The Secret Rooms: A castle filled with intrigue, a plotting duchess and a mysterious death Paperback – 2 May 2013
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Gripping. Reads like the best kind of mystery story. It is a tale of mistresses and heirlooms, cowardice and connivance (Sunday Times)
'Astonishing, jaw-dropping, superb. Horrifying, extraordinary (Sunday Telegraph)
Extraordinary, edge-of-the-seat, enthralling. All the ingredients of a lurid horror. The plot is thick with destroyed documents, decadent aristocracy, betrayed honour and curses (Metro)
Compelling. A remarkable piece of research which throws a bright shaft of light on powerful people, hypocrisy and the first world war (Jeremy Paxman Guardian, Books of the Year)
Wonderful . . . has everything: family intrigue and hatred, love and war, witches' curses, eccentricity, snobbery and a series of shocking secrets. No reader can finish it unmoved (Sunday Express)
Teems with hypocrisy, deceit, parental manipulation and bullying. Bailey artfully shows how guilt, grief, pride and shame levied a heavy toll (Literary Review)
An extraordinary detective operation (John Julius Norwich)
Excellent, beautifully crafted, fascinating (Red)
Excellent. A fine, suspenseful, atmospheric tale, a less melodramatic and more nuanced Downton Abbey (Daily Express)
Bailey's fascinating book takes us to the heart of a family tragedy ... this is a horrifying story of love, despair, intrigue, snobbery and upper class eccentricity which reads like fiction but is amazingly - and shockingly - real (Lancashire Evening Post)
The mysterious death of a Duke and a castle full of treacherous goings-on make The Secret Rooms a gripping read for fans of Downton Abbey. As thrilling as any fiction, Catherine Bailey uncovers the darkest depths of a family with plenty of skeletons in its closet (Good Housekeeping)
About the Author
Catherine Bailey is the author of Black Diamonds. She read history at Oxford University and is a successful, award-winning television producer and director, making a range of critically acclaimed documentary films inspired by her interest in twentieth century history. She lives in West London.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a book that actually took me by surprise. I'd read the first few pages a while back and didn't feel compelled to continue. I have to be in a certain kind of a mood for a mystery, and I never felt that the time was right. When I finally did persevere, though, I found an absolute gem of a book. There are actually 3 mysteries, which are the gaps in John's life, and Bailey does an excellent job of keeping the reader wondering about what's happened while slowly revealing a picture of an aristocratic family which simply no longer exists.
The book is structured with chapters that are fairly short. A number of them end in cliffhangers, so that as a reader I was compelled to go on and read more to see what the author would find next; I actually read most of the book on a train and it was the perfect distraction to make a long journey seem much shorter. More than waiting to find out the mysteries, though, I was fascinated by the world which Bailey revealed. John's life, and that of his parents and siblings, is still full of aristocratic excess, but crisis and change is very clearly on the horizon.Read more ›
I found it quite disturbing that Violet was able to impact on John's life in such a way, but I suppose that is the difference between the upper and lower echelons of society - it's not what you know, but WHO you know. This book was excellent, very readable, really well researched, and fascinating to me. Highly recommended.
That discovery set her on a different track altogether and posed a set of questions about why the ninth Duke had spent part of his life in these 'secret rooms' which were sparse in comparison to the opulence in the castles main areas.
The book reads rather like a detective novel and could easily have been the basis of a story from Wilkie Collins as the tale gives family intrigue, scheming, and 'skeletons in the cupboard.'
I enjoyed Catherine Bailey's writing style, which gave the narrative pace and her construction of secrets and parts of the jigsaw being revealed until the whole picture is complete was a successful one.
The story is many things wrapped into one, "author discovers hidden family secrets," and a highly readable tale of privilege, power, deceit and mystery. Recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Started well turned into s book on war not my kind of book sorry I skipped many many pages first 350/0 goodPublished 1 month ago by Jennyg
This is like a programme on the Discovery Channel. Good title. Shame about the lack of content.
The author obviously did a lot of research but failed to find anything of... Read more
Fascinating account of eccentric personalities, life, loss, tragedy, upper class clout, and family secrets. Read morePublished 3 months ago by PlastigFfantastig
Yes, I did enjoy reading this book, which I did over Easter at a cracking rate. The detail of history, being provided from first-hand documentation, was fascinating: who knew you... Read morePublished 3 months ago by GoJoGlitz
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