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Wednesday 15 July 2015

‘Friends in High Places’ by Caro Peacock

Published by Severn House,
30 April 2015. ISBN:978-0-7278-8505-0

The year is 1840; a time when it is not customary for ladies to be Private Investigators, but perhaps that is why Liberty Lane is so successful. In Friends in High Places, as the title of the book implies, Liberty is working for some of the most socially and politically influential people in the land.

Liberty is summoned to Gore House, the home of Lady Blessington, novelist and leader of society. Lady Blessington needs Liberty's assistance in a problem that is liable to cause her great embarrassment. Prince Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, nephew of the late Emperor, has failed in an attempt to seize power in France and has been imprisoned. A supporter of the prince managed to flee back to England, bringing with him papers that might save the prince when he is brought to trial. This man has taken refuge with Lady Blessington, who asks Liberty to arrange for her inconvenient guest and his documents to be transported back to France, using all possible speed and stealth. It seems certain that the man is being hunted and enemy agents would do all that they can to stop him. Liberty makes her plans, but, before they can be put into action, a ruthless murder occurs at Gore House and Liberty finds herself in the middle of political intrigue, with secret agents of France, Italy and Britain willing to kill and corrupt in order to serve the interests of their countries.

Friends in High Places is the seventh book featuring Liberty Lane. The main plot stands very well alone, although I found the sub-plot involving Liberty's love interest rather elusive at the start of the book. That said, I got fully involved with the sub-plot by halfway through the book.

Friends in High Places is a masterly book. The intricate political plot is handled with great skill. The authenticity of the research is obvious and inspires absolute trust in its validity. The author showed particular skill in the interaction of fictional characters and historical people, such as Disraeli and Lady Blessington. Liberty is a delightful protagonist: strong, independent and clever but with great integrity; she shows unfailing protectiveness and affection for those close to her.

This is the first Liberty Lane book that I have read but I intend the read the previous books in the series and any future ones. Friends in High Places is a page-turner, which I recommend whole-heartedly.
Reviewer: Carol Westron

Caro Peacock has another identity. As Gillian Linscott she is the author of the award winning series about the suffragette detective Nell Bray.  There are eleven books in the series.Caro lives near the Welsh Borders.

Carol Westron is a successful short story writer and a Creative Writing teacher.  She is the moderator for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly Dames.  Her crime novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times.  The Terminal Velocity of Cats is the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published July 2013. Her second book About the Children was published in May 2014.

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