It’s the summer of 1932, and young Drew Farthering is focused on one thing – getting the beautiful American Madeline Parker to accept his proposal of marriage. She’s in love with him, but she isn’t quite ready to say yes. Nevertheless, Drew is having his will changed in Madeline’s favor, and is scheduled to meet with his lawyer.
Except the meeting never happens. The lawyer is found murdered, with an odd note stuck to his chest with a hairpin. The note, written in a beautiful cursive handwriting on parchment paper, doesn’t seem to make much sense.
And then a doctor is killed on a golf course belonging to Drew’s country club. And a note is found pinned to his chest; same handwriting and paper but a different inscription. And then there’s a third murder.
Something is clearly awry in the village of Farthering St. John. And the murders are getting closer and closer to Drew himself.
Death by the Book is Julianna Deering’s second novel in the Drew Fathering mystery series. Published in 2014, the stories are set in 1930s England – and they are meant to remind us of the Golden Age of Mystery (the 1920s and 1930s). Deering’s stories have the slight twist of also having references to faith. Others in the series include Rules of Murder, Murder at the Mikado, Dressed for Death, and Murder on the Moor. A sixth novel, Death at Thorburn Hall, is scheduled for publication in November.
With the help of his friend Nick Dennison, Drew begins to unravel the series of crimes. Madeline plays a somewhat smaller role than she did in the first novel; and she’s almost upstaged by a wonderfully domineering aunt who arrives from America to keep her niece out of the clutches of “those foreigners” like Drew.
Death by the Book is an intriguing mystery, and kudos to Deering for writing a story true to the Golden Age period.
Top photograph by Petr Kratochvil via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.