|Digital List Price:||$19.99|
|Print List Price:||$22.99|
Save $8.84 (38%)
Your Memberships & Subscriptions
The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton (Laurence Bartram Mysteries Book 2) Kindle Edition
|New from||Used from|
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
"...intriguing...The intelligent depiction of the many wounds of war, suffered not only in the trenches but also on the home front, resonates." - Publishers Weekly
"Speller's writing is gorgeous" - Kate Saunders, The Times
"Dispassionate yet gradually beguiling, with a sympathetic, vulnerable hero." - The Independent (UK)
"This leisurely and absorbing novel is the second to be based around this sympathetic and unusual character; a series to be savoured." - The Guardian (UK)
- ASIN : B005LVR722
- Publisher : Mariner Books; Reprint edition (June 26, 2012)
- Publication date : June 26, 2012
- Language : English
- File size : 1105 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 421 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #829,232 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The war’s effects are everywhere in the manor and village. Regiments during the war were often based on location, which meant not only battlefield casualties but devastating effects on villages, towns and counties. The regiment from the village of Easton Deadall was nearly wiped out, and a generation of men lost. The war’s effects remain for those who survived the war as well. Bartram’s architect friend William Bolitho is permanently wheelchair-bound; Bartram himself suffers from lingering effects of the battlefield. Bartram also lost his wife and son in childbirth, a loss compounded by the guilt of knowing he did not love his wife.
Arriving at the hall, he finds an Easton family consumed by tensions, the effects of the war, and the disappearance of five-year-old Kitty Easton in 1911. The child, or her body, have never been found, and yet the mystery of her disappearance continues to almost define the family.
Bartram focuses on the restoration work at the church, which dates back to Saxon times. He takes time out to join the family and a few servants at the 1924 British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in south London. A teenager who works at the hall disappears at the exhibition. The trusted chauffeur acts out-of-character. Once the group is back at Easton and work resumes on the church, Bartram finds a body of a woman in the church crypt – a body of someone recently dead. The investigation begins to lead inevitably to what happened to the missing child so long ago.
"The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton" is Elizabeth Speller’s second Laurance Bartram mystery, following "The Return of Captain John Emmett," and it both a classic English-house-in-the-countryside murder mystery and an intelligent improvement upon the genre. Speller weaves mystery and history, so that the reader not only gets a good story but also insight into the effects of the first world war, the 1924 exhibition (a celebration of a British Empire that was already beginning to ebb), and even church history and architecture. Add tortured personal relationships, and people haunted by their individual and collective pasts, and the result is one excellent and absorbing read.
It's only a few years after the end of WWI. As in the first mystery, the Great War is almost a character in the novel. Laurence is invited down to Easton Deadall by William and Eleanor Bolitho. William is an architect working on the restoration of a chapel for Lydia Easton, a widow and owner of Easton Hall. Laurence has published a book on the churches of London, and William wants his expertise in examining the old chapel.
At Easton Hall, Laurence meets Francis, Lydia's half-sister, and Julian and Patrick, Lydia's brothers-in-law, who hardly communicate.
There are two very important characters who are not present. Digby Easton, Lydia's dead husband, who's gradually revealed throughout the story. And Kitty Easton, Lydia and Digby's five-year old daughter, who disappeared from the Hall ten years before.
There is evocative writing, such as when Patrick describes what he saw driving up to the Hall, returning after the war, to find that the war's privations took an awful toll: "A woman in black trudging up the lane. David slowed to pass her. She looked like a witch, with her arms wrapped around herself and bent over in the cold, but when she raised her head she was young under her shawl and must have been beautiful. Perhaps I'd known her once - I used to know everyone in Easton - but she just stared at me. I'd left the Hall and Digby and the village, all unchanged and prospering, and I'd come back to a landstape of death. Even the drive was overgrown. Dead trees, branches we had to swerve around. When I got out, blackened weeds crunched underfoot."
Laurence has his own unhappy memories. He's considering taking a post as a tutor in Italy, for an Italian diplomat: "On some days, the war and the life he had led before it seemed very far away; at other times dreams woke him, or the sudden intrusion of memories he hoped had gone forever stopped him in his tracks. In France he had promised himself that, in the unlikely event of his returning safe home, he would never leave his country again. However, in the last few days at Easton he'd occastionally felt that the post offered exciting possiblities and that, having lost every element of his former life so utterly, just following its almost vanished trails was more dispiriting than making a new start."
This is recommended reading. If possible, you might want to read "The Return of Captain Emmett" first, as you're watching the evolution of Laurence Bartram, and the first book is even better in construction and storyline.
I am reviewing from the Advance Reading Copy - Uncorrected Proof.
The story began slowly and was slow going for a while but then the story builds with the telling of the mystery and reflections on what has happened to all of them and the prices that they have paid Before the book concludes, you are tied to those in the story and hoping against hope that there is goodness at the end.
Top reviews from other countries
„A labyrinth isn't meant as a puzzle: it's a journey, a conduit. You enter it and you move along to its end. Perhaps the idea was to slow the walker down, to allow spiritual reflection, but the outcome is in no doubt.“ (39)
Im Mittelpunkt der Geschichte stehen die Bewohner von Easton Hall und natürlich Laurence Bartram selber. Die Aufklärung der drei „Verbrechen“ ist am Ende gar nicht so spektakulär. Wichtiger ist der Weg, den Laurence Bartram bis dahin zurücklegen muss. Von besonderer Bedeutung ist dabei das Beziehungsgeflecht und die Familiengeheimnisse, die nach und nach zutage treten.
„Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.“ (376)
Der im Krieg gefallene Hausherr und Vater von Kitty. Ein Mann mit Stimmungsschwankungen und herrischem Wesen, der nicht nur seine angetraute Ehefrau tyrannisiert hat. Ein zwielichtiger Chauffeur mit Verbindungen zum Rotlichtmilieu. Ein anderer Mitarbeiter, der etwas in seiner Vergangenheit verheimlicht hat. Und und und … immerhin ist der Ausklang der Geschichte hoffnungsvoll.
Elizabeth Speller hat mich einmal mehr mit ihren stimmungsvollen Beschreibungen und ausgefeilten Charakterisierungen überzeugt. Kein actionslastiger Thriller, sondern eine ruhige Erzählung. Nur in einem Fall wird es etwas gruselig. Hat mir sehr gut gefallen. Hoffentlich gibt es eine Fortsetzung. Ich würde sehr gerne mehr von Laurence Bartrams Erlebnissen lesen.