Dr. Roger Lavington is summoned to The Bungalow where he finds Maximilian von Rheinhart is dead, shot through the head. And with no pistol to be found it can only be murder. But when he finds a frightened young girl hidden in the room, his compassion leads him to assist her in escaping under the guise of his actress cousin Zoe. Lavington continues to conceal the girl, even when the police discover evidence that there was a woman at the scene. The next day the girl, gives a masterful performance in the village play, and then disappears. Subsequently, a woman fitting her description, carrying papers connecting her to the murdered man, is found to be among the fatalities in a train crash. Has Lavington sheltered a frightened woman or a clever murderess? He may never know.
A heroine with a secret, romance, revenge, some misplaced male chivalry, and twists and turns you don’t see coming. Haynes mixes murder and deception with more than a bit of Gothic romance, but at its heart this was an intricate, well-plotted mystery. And while you would think that the murder would be the focus, in reality the mystery ultimately goes back to the identity of several characters, but most especially the frightened girl. The misdirection accomplished by Haynes, and which keeps the reader guessing until the end definitely deserves praise.
The issue I have with the book…the thing that kept me from truly enjoying it…was Haynes overuse of melodrama. I found that it kept diverting my attention from the mystery. Every time I thought the story was moving along there would be Roger, wringing his hands and gnashing his teeth. If you can get past that you will enjoy yourself, because deep down it is a good mystery.
My Judgement – 3.75/5