The “ambiance” of Death at Thorburn Hall – if a story can have ambiance – is important, but hard to explain. So, I’ll give an example. Have you ever heard a song (think It’s a Small, Small World), and then could not get the song out of your head? What does it say about a book when a reader starts talking to family and friends using the same accent as the dialogue in the story? Well, it’s like that!
Drew Farthering Mystery Series
This is the sixth installment in the series, but sadly, it’s the first one I’ve read. Now I find myself in the predicament of wanting to go back and read the first five!
It’s important to note that you do not have to read the previous books in the series to enjoy this one! It stands completely on its own. I say that from personal experience, obviously.
About the Story – Death at Thorburn Hall
I previously mentioned the “ambiance” of this story. I’m not sure if I ever read a story that I considered to have an ambiance. It goes beyond setting. I guess it’s sort of setting, dialogue, characters and storyline all rolled into one. Yeah, that’s it! The ambiance of this story ROCKS!
The story is set in Gullane, Scotland. This Scottish village is home to Muirfield, the private links (“golf course” for us Americans) that hosted the 1935 Open Championship. The story takes place during Open week and shortly thereafter. Personally, I’m very attracted to stories that blend fact with fiction.
As a golf enthusiast, I was a little appalled when the Open players were discussed, but no mention was made of the better known players of the day, such as Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen. However, when doing some research for this review, I discovered that a number of the better known players – including the two I mentioned – did not even enter the Open that year.
Deering certainly did her homework in that regard. Further, I happen to know that those folks “over there” always refer to the British Open as The Open. This author eloquently captured that pride in the dialogue. (See what I mean about the whole ambiance thing?)
But this story wasn’t about golf – somewhat to my chagrin – except for a few scenes taking place on the links. It was about murder!
I quickly befriended the protagonist, Drew Fathering. If Angela Lansbury (Murder, She Wrote) and William Powell (The Thin Man) had an offspring, it would be Drew. He seems to take everything in stride, and his demeanor puts people at ease. Unless, of course, if you’re a pompous police inspector.
Drew and his wife, along with their two friends, are invited to Thorburn Hall, in Gullane, by distant cousins, Lord and Lady Rainsby. The premise of the trip is a relaxing week at The Open, but Lord Rainsby secretly invited Drew because he suspected some foul play in his business and wanted Drew to quietly investigate.
Before Drew can get into the investigation, Lord Rainsby is killed in a freak accident. Rainsby’s daughter feels her father was murdered, and Drew volunteers to get to the bottom of it.
The stage is now set! What follows is a tale with more switchbacks than Lombard Street in San Francisco! Drew learns that most of the characters involved are not who they seem to be. As more people get murdered, Drew is in a race with the killer – or killers.
As Drew eventually discovers who did what to whom, the growing tension leads to the climax. Like an opera singer holding a high note for a long time, Deering keeps us at the pinnacle of the climax for several pages! What a literary feat!
With the climax over, and we regain our breath, the author treats us to probably the mother of all plot twists! If you told me you saw it coming, I’d likely call you a liar.
I will definitely be going back to read the first book in the series. Drew Fathering has a new fan!
I received a free copy of this book
from Lone Star Book Blog Tours
in exchange for my honest review.