First Sentence: It took the British Museum five days to realize that they had lost their Caryatid.
Lord Elgin brought part of the ancient temple marbles back to London,
it became a subject of conflict between England and Greece. Now, one of
the Caryatid—a beautiful, 7’ tall maiden who was one of six temple’s
columns--has been uncovered as a fake and the real column missing. Lord
Powerscourt is asked to handle the case, but soon an art theft also
becomes a murder investigation.
One of the many things which
makes this book so appealing is Dickinson’s voice, which conveys the
style of the period, and use of humor…”It was the stroking [of the
statue’s hand] that confirmed to the attendant on duty that this latest
visitor was probably insane and certainly needing intercepting before he
embraced the Caryatid...”
Dickinson has created wonderful
characters in Powerscourt, his wife Lady Lucy—who has a countless number
of useful relatives, and Johnny Fitzgerald—an Irish peer who was in the
war with Powerscourt, and who is overly fond of drink. I particularly
appreciate that Lucy is not a show piece, nor does she run around and
help solve the crimes. Instead, she is a clever and intelligent women
whose opinion and views others take quite seriously.
have Ragg, the director of the museum who reads Shakespeare sonnets to
calm down; and Inspector Kingsley who is writing a children’s book on
the Elgin Marbles as his cover. For those who have followed the series,
it is also nice to see the Powerscourt children, particularly Thomas,
The pacing of the story is very well done. The
story moves nicely at a steady pace, offset by periods of high
excitement and/or suspense.
In addition to excellent
descriptions, we are also invited to share the wonderful flights of
fancy that Powerscourt’s mind can take: “…“Are there any more bids,
ladies and gentlemen?’ Powerscourt thought this was like the Jane Eyre
moment in the wedding service…” as well as appreciate several well-done
metaphors…”…Sokraitis was dying, his liver now a thing of the past, this
other organs shutting down one after another like flowers closing at
the fading of the light.” The inclusion of Powerscourt’s dream inspires
a whole thread lending itself to contemplation and discussion.
of an Elgin Marble” is a bit overcomplicated at times with a tendency
to go off on fairly long literary tangents, but it is wonderfully
written, with some excellent plot twists and relates the timely issue of
to whom to antiquities belong. All-in-all, it was fascinating.
DEATH OF AN ELGIN MARBLE (Hist Mys-Lord Francis Powerscourt-England- Early 1900s) – G+
Dickinson, David – 13th in series
Constable Crime, 2014