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Thursday 22 February 2018

‘A True and Faithful Brother’ by Linda Stratmann

Published by The Mystery Press,
2 March 2017.
ISBN: 978-0-7509-6994-9

It is 1882 and, in the past two years, Frances Doughty’s private enquiry work has become increasingly successful and her detection skills and those of her assistant, Sarah, have sharpened and their contacts have increased. After her last extremely dangerous case, Frances has decided to abandon the detection of serious crimes and make her living tracking down missing people and pets and investigating and drawing up family genealogies. When Mr Fiske requests her to investigate the mysterious disappearance of the wealthy philanthropist Launcelot Dobree from a locked room during a meeting of the Bayswater Literati Freemasons’ Lodge, Frances agrees. She tells herself that the missing man is sure to turn up unharmed, so this is not a dangerous crime, and she wishes to oblige Mr Fiske, a good friend. However, Frances’ main reason for agreeing is that Launcelot Dobree’s family has a connection with her own and she needs to follow this through to explore her own heritage.

The investigation into Dobree’s disappearance soon takes a dark turn and Frances knows that she is moving back into a world of danger and violence but, for personal reasons, she is determined to carry on, even though it is clear that innocent witnesses may have been killed, let alone a detective who is drawing too near to the truth. Frances’ work leads her close to knowledge of the Freemasons’ secret ceremonies. It also causes her to fall foul of Inspector Payne, a dour police officer who suspects Frances of involvement in the crimes that they are both investigating. Soon Frances’ worst fears are justified, and her life is in danger from the criminals she is pursuing.

A True and Faithful Brother is the seventh in the series featuring Frances Doughty. It is a fascinating story with numerous twists in the multi-layered plot and skilfully laid clues. The characters are all well portrayed and Frances is a very likeable heroine. As always, Linda Stratmann’s research is immaculate and the world she portrays is totally believable. A True and Faithful Brother is an engrossing read and one that I would thoroughly recommend.
Reviewer: Carol Westron

Linda Stratmann was born in the city of Leicester on 4 April 1948. Linda attended Medway Street Infants and Junior School, in the days of the eleven plus, and from there went to Wyggeston Girls Grammar School. Her earliest ambition was to be an astronomer, and she read and wrote a great deal of science fiction. She also read biology, zoology and medicine, and seriously considered a medical career. But by her teens, she had developed an absorbing and life-long interest in true crime, probably taking after her mother who loved to read about famous trials.  Linda I took her A levels and went to Newcastle University in 1971, graduating with first class honours in psychology three years later. She then joined the civil service, and trained to be an Inspector of Taxes.  In 1987, unable to resist the pull of London she moved there, married her second husband, Gary in 1993. In 2001 she left the civil service, and started a new career as a freelance writer and sub-editor, and in 2002 was commissioned to write her first published book on the history of Chloroform.

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, the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published July 2013. Her latest book Strangers and Angels published 28 November 2017 is set in Victorian England.  Also published in 2017 is her fourth novel in her scene of Crimes Series Karma and the Singing Frogs.  

To to read a review of Karma and the Singing Frogs, click on the title

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