From Publishers Weekly
The unlikely detective duo of Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) and Arthur Conan Doyle are on the case again (after The Problem of the Missing Miss). It's 1885 and Dodgson, accepting the young Doyle's invitation to visit his home in the English town of Portsmouth, arrives just after the death of one Captain Jethro Arkwright. Everyone believes that the captain, a "hard-drinking, hard-smoking man with an evil temper and a bad heart," died of natural causes. Everyone, that is, except Doyle, who is convinced that foul play was involved. Within a few hours of Dodgson's arrival, an emissary of the Rajah of Rajitpur appears, seeking information about a stolen treasure. A s?ance to contact the deceased captain about the treasure's whereabouts is suggested. Mrs. Cavanaugh, Arkwright's housekeeper and nurse to his children, volunteers to act as medium. In the midst of the s?ance, she dies, muttering the words "murder... murder." Rogow foreshadows Doyle's Sign of Four and echoes Dodgson's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, mixing famous lines from both into her narrative. Her plot is thick with intrigue and sharp portrayals of social hierarchies in Doyle's small town ("where everyone had a place: the master and mistress, the upper servants, the lower servants, each level with duties, rights, and privileges") putting the book a rank above most period tales. Above all, the felicity with which Rogow brings the two literary greats together makes for an evening's pleasant entertainment. (June)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Charles Dodgson, better known as writer Lewis Carroll, and Arthur Conan Doyle made their debut as fictional sleuths in last year's Problem of the Missing Miss
. This time Rogow places the pair in Portsmouth, England, where Dodgson has journeyed at Doyle's invitation to read the would-be author's latest stories and (Doyle hopes) help him get published. But Dodgson has barely set his bags down when he and Doyle become embroiled in a murder case. Captain Arkwright, a retired seaman, is found dead; with foul play suspected, Arkwright's mysterious housekeeper suggests a seance, where she will act as medium to contact Arkwright and ask who killed him. But during the seance, the housekeeper keels over dead. Doyle and Dodgson, both present at the event, find themselves engaged in the investigation, which hinges on a fortune in missing jewels. An imaginative, cleverly plotted story with authentic historical details and engaging characters, Rogow's latest is a pleasantly diverting read that will appeal to Anne Perry fans. Emily Melton