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This is the seventh in a series of Victorian period mysteries written by a husband and wife team under a pseudonym. Well written and well-researched, they are replete with detail evocative of a bygone era. The main characters are engaging and with each passing book, the reader becomes more interested with the details of their lives. As with all cozy mysteries, it is not so much the mystery that is of import but the characters that revolve around the mystery. While the mystery is intriguing, it is simply the framework around which the characters evolve.

The series revolves around Lady Kathryn and her husband, Charles, Baron of Somersworth. This time they are off to the races at Epsom Downs for the Derby, as Lord Charles, an avid and renowned photographer, has been commissioned to take photos of the finish of the race. Unfortunately, a jockey is killed during the race, when the horse he is riding does the unthinkable.

Suspicions of doping and the potentially detrimental effects of such on racing and betting prompts those in high places to engage the services of Lord Charles to investigate just what really happened. Lady Kathryn, meanwhile, schedules Lillie Langtry, who happens to be at Epsom downs, for an interview in hope of writing an article about the famous actress. What she discovers serves only to aid her husband in his investigation. Together, they are, indeed, a formidable investigatory team.

It is of interest that these books always seem to include a historical personage or event that is intertwined into the mystery at hand. The historical notes at the end of the book are most enjoyable, as they allow the reader to understand the reasoning and research that went into such inclusion. In this case, they provide a lot of information about horse racing in England and some of its practices. The injection of Lilly Langtry into the storyline was also quite interesting, and, again, the historical notes are also illuminating as to why. For those who enjoy history, these notes are an added bonus to these books. Those who enjoy the historical cozy mystery genre will definitely love this series.
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This is a nicely balanced book bringing historical figures into a mystery. Horse doping is suddenly under way in England as American jockey Tod Sloan comes over and brings experts in the use of drugs with him. They defraud bookmakers and the public as well as endangering horses and riders.

Meanwhile actress Lillie Langtry has been accused of stealing jewels herself and suing the bank which lost them. Lillie does not come off well and we get to see a lot of her and of a child she supposedly had with the Prince of Wales.

The hero and heroine of the tale accept a commission from the Jockey Club to look into the doping without causing a scandal. However this becomes a murder investigation when a bookmaker is found dead. He had been owed a lot of money by many people - including Lillie - but he was planning to organise the bookies not to accept bets on horses from stables which ran doped horses.

There are a few Americanisms in the text such as a calico cat - we'd call it tortoiseshell and white - and others but not too many. The author duo are mystery author Laura Wittig Albert and her husband.
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on 6 February 2014
The delivery was on time and the book well wrapped.
The story is very slow to get going but if you stick with it you will find the story unfolds and is quite enjoyable.
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on 10 May 2015
Very enjoyable
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on 2 July 2004
Once again the Robin Paige writing team keep the mystery fans on their toes with a well paced addition tom their quality Historical novels. Enjoyable and fun read. Well Done
0Comment4 of 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse