55. The Deadly Gift by Norah Lofts (1967)
(Originally Published as: Afternoon of an Autocrat) (1956)
Length: 317 pages
Started: 20 September 2010
Finished: 28 September 2010
Where did it come from? From Paperback Swap
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 4 April 2009
Why do I have it? I like Norah Lofts as an author and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.
As the patriarch of the all-powerful Shelmadine family, Sir Charles Augustus Shelmadine was known by all to be a benevolent autocrat. He ruled his little village 'kingdom' with a gentle but firm hand, and was genuinely liked and respected by his tenants for his warm demeanor. He kindly instructed his tenants on the best way to grow their crops; raise their children and handle their love affairs. However, when Sir Charles passed away rather suddenly and unexpectedly, the village stirred uneasily.
The villagers main unease grew from the arrival of the new Squire, Sir Richard Shelmadine. As Sir Charles' son, Sir Richard had recently returned from overseas and seemed quite ready and more than eager to take over his father's title. However, Sir Richard was an unusually secretive man; and the new squire had some very strange ideas. He also surrounded himself with even stranger friends - friends like the mysterious Mr. Mundford.
The strangest thing about Mr. Mundford was that he never seemed to age, and his name was linked to the terrible and infamous Hellfire Club. Mr. Mundford was also very interested in many things that shouldn't ever have interested him. His interest bordered on obsession, really - an almost unholy fascination...with the ruins of an ancient Roman temple; with what happened in the village on All-Hallow's Night; and most especially with a silent and somber young woman with amber eyes called Damask Greenway.
I have always loved Norah Lofts as an author, and despite finding the plot slightly more intricate than I was expecting, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I would definitely give this book an A+! and will certainly be keeping it on my bookshelf to read again.
A+! - (96-100%)
Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight