATING-4.5 Stars

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