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The Ely Testament
     

The Ely Testament

by Philip Gooden
 

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Third in the highly-acclaimed nineteenth-century ‘Cathedral’ mystery series When Mr Lye, an elderly partner at Tom Ansell’s law firm, drops dead at his desk, Tom is dispatched to Ely to search for Mr Lye’s will at Phoenix House, the home of his brother, Ernest. At the same time, Tom’s wife Helen has been commissioned by

Overview

Third in the highly-acclaimed nineteenth-century ‘Cathedral’ mystery series When Mr Lye, an elderly partner at Tom Ansell’s law firm, drops dead at his desk, Tom is dispatched to Ely to search for Mr Lye’s will at Phoenix House, the home of his brother, Ernest. At the same time, Tom’s wife Helen has been commissioned by New Moon magazine to write a piece on a town with ‘inner beauty’ – and what better place than Ely? But shortly after they arrive at Phoenix House, their host is arrested for murder – and Tom and Helen find themselves at the centre of an ever-deepening mystery.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Set in 1874, Gooden’s competent third whodunit featuring London attorney Tom Ansell (after 2011’s The Durham Deception) takes its time getting to the bloodshed, but intriguing flashbacks to 1645 concerning a murder during the English Civil War maintain the suspense. When Alexander Lye, an elderly partner in the law firm Tom recently joined, dies suddenly at his desk, it appears, ironically, that he may have died intestate. In search of a possible last will and testament left with Ernest Lye, the deceased’s half-brother, Tom sets out for Cambridge, accompanied by his journalist wife, Helen, who has decided to write a magazine article about the nearby cathedral city of Ely. The resolution of the elder Lye’s legacies is complicated by Ernest’s arrest for murder soon after Tom and Helen arrive in Cambridge. Solid prose and appealing characters compensate for a melodramatic twist near the end that dissipates some of the mystery. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Welcome back sleuths Tom and Helen Ansell in their third adventure (after The Durham Deception). In this Victorian-era historical, Tom, a young attorney, is sent to Ely, near Cambridge, to help his law firm settle some affairs. Conveniently, his wife, Helen, is offered an opportunity to write a magazine feature about the Ely area, too. At the same time, a flim-flam man named Charles Tomlinson is working the area, making at least four enemies, including a couple of his former Cambridge University classmates. Finally, someone is angry enough to kill Tomlinson, and the sleuthing Ansells find themselves in the midst of another mystery. Gooden uses flashbacks to the English Civil War (1642�51), since those events have direct connections with the murders taking place in 1874. VERDICT Ely Cathedral's beautiful labyrinth is an apt image for this cleverly puzzled mystery that never becomes tangled up in its plot. Gooden's historical expertise is highlighted by his blending of two time periods, making for an even richer reading experience. Share with your Charles Finch, Anne Perry, and Laurie R. King (Mary Russell series) fans.
Kirkus Reviews
A search for a last will and testament takes a sinister turn. It would prove a major embarrassment to the venerable law firm of Scott, Lye & Mackenzie if old Alexander Lye died intestate. A cursory search of the London home Lye shared with his sister discloses no will among the stacks of paperwork. So after the wake Tom Ansell, an associate in the firm, and his writer wife Helen are packed off to the family home near Ely to see if the document can be found there. Helen, an unusually independent Victorian woman, has a commission from a new publication to write about Cambridge. When they go to Ely to join Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Lye for supper, they chance upon a crowd gathered around a dead body whom Tom recognizes as Mrs. Lye's cousin Charles Tomlinson. The police arrest Ernest, but further investigation convinces them that he's innocent, and finding other suspects is no very hard job. Tomlinson had recently returned from many years abroad after leaving university under a cloud. His charm has made him many friends who quickly turn to enemies when they realize he was just using them to pursue his nefarious schemes. Tom and Helen lend their experience with murder in cathedral towns (The Durham Deception, 2011, etc.) to help solve the case. Interesting information on Victorian funerary customs doesn't quite make up for a meandering mystery.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780727881038
Publisher:
Severn House Publishers
Publication date:
02/01/2012
Pages:
240
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.00(d)

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