Elizabeth Edmondson creates a fascinating mystery set in 1953 England in A Man of Some Repute. After being shot in the leg during intelligence service in Berlin, Hugo Hawksworth gets sent to do desk work in the small town of Selchester, being billeted with his orphaned 13-year-old sister, Georgia, at Selchester Castle, which has been largely abandoned for the past seven years since the disappearance of the earl, who seems to have wandered out into a major snow storm, never to be seen again. The day after Hugo’s arrival in Selchester, men repairing a leak in the pipes in the old chapel come across a set of bones that soon prove to be the murdered body of Lord Selchester. Since this has serious implications for the intelligence service stationed under the name of a government statistics agency, Hugo’s boss assigns him to “deal with” the situation.
Along with Freya, the impoverished cousin of the late Lord Selchester assigned by the family to act as caretaker for the castle, Hugo sets out to uncover the truth. They are determined not to allow the government to make a scapegoat of the son of Lord Selchester, a war hero killed in Palestine soon after his father’s disappearance and thus who cannot defend himself. Georgia and their uncle, Priest Leo, step up to help with the investigation. The team uncovers dark secrets about the Earl and has a limited group of suspects, since the storm has kept away most of the invited guests.
I really enjoyed the flavor of post-World War II England and the clandestine services, as well as life that still includes rationing despite the war’s having concluded eight years prior. In addition, the characters are well developed and delightful to make one’s acquaintance with. I enjoyed the strong female characters, especially young Georgia, who decidedly knows who she is and exerts herself as an independent spirit. While some books that feature strong women turn the men into weaker characters, this book shows the way that individuals, whether man or woman, do not have to sacrifice others in order to succeed, but rather do their best when they work together.
Michael Page performs the audio narration of this book and makes it enjoyable to soak up the plot.
I highly enjoyed reading A Man of Some Repute and immersing myself in the world of espionage. It has a great mystery plot while also giving a great taste of life in 1953. I recommend this book very highly and award it five stars!
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