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Fool's Gold: A Lord Ambrose Historical Mystery    by Jane Jakeman order for
Fool's Gold
by Jane Jakeman
Order:  USA  Can
Prime Crime, 2006 (1999)
Hardcover, Softcover, Paperback
* *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

Meet Lord Ambrose of England. A Byronic man of rebellious disposition, now home in the spring of 1833 after having fought alongside the radicals in revolutionary Greece, the reclusive Lord Ambrose is regarded by others as 'the unsociable owner of the greatest estate in the West Country.'

Otherwise content in his solitude at Malfine, Lord Ambrose suddenly finds himself temporary host - and something more - to Miss Elisabeth Anstruther, a beautiful and fiercely independent young woman whose tenure as governess to the Crawshays has abruptly and tragically ended. When Elisabeth secures another position thirty miles away from Malfine as companion to Lady Clara Jesmond, Lord Ambrose - with mixed feelings - believes his commitment to Elisabeth is now ended.

But in Jane Jakeman's exciting historical mystery - as always happens in classic mysteries - murder suddenly changes the course of events. A young guest at Jesmond Place is found dead in his bed, apparently the victim of poison, and Elisabeth is puzzled about the circumstances. She has seen crimes committed in the past (at the Crawshays!), and she is now suspicious. One clue - a list of words and phrases written in an uneven hand - especially concerns her: 'Coals of fire. / Quicksilver. / Cakes of Glass.'

Properly fearful of the dangers at Jesmond Place, Elisabeth sends a letter to Lord Ambrose in which she informs him of the death and begs him to come quickly to help her. After all, as she certainly knows, where there is one murder, there are quite often others. Of course, Lord Ambrose - because of his special feelings for the young woman - goes immediately to Jesmond Place where, as another famous sleuth would have said, 'The game's afoot!'

In Fool's Gold, a sophisticated and stylish novel, Jane Jakeman serves up a darkly atmospheric tale of homicide and horror filled with plenty of cleverly executed twists and turns. Remarkable for its excellent prose and intriguing period details, like the three previous Lord Ambrose mysteries, Fool's Gold is beautifully evocative of early 19th century gothic novels. So, reader, drink deeply from Ms. Jakeman's deliciously dark draught of terror, greed, and love. This intriguing concoction of death and romance with Lord Ambrose as sleuth-extraordinaire is guaranteed to slake your thirst for mystery and murder.

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