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    Review of DEATH AND THE JUBILEE by David Dickinson


    Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2003

    When an aging German banker is found, his body decapitated, hands severed, Lord Francis Powerscourt is called into action. Powerhouse has developed a reputation as an investigator but this case is bigger than anything he has tackled. A vast conspiracy to destroy the British Empire threatens England's place in the world. Germans and Irish republicans combine to threaten Queen Victoria--and the institutions that British power rests upon. Before his investigation is complete, Powerscourt will be shot at several times, develop interest in early arson research, and put his own wife at risk.

    Author David Dickinson (see more reviews of novels by Dickinson) draws a convincing picture of Britain at the end of the 19th century. Victoria nears the end of her long reign and the entire Empire prepares to celebrate her jubilee. Yet already, Germany (still allied with Britain at this time) sees its place as the dominant nation of the world and views Britain as its primary threat.

    Powerscourt makes a sympathetic protagonist. He is clever enough to make a difference, willing to throw himself into the investigation, and very much in love with his wife and family. Scenes where Powerscourt plays cricket or visits his tutor add depth to this interesting character. His curiosity about arson plays into the story and also shows the type of talent that makes Powerscourt an effective investigator.

    Dickinson introduces enough subplots to keep up reader interest. Even minor characters such as Dominick Knox of the Irish Office tantilize the reader interest. Unlike GOOD NIGHT SWEET PRINCE, the earlier novel in this series (see our review of GOOD NIGHT SWEET PRINCE), DEATH AND THE JUBILEE is conservative rather than questioning of authority. Both novels are definitely worth the read.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 7/21/03

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