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Death on the Holy Mountain    by David Dickinson order for
Death on the Holy Mountain
by David Dickinson
Order:  USA  Can
Soho, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

If you aren't already familiar with David Dickinson and his wonderful Lord Francis Powerscourt murder mystery series, then you are long overdue for a delightful experience.

In Death on the Holy Mountain - the seventh in the well-written series - Lord Powerscourt of London has been summoned to Kingsclere by the Earl of Lincoln, Lord Brandon. The year is 1905 and Brandon is disturbed about an outbreak of thefts of certain valuable paintings from English estates in southern Ireland, and so Brandon calls upon Powerscourt's considerable skills as an investigator.

Powerscourt wastes no time going to Ireland where he quickly encounters mixed receptions from the several wealthy English landowners who have been victimized by the mysterious thieves; some of the English families are openly hostile to Powerscourt's inquiries while a few remain gracious and hospitable. But it is from the Irish locals (some of whom are the presumed suspects in the thefts) that Powerscourt worries he may face his biggest challenge; local hostility between English Protestants and Irish Catholics is building to a particularly dangerous flashpoint, and - at the same time - Powerscourt runs into plenty of deceptions, obstacles, and inflammatory reactions from various sectors.

Then, when a young man is found murdered at the summit of Croagh Patrick - Ireland's holy mountain and site of an important midsummer pilgrimage - Protestant vs. Catholic and English vs. Irish tensions are on the verge of going completely out of control. Only Lord Powerscourt's singular investigative abilities, his keen insight into human nature, and his remarkable patience can save the day.

Lovers of good old fashioned British mysteries will love Death on the Holy Mountain; this top-notch whodunit even includes a delightful golden age of mystery dénouement during which the completely charming and thoroughly classy protagonist gathers the likely suspects together in one room and methodically explains the solution and reveals and exposes the guilty culprit(s) to everyone. With a balanced mixture of superb historical details, finely crafted plot, and exquisite characterizations in Death on the Holy Mountain, David Dickinson has written another clever, literate, and enjoyable mystery. Don't miss it!

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