Blood From a Stone

Overview

When Mrs Paxton, related to the aristocratic Leigh family of Sussex, is found poisoned in her bedroom one morning, fingers point towards her artist nephew Terence Napier, seen leaving the house earlier that previous evening after a row over her will. Months later and Napier has never been found, but curiously a dead body is discovered in a train compartment, and scattered at the dead man’s feet are the famous Leigh sapphires – a necklace owned by Mrs Paxton, but destined to go ...

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Blood From a Stone

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Overview

When Mrs Paxton, related to the aristocratic Leigh family of Sussex, is found poisoned in her bedroom one morning, fingers point towards her artist nephew Terence Napier, seen leaving the house earlier that previous evening after a row over her will. Months later and Napier has never been found, but curiously a dead body is discovered in a train compartment, and scattered at the dead man’s feet are the famous Leigh sapphires – a necklace owned by Mrs Paxton, but destined to go back to the Leighs in the event of her death.
Scotland Yard once again call upon the services of author Jack Haldean to help solve this most complicated of cases. Soon there are links to a serial thief and murderer, known as the The Vicar, and it seems there is more to this case than a family feud over inheritance.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Christie and Sayers fans will find Gordon-Smith’s seventh Jack Haldean whodunit set in post-WWI England (after 2012’s Trouble Brewing) a well-crafted throwback to the golden age of detection that pairs deduction with solid writing. Crime writer Haldean gets involved in solving the case of a gruesome murder aboard a train. A man who was stabbed to death had his head ripped off when someone positioned the corpse at an open window, apparently in an effort to stymie the police by delaying identification of the victim. Robbery was not the motive, given that the killer left behind a stash of valuable sapphires. The murder may be the work of a thief known as the Vicar, whose calling card (Simon Templar–like) is the drawing of a cross with a halo on top. The railway slaying may connect with Terence Napier, a man suspected of murdering his aunt. The author cleverly draws the various threads together in the series’ best entry to date. (July)
From the Publisher

“Best entry to date”
Publishers Weekly on Blood from a Stone

“Gordon-Smith, who specializes in classic British mysteries set between the wars, poses a complex mystery designed to keep you and his clever sleuth guessing.”
Kirkus Reviews on Blood From a Stone

"The wit and plot are as sparkling as the sapphires in Gordon-Smith’s seventh case for Jack. She incorporates enough intrigue and adventure to please any reader of traditional British mysteries."
Library Journal on Blood from a Stone

Kirkus Reviews
Ancient sapphires provide the motive for several murders. Society sleuth Jack Haldean's friend Isabelle Stanton soon rues the good deed she does by helping out a Frenchwoman overwhelmed with caring for her children on a train trip to London. On the way to wash up the little girl, Isabelle encounters a terrified man in the doorway of a compartment. He's just discovered a headless body hanging out the window and a beautiful sapphire necklace on the floor. Inspector Rackham, who's sent to investigate, is joined at the station by Jack and by Isabelle's husband, Arthur. Inspecting the unidentified man's belongings reveals a picture of Mrs. Frank Leigh, of Breagan Grange, wearing the necklace, which she inherited from a Mrs. Paxton, who's apparently been recently poisoned by her nephew, Terence Napier, who'd revealed to her that the son she had thought died in the Great War was a deserter living in Paris. Mrs. Paxton is related to Frank Leigh, but the precious stones, which had originally been found in an ancient cave on the Breagan Grange property, have been left not to Frank, but to Evie, his second wife. Certain that his nephew Terence is innocent, Francis Leigh has already hired a private detective but is eager to procure Haldean's help as well. Both the police and Jack are sure they could solve the case if they could only identify the dead man, but that proves to be much more difficult than they imagined. Gordon-Smith, who specializes in classic British mysteries set between the wars (Trouble Brewing, 2012, etc.), poses a complex mystery designed to keep you and his clever sleuth guessing.
Library Journal
The village folks (circa 1926) are shaken when widowed Mrs. Paxton is poisoned in her home. It's believed that her nephew killed her for her sapphire necklace, and now he's disappeared. Turns out the jewels had been willed to Evangeline Leigh, who is Celia Leigh's stepmother. Series regular Isabelle Thornton is Celia's friend. A few weeks later, a passenger is murdered on the same train on which Isabelle is riding; puzzlingly, a sapphire necklace is found at his feet. Isabelle remembers the Paxton connection, and soon Scotland Yard Insp. Bill Rackham asks his buddy Jack Haldean to investigate. Jack and Isabelle begin snooping around the Leigh family estate. On the grounds are some noteworthy British Roman ruins, including an underground altar, and Jack and Isabelle make some shocking discoveries. Problem is, another guest knows more, and things get excitingly dangerous. VERDICT The wit and plot are as sparkling as the sapphires in Gordon-Smith's seventh case for Jack (after Trouble Brewing). She incorporates enough intrigue and adventure to please any reader of traditional British mysteries. For fans of Kerry Greenwood's "Phryne Fisher" series; try with Elizabeth Peters's readers, too.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780727882639
  • Publisher: Severn House Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/1/2013
  • Series: Jack Haldean Mysteries Series
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Dolores Gordon-Smith lives in Greater Manchester and is married, with five teenage children and assorted dogs and cats.

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