Review Blog

Dec 30 2019

Laetitia Rodd and the Case of the Wandering Scholar by Kate Saunders

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Bloomsbury, 2019. ISBN: 9781526611116.
Recommended for readers aged 15+ - Adult readers. Themes: Murder mystery; Redemption; Religious expression Laetitia Rodd is the widow of a former English Archdeacon and a very proper woman, living in rather reduced circumstances since her husband's death. Her history though has left her with compassion, lots of time and a collection of very interesting clerical acquaintances. She is also rather good at solving mysteries - this is the second book where her detective and observational skills are put to use. Her brother, a renowned and rambunctious lawyer, gets her involved in an investigation on behalf of a dying man which leads her to the home of a clerical household - her match-making skills had enabled their marriage ten years before. This interruption into her normal quiet life is further complicated when she becomes involved in investigating a murder. The suspected murderers seem to be the least likely to have completed the crime, but all the evidence points towards them. Mrs Laetitia Rodd, Inspector Blackbeard (a former 'colleague' in investigation) and her brother as legal counsel all work together to untangle the evidence and possibly defend the suspects. The complications continue, as happens in all good murder mysteries, and Mrs Rodd must work hard, with all her good graces to work our where truth lies. And truth does get uncovered, and justice is done.
This is a murder mystery, in the style of Television English clerical murder mystery dramas or even of an Agatha Christie Miss Marple murder mystery, where confession, faith, goodness, subterfuge, evil and murder are mixed together in a complex web. Mrs Rodd is a delightful character able to move through religious circles, with Oxford scholars, in rich and wealthy homes and with the poorer members of the community, and with wit and wisdom is able to unravel all the plot complications of a classic and old-fashioned murder mystery.
This is a pleasure to read. Set in a time of decorum and mannerly behaviour, and with faith observances a part of the culture of the day, the crimes and problems of the day are often hidden with tactful discretion to be uncovered unobtrusively by the careful investigations of the gracious central character.
Carolyn Hull

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