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Evil Echoes Kindle Edition
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Young Lizzie Tester, inscrutably eloquent beyond her humble status, is initially put to work as a laundry maid under the patronage of the Knightley family. Pleasingly, author Julie Haiselden writes about Lizzie’s upstairs/downstairs life, in the service of nobility, with an understated elegance that perfectly suits the subject matter.
Naturally this proximity of affluence and poverty forms a powerful dichotomy; the masters and mistresses are aloof and handcuffed to duty, while the servants are good-natured and wonderfully Dickensian. And there is also a gratifying cameo performance from a butler whose unwavering pomposity knows no bounds.
This intriguing story gathers at a steady pace and moves to the Knightley’s holiday home in the Lake District: I’d go so far as to say that this is a ‘Far From the Madding Crowd/Downton Abbey/The Hound of the Baskervilles’-style tale of unrequited love, blackmail, missing persons, local scandal and murder.
Haiselden, who might well have been Agatha Christie in her previous incarnation, creates the perfect country detective in Inspector Bishop, a policeman who encourages community tittle tattle and employs chicanery to glean useful titbits of information.
While whispers of unsolved mysteries and unspeakable abominations hang in the air, a character worthy of a Thomas Hardy novel appears on Lizzie’s radar in the form of strong-but-silent innkeeper, Obed Daniels (Gabriel Oak to her Bathsheba Everdene).
Julie Haiselden is an accomplished author whose evocative prose transported me to late 19th century England; in similarity to Agatha Christie, she creatively develops the story via a solid plot structure, and by offering us glimpses of her characters’ psychology.
And (as should always be the case in a murder mystery) there is a startling dénouement!
Hope there is a new publication on the way in the not too distant future.
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