Harry Probert-Lloyd has inherited the estate of Glanteifi and appointed his assistant John as under-steward. But his true vocation, to be coroner, is under threat. Against his natural instincts, Harry must campaign if he is to be voted as coroner permanently by the local people and politicking is not his strength.
On the hustings, Harry and John are called to examine the body of Nicholas Rowland, a radical and pioneering schoolteacher whose death may not be the accident it first appeared. What was Rowland’s real relationship with his eccentric patron, Miss Gwatkyn? And why does Harry’s rival for the post of coroner deny knowing him? Harry’s determination to uncover the truth threatens to undermine both his campaign and his future.
PUBLISHED BY DOME PRESS
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alis Hawkins grew up on a dairy farm in Cardiganshire. After attending the local village primary school and Cardigan County Secondary school, she left West Wales to read English at Oxford. Subsequently, she has has done various things with her life, including becoming a speech and language therapist, bringing up two sons, selling burgers, working with homeless people, and helping families to understand their autistic children. And writing. Always. Nonfiction (autism related), plays (commissioned by heritage projects) and, of course, novels. Alis’s first novel, Testament, was published in 2008 by Macmillan and was translated into several languages. (It has recently been acquired for reissue, along with her medieval trilogy of psychological thrillers by Sapere Books). Her current historical crime series featuring blind investigator Harry Probert-Lloyd and his chippy assistant, John Davies, is set in Cardiganshire in the period immediately after the Rebecca Riots. As a sideeffect of setting her series there, instead of making research trips to sunny climes like more foresighted writers, she just drives up the M4 to see her family. Now living with her partner on the wrong side of the Welsh/English border (though she sneaks back over to work for the National Autistic Society in Monmouthshire) Alis speaks Welsh, collects rucksacks and can’t resist an interesting fact.
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Book 3 in the series and Harry and John are back! And this time their cases prove to be more complex than ever. Especially with Harry having his head turned by the lure of local politics. He is aiming to be elected coroner full time, but it isn't proving an easy task.
The death of a popular local teach has raised some alarm bells. He was found on the floor, seemingly having fallen out of a loft. Did he fall or was he pushed? And when the local magistrates want the case closed quickly, the irks Harry as he's never one to just settle! He wants to find out what really happened and if he has to ruffle some feathers to get to the truth, he doesn't care!
As always, we have the alternating points of view of Harry and John which works so well for these characters as it gives you time with them both to watch things unfold.
The more they delve into the life of the deceased teacher, the darker the plot becomes. His aim was to prove how good small welsh schools could be, but many were against this, and they uncover family feuds too so the list of suspects begins to grow. Despite their own battles personally, their focus rarely waivers from the case.
The sense of history surrounding the story is as strong as ever, showing up the treatment of women and how society expected them to behave was especially illuminating.
This is a story full of secrets and scandal, and I just loved how determined and clever Harry and John were in getting to the bottom of the mystery of just how the teacher died. I also really appreciated the notes at the back of the book that gave more historical insight into the times when the book was set.
A fantastic novel, and a series that I hope will carry on for some time to come!!