Rules of Engagement (Sir John Fielding Series #11)

Rules of Engagement (Sir John Fielding Series #11)

4.0 6
by Bruce Alexander

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The suicide of a lord happens at the same time a hypnotism specialist arrives in London—a man patronized by the lord's beautiful wife. It's a coincidence the blind Sir John Fielding can't fail to notice.


The suicide of a lord happens at the same time a hypnotism specialist arrives in London—a man patronized by the lord's beautiful wife. It's a coincidence the blind Sir John Fielding can't fail to notice.

Editorial Reviews

Marilyn Stasio
Bruce Alexander's passion was 18th-century London, and while the posthumous publication of Rusles of Engagement marks the end of his remarkable six-book series featuring Sir John Fielding, the blind magistrate of the Bow Street Court, it is such a ripping good read that it deserves special attention. Alexander, who died in 2003, was a stickler for historical authenticity, but his richly detailed fiction has more than period atmosphere going for it. As he demonstrates in this story about a fashionable mesmerist who has all of London agog, he had a purist's grasp of the principles of storytelling in the grand classic tradition.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Alexander's many fans will find the final, posthumous Sir John Fielding mystery (after 2003's The Price of Murder) a bittersweet experience. It marks a triumphant return to the series' strengths, with the blind magistrate Fielding, the real-life founder of London's fledgling police force, the Bow Street Runners, once again playing a prominent role in unraveling a baffling crime. When Lord Lammermoor, who's involved in drafting emergency legislation to combat the American rebels on the eve of the Revolutionary War, falls to his death from Westminster Bridge, the insightful sleuth and his loyal legman, Jeremy Proctor, uncover clues suggesting that the lord was murdered, possibly through a form of hypnotism. While the guilty party's identity is obvious fairly early on, the author's gifts for vivid characterizations, colorful period details and fast pacing are very much in evidence. His two collaborators deserve acclaim for making it impossible to tell where Alexander's words end and theirs begin, and for enabling one of the worthier recent historical series to go out on a well-deserved high note. Agent, Phalen G. Hurewitz at Isaacman, Kaufman and Painter. (Mar. 3) FYI: Alexander was the pseudonym for Bruce Cook, who died in 2003. The nearly completed manuscript was finished by his wife, Judith Aller, and mystery author John Shannon (Terminal Island). Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In the final addition to Alexander's popular historical series about a blind 18th-century English magistrate, Sir John Fielding and his clerk Jeremy investigate the alleged suicide of Lord Lammermoor, a strongly anti-colonist politician who apparently jumped from the Westminster Bridge. But appearances, as they say, can be deceiving: the man's mistress, a former employee of Sir John, has a story to tell, and the man's widow-his second wife-has an agenda all her own. Historical references, family intrigue, a mesmerizing doctor, hidden passageways, and marrying characters enliven the plot: for all collections. Following Alexander's death last year, mystery author John Shannon (Terminal Island) and Alexander's widow completed the manuscript. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 10/1/04.] Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The inexplicable suicide of a powerful British lord leads Sir John Fielding and Jeremy Proctor to the weird worlds of medical quackery and necromancy. In 18th-century London, the Lord Chief Justice appeals to jurist and sometime sleuth Sir John Fielding when several witness see the distinguished Lord Lammermoor jump to his death from Westminster Bridge-even though he had no apparent reason to kill himself. Giving Sir John an edge is the secret disclosure of Annie Oakum, a former cook in the Fielding household gone on to thespian fame at the Drury Lane Theatre with David Garrick's famous troupe. She confesses to wide-eyed Jeremy, the blind Sir John's eyes, legs, and amanuensis, that she spent the night with Lammermoor, her lover, before his fatal leap. A dispute between the coroner, grim Mr. Trezavant, and the earnest doctor who first examined the body leads to an unsatisfying judgment of suicide, and further probing by Jeremy for Sir John. Sir John is suspicious of secretive Lady Lammermoor, who's tight with Mr. Goldsworthy, a "progressive" physician who claims he can heal with magnets and magnetized water. Unfortunately, the investigation's timing couldn't be worse for Jeremy, whose marriage to his long-time love Clarissa, Lady Fielding's ward, is imminent. Published posthumously, this 11th installment in the elegant Fielding series (The Price of Murder, 2003, etc.) was completed by the author's widow and mystery writer Jack Shannon. Most readers will wish for more.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sir John Fielding Series, #11
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.73(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Bruce Alexander was the pseudonym for Bruce Cook, the well-known author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction. When Alexander died in late 2003, he had completed most of Rules of Engagement, leaving behind notes on how the remainder of the story was to unfold. The novel has been completed by John Shannon and Alexander's wife, Judith Aller. Shannon himself is the author of four novels as well as six books in the highly praised Jack Liffey mystery series, most recently Terminal Island.

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Rules of Engagement (Sir John Fielding Series #11) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I always enjoy reading Bruce Alexander, and especially the John Fielding series. A very enjoyable and easy read.
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harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1775 a saddened Lord Chief Justice William Murray asks a favor of Sir John Fielding, the magistrate of the Bow St. Court. William explains to John and his clerk Jeremy Proctor how Lord Francis Talley died. The aristocrat was completing work on a bill to blockade the four biggest American ports so the economic consequences will put an end to the Adams¿ nonsense when he left his office to take a walk. Halfway across the Westminster Bridge he suddenly leaped into the Thames; several witnesses willingly testified to that account of the suicide. William wonders why. John agrees to make discrete inquiries to learn what motivated Francis to kill himself.................... John and Jeremy soon learn that Dr. Goldsworthy, is a newcomer in town whose patron is the widow of William¿s clerk. This leads the sleuths to wonder who would gain most by Lord Francis dying and soon realize that no member of the dysfunctional Lammermoor family grieves and some act euphoric celebrating the death of its patriarch Lord Francis.......................... Though the great mystery author Bruce Alexander passed away, his fans (including this reviewer) still have a treat as his wife and John Shannon completed his last Sir John novel and no one will know who wrote which part. The story line is fabulous as Jeremy is a sort of Watson looking back from near the end of the century writing about his salad days as a clerk sleuthing for his employer and mentor. Sir John and Jeremy remain true to their personalities from previous tales and the mystery of Lord Francis¿ death is cleverly designed. RULES OF ENGAGEMENT is a wonderful homage to a notable writer........................ Harriet Klausner