MURDER, I PRESUME by Gillian Linscott


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It's 1874, and famed African explorer Dr. Livingstone has just been buried in Westminister Abbey. London society is gossiping about the recently returned African expedition headed by Colonel Hardy Stretton--during which Philip Bright claims to have found a lost city. Stretton differs with him. At the same time, the group's smarmy artist Sebastian Ewart is muttering about secrets, and narrator Peter Pentland, a member of the team, has come back with an amputated leg, as well as a determination to remain friends with both Bright and Stretton. They've managed to raise funds for new but separate expeditions and are off again. Stretton's spunky wife Maud needs help from no one, but Bright has asked Pentland to watch over his delicate bride Cecilia. Meanwhile, Ewart is arousing interest in respectable places with his insinuations about the previous expedition. They climax in a well-publicized lecture that ends abruptly when Ewart drops dead--victim of a rare African poison. Pentland's efforts to keep tabs on Cecilia have led him to confusion and suspicion, while he himself seems to be Scotland Yard's leading suspect. Dozens of theories about the murder are hashed over at tedious length, but not until much later does the surprising truth emerge. Linscott handles the period setting gracefully, but the wordiness, cluttered plotting and over-leisurely pace are repeats from her most recent work (Murder Makes Tracks, etc.). A slow slog to a zingy finish.

Pub Date: Dec. 11th, 1990
ISBN: 312-05132-8
Publisher: St. Martin's
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