Eric Ward is what’s called an “articled clerk,” in training to become an attorney and working at a notable law firm in Newcastle. He’s also 40, when most articled clerks are half his age. Eric had been a policeman, and a good one, until pensioned out because he developed glaucoma.
At the law firm, Eric does all the hard work for the principal partner’s son. The father suspects as much, and he begins to include Eric in visits to clients. Eric has also been handed an administrative case – disposition of an estate of a deceased client with no known survivors. He recognizes the client’s name – a man who went to prison years before for the murder of a local colonel. It looked like an open-and-shut case, until Eric begins to see anomalies, years after the man had been released from prison, took up a new life, and then died. And the anomalies are attached to a legal matter the firm is handling for a lord, a major landowner in Northumberland. Eric may be in the process of becoming an attorney, but he still has a lot of the policeman in him.
The Sedleigh Hall Murder by British author Roy Lewis tells the story of Eric ward and what he uncovers. It’s set about 1980, so there are no mobile phones, no computers, and no DNA analyses. It’s a top-notch mystery story, with a sympathetic hero struggling with the pain of glaucoma, a fascinating case to unravel, and even a slight touch of romance.
Lewis is the author of some 60 other mysteries, novels, and short story collections. His Inspector Crow series includes A Lover Too Many, Murder in the Mine,The Woods Murder, Error of Judgment, and Murder for Money, among others. The Eric Ward series, of which The Sedleigh Hall Murder is the first (and originally published as A Certain Blindness in 1981), includes 17 novels. The Arnold Landon series is comprised of 22 novels. Lewis lives in northern England.
The Sedleigh Hall Murder is a classic British mystery, as good as any I’ve read. Many of the Lewis mysteries were published 30 and 40 years ago, and kudos to Joffe Books for bringing them back.