Sunday, 14 January 2018

An Oxford Scandal

An Oxford Scandal is a real treat for fans of the historical crime novels of author Norman Russell and for newcomers to his work.

In An Oxford Scandal the reader is taken back to the city of Oxford in the latter part of the Victorian era.

We meet up with Anthony Jardine who is an Oxford tutor who has managed the feat of being both success and popular.

He finds that there are some strains on his life, split as his time is between his working life, his devoted wife Dora and his equally devoted lover, Rachel.

However, the situation is more complex than he could have known as Dora is, what modern society would describe as a junkie, as she is in the terrible grip of an addiction to cocaine. Her behaviour (as a result of her addiction?) is becoming a source of increasing angst for Arthur..

In fact, he retreats, somewhat, into the world of academia as concentrates on the discovery of what appear to be the remains of St Thomas a Becket which were, apparently, hidden in a secret vault at the college.

Then the corpse of Dora is found (murdered in a tram) and, unfortunately for Arthur, as he was in the area, meeting his mistress, he falls under the suspicion of having killed his wife.

Onto the scene comes Inspector James Antrobus who is ably assisted by his friend Sophia Jex-Blake, the pioneering woman doctor and feminist.

The investigation proves to be somewhat complicated, even more so when Rachel, Anthony's  mistress, is also murdered.

Who is the real killer? What on earth could their motives be? And what is the link between, murders and Anthony Jardine and London?

This is an exciting detective knowledge, yet it is also cerebral and very well researched. The inclusion of historical figures like Dr Sophia Jex-Blake is an added element of interest.

The book is published by Matador at a remarkably reasonable £8.99 and it can be purchased here

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