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Monday 9 October 2023

‘Past Unbecoming’ by Nick Everard

Published by The Book Guild, 
5 April 2023.
ISBN: 978-1-91-5603-73-9 (PB)

Although it is recounted in the present day, Past Unbecoming is set in 2005 when Dominic Mallory has earned enough money in the City to retire at the age of forty-eight. This is an enviable state of affairs, which Dominic and his wife, Kate, are very happy with, but Dominic is determined to find some other activities to fill his time and engage his interest. Before beginning his profitable career in the City, Dominic had been an officer in the cavalry regiment Prince Rupert’s Horse. The regiment had been named after King Charles I’s nephew, who commanded the King’s cavalry in the English Civil War, although for many years now the horses in the Regiment have been replaced by tanks. Dom’s friend, Charlie Manning, the Regimental Secretary, suggests he might wish to undertake the unpaid task of filling in some gaps in the Regiment’s history. When Dom expresses an interest, Charlie forwards the suggestion to the Colonel of the Regiment, Lt. General Sir Jasper Montagnon.

 Sir Jasper, informally known as Jazzer, invites Dominic to lunch to explain what they would like him to do. The history of the regiment in the Second World War had been written by Billy Mullins, a retired Major whose knowledge of Prince Rupert’s Horse at this time was second to none because he had lived through much of it. The history of the Regiment during the War was brought to life by Billy’s writing until 1943 when Billy was badly wounded. This meant that he was not present at the D-Day landings and the subsequent campaign to take back Europe from the Nazis and his account of this was sketchy and lacking in the fascinating details that brought the earlier years to life. Jazzer asks Dominic to undertake researching and writing about the Regiment’s history during the last years of the Second World War, a task made more sensitive by the fact that Jazzer’s father, Lt. Colonel Giles Montagnon, was in command of the Regiment from shortly after D-Day until the end of the War. Jazzer’s mother is still alive but Jazzer does not want Dom to ask her for any information in case it upsets her.

Dominic enjoys writing and history and he feels a strong sense of loyalty to prince Rupert’s Horse, so he is happy to accept the task. He manages to interview a few of the surviving men who served in the Regiment during D-Day and also he sends out a request to be allowed to see any letters or photographs that relatives of the soldiers have kept. One of the people who contacts Dom is Georgina Hart, the niece of Lt Michael Sweetman an officer in Prince Rupert’s Horse who died during the fighting in Europe. Georgina is an attractive and intelligent young woman but Dom is cautious about taking her into his confidence because she is an investigative journalist and he knows from his time in the City that such people can be ruthless when pursuing a story. When Kate is casually looking at the documents that Dom has accumulated she notices a remarkable coincidence that takes Dom on a worrying new strand of enquiry. Far from adding new glory to the reputation of the Regiment this could bring shame and dishonour. Unfortunately, excited by her discovery, Kate is not as discreet as Dom would have liked her to be. As Dom tries to work out his next steps, a brutal murder occurs. The crimes of the past threaten to engulf those who are probing them and Dom and Kate find that their own lives are in danger.

Past Unbecoming is a fascinating novel, which makes the history of the 20th  century as gripping as the investigations of the present day. The characters are well drawn and engaging and the historical details are convincing. This is an absorbing novel, which I recommend.
Reviewer:  by Carol Westron

Nick Everard is a former Army Officer whose subsequent career has embraced periods in the city, schools adventure travel and recruiting/headhunting. He became Regimental Secretary of The Royal Lancers in July 2021. He is married to Kiki and lives on the Leicestershire/Northamptonshire border close to Market Harborough. They have two grown children.


Carol Westron is a successful author and a Creative Writing teacher.  Her crime novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times.  Her first book The Terminal Velocity of Cats was published in 2013. Since then, she has since written 6 further mysteries. Carol recently gave an interview to Mystery People. To read the interview click on the link below.

To read a review of Carol latest book click on the title
The Curse of the Concrete Griffin

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