Mortmain Hall by Martin Edwards
ENGLAND, 1930. Grieving widows are a familiar sight on London's Necropolis Railway. So when an elegant young woman in a black veil boards the funeral train, nobody guesses her true purpose.
But Rachel Savernake is not one of the mourners. She hopes to save a life – the life of a man who is supposed to be cold in the grave. But then a suspicious death on the railway track spurs her on to investigate a sequence of baffling mysteries: a death in a blazing car; a killing in a seaside bungalow; a tragic drowning in a frozen lake. Rachel believes that the cases are connected – but what possible link can there be?
Rich, ruthless and obsessed with her own dark notions of justice, she will not rest until she has discovered the truth. To find the answers to her questions she joins a house party on the eerie and remote North Yorkshire coast at Mortmain Hall, an estate. Her inquiries are helped – and sometimes hindered – by the impetuous young journalist Jacob Flint and an eccentric female criminologist with a dangerous fascination with perfect crimes...
Mortmain Hall is at once a gripping thriller and a classic whodunit puzzle: a Golden Age Gothic mystery, the finest novel yet from a modern master of crime writing.
This is a great book for all you fans of Agatha Christie and Daphne Du Maurier. It was a great escapism from the current Coronavirus pandemic.
I loved the writing style of Mortmain Hall which had a Gothic feel to it and reflected the era of Britain in the 1930s. The story was told through multiple character's viewpoints which I loved. Each character was well developed and had a story line of their own. When the characters finally came together all the pieces of the puzzle slowly unravelled, which was very in-keeping with other Golden Age Gothic mysteries, which I loved.
This is the second novel in the Rachel Savernake series and although it can be read as a standalone I would have liked to have read Gallows Court first to get more of an insight into the main character's early life and her relationship with her father. Having said that I don't know if the first book explores this avenue and I was given enough information about Savernake to gain an understanding of her personality and to follow her in this particular novel. Savernake is a confident, unassuming character who mostly delegates roles to journalist Jacob Flint in order to find answers. She is blunt, focused and doesn't hold back with her opinions however, her relationship with the Trueman family shows a softer side to her nature.
Jacob was a relatable character. He was a hard working man, trying to make ends meat who was desperate to please Savernake and get to the bottom of the mysteries presented to him. He got himself into a few tricky situations in this novel which made him even more likeable in my opinion.
The plot was very intriguing and had lots of twists and turns along the way, keeping me guessing and suspecting everyone. I particularly loved the concept of the three characters who 'got away with murder'; their individual stories were fascinating and I enjoyed reading about them, trying to work out what relevance they had to the novel as a whole.
Although the title is called Mortmain Hall it isn't until half way through that we are given information about the house. I was very curious to find out more and was delighted when Savernake was invited, along with three other characters, to join the host at Mormain Hall. This grand house and its setting is pivotal in ramping up the tension and suspense as you question why they have been invited and know something is about to go down. And just when you think you have everything figured out you are back to questioning everyone and everything again.
I really enjoyed this book and loved how at the end of the novel the author shares the cluefinders; the thirty-four clues in the narrative which lead to the principle strands of the plot. After reading them it is obvious (the clues were right in front of you the whole time) and I felt almost foolish that I didn't reach the right conclusion earlier 😆😜
Thank you to Midas Publications and Martina Ticic for inviting me to join the Mortmain Hall blog tour and to Head of Zeus. I am now off to purchase Gallows Court.
Don't forget to look out for the other bloggers' reviews during the blog tour.