Death on the Holy Mountain


The recent theft of family portraits seems to be nothing more than a prank after the artwork is returned, painted over with the faces of locals. But then a body is discovered, and Lord Francis Powerscourt risks everything to find the killer.

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Death on the Holy Mountain

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The recent theft of family portraits seems to be nothing more than a prank after the artwork is returned, painted over with the faces of locals. But then a body is discovered, and Lord Francis Powerscourt risks everything to find the killer.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Dickinson's witty, highly literate seventh Lord Francis Powerscourt novel (after 2007's Death on the Nevskii Prospekt) provides a lively portrait of turn-of-the-last-century Ireland, where the English investigator and his wife, Lady Lucy, track down missing ancestral paintings of Anglo-Irish overlords, rescue kidnapped noblewomen from Irish nationalists and unmask murderers defiling the sacred Croagh Patrick pilgrimage. Large dollops of Ireland's long bloody struggle for independence counterpoint snatches of the country's famed song and poetry as Powerscourt thrashes out his inner dilemma against the labor pains of modern nationhood, torn between his aristocratic English heritage and the Ireland of his youth that he still loves deeply. Meanwhile, Ireland's religious and political leaders juggle fanaticism against practicality and Celtic voodoo against political expediency. Though Lady Lucy's role here is subordinated to Dickinson's evident relish in historical settings, architecture, art and poetry, this novel provides splendid entertainment and a wealth of insights into still-smoldering resentments and conflicts. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
The probe of an odd art theft leads an amateur British sleuth to murder most dastardly. The retired Lord Francis Powerscourt is looking forward to checking out an advance copy of his new book, The Cathedrals of England, Volume One, when an urgent summons from Lord Brandon, the Earl of Lincoln, beguiles him into his seventh adventure (Death on the Nevskii Prospekt, 2006, etc.). He's deflated to find that the mystery doesn't involve murder or blackmail but some missing paintings from Brandon's family home. Still, oddities surrounding the affair intrigue him. A row of family portraits are missing along with a seemingly random handful of more valuable works. After an initial visit to the crime scene in rural Ireland, Powerscourt invites his wife Lucy and his friend and collaborator Johnny Fitzgerald to join him both as fertile minds to test his theories on and companions for his extracurricular wanderings. Much excitement and activity attend the construction of a new chapel at the summit of Croagh Patrick. The mystery of the missing paintings deepens when some of them reappear with editorial additions. Brandon thinks it an elaborate practical joke, but Powerscourt suspects that there are clues in the paintings. Strange and violent acts, culminating in a chapel murder, confirm these suspicions. A leisurely period whodunit with Dickinson's customary historical tidbits and patches of local color, swathed in an appealing Victorian narrative.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781569475706
  • Publisher: Soho Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/1/2009
  • Series: Lord Francis Powerscourt Series
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

David Dickinson has an honors degree in Classics from Cambridge. Working for the BBC, he became editor of Newsnight and Panorama, as well as series editor of Monarchy. He is the author of eight mysteries in the Lord Powerscourt series. He lives in Barnes, West London, UK.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    The story line obviously contains a strong investigative whodunit

    In 1905, though semi retired, English private investigator Lord Francis Powerscourt accompanied by his wife Lucy travel to Ireland to look into some odd art thefts. Someone is stealing low valued familial portraits from the mansions of Protestant Lords, but ignoring highly valuable masterpieces from some of the Masters.------------ Francis struggles with the motive as money is obviously not the objective so he assumes a political statement is being made. However, when the portraits with altered faces begin to reappear on the walls they were stolen from, Francis ponders even more the motive behind the crime. Soon after that the bewildered sleuth rescues kidnapped Protestant noblewomen from Irish nationalists but not before someone is murdered inside the chapel at Croagh Patrick while the pilgrimage has begun.-------------- Moving deeper into the Edwardian Era from the Victorian Age of much of the previous Powerscourt historical mysteries David Dickinson provides a deep period piece. The story line obviously contains a strong investigative whodunit, but also much more as the audience obtains a feel for Ireland¿s struggle to become a modern nation. Powerscourt personally feels the tugs, but it is the larger scale of early twentieth century pragmatism warring with rich ancient tradition that makes this book incredible.---------------- Harriet Klausner

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