Death has deep roots

Michael Francis Gilbert, 1912-2006

Book - 2019

"A London crowd awaits the trial of Victoria Lamartine, suspected for the murder of her former lover. Lamartine - who years ago escaped from the Gestapo - is set to meet her end at the gallows. One final opportunity remains: solicitor Nap Rumbold is called to replace the defence counsel, granting an eight-day reprieve. Without any time to spare, Rumbold crosses the Channel to trace the roots of the crime back into the war-torn past. Expertly combining authentic courtroom drama at the Old Ba...iley with a perilous quest for evidence across France, Gilbert's novel is an unorthodox marvel of the mystery genre"--

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Series
Gilbert, Michael Francis, 1912-2006. Second World War mystery ; 5.
British Library crime classics.
Subjects
Genres
Mystery fiction
Legal fiction (Literature)
Thrillers (Fiction)
Detective and mystery fiction
Published
Naperville, Illinois : Poisoned Pen Press 2019.
Language
English
Physical Description
278 pages ; 19 cm
ISBN
9781492699538
1492699535
9780712352284
0712352287
Main Author
Michael Francis Gilbert, 1912-2006 (author)
Other Authors
Martin Edwards, 1955- (writer of introduction)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Gilbert (1912–2006) arrived on the British crime-fiction scene toward the end of the golden age of Christie, et al., and while he is less known today than many of his predecessors, his work has aged beautifully. Published in 1951, this latest addition to the British Library Crime Classics series shows Gilbert at his best, displaying both impressive psychological acuity and innovative plotting, combining courtroom drama with amateur sleuthing. What starts out looking like a locked-room mystery (a former intelligence officer is killed in a London hotel room, and a Frenchwoman who worked with the victim in the Resistance appears to be the only person who could have done the deed) quickly moves into something much more complex. Alternating between courtroom scenes at the Old Bailey and the efforts of two investigators for the defense—one working in London, the other in France—to supply the facts necessary to unlock the locked room, Gilbert serves a perfectly blended narrative stew. The give-and-take between prosecution and defense is compelling in itself, and the French backstory, a kind of Resistance thriller in microcosm, adds satisfying richness to the meal. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In this entry in the British Library Crime Classics series, first published in 1951, Gilbert (1912–2006) does a masterly job of blending whodunit, courtroom drama, and thriller. Victoria Lamartine, a Frenchwoman living in London a few years after WWII, has been charged with stabbing Maj. Eric Thoseby to death in his room. During the war, Thoseby worked as a British agent in the same part of France where Lamartine ran errands for the Resistance. The prosecution believes that Lamartine was motivated by hatred of the victim, who fathered her child and then abandoned them both. On the eve of her trial, she switches attorneys and enlists Noel Anthony Pontarlier Rumbold to defend her, asserting not only her innocence but that Thoseby was not the father of her now-dead son. Rumbold's efforts on her behalf, which take him across the Channel to investigate, expose him to danger, even as skilled barrister Hargest Macrea uses his superior cross-examination skills to raise doubts about the government's case. Readers who like their detection balanced by action will be more than satisfied. (Nov.) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"A London crowd awaits the trial of Victoria Lamartine, suspected for the murder of her former lover. Lamartine - who years ago escaped from the Gestapo - is set to meet her end at the gallows. One final opportunity remains: solicitor Nap Rumbold is called to replace the defence counsel, granting an eight-day reprieve. Without any time to spare, Rumbold crosses the Channel to trace the roots of the crime back into the war-torn past. Expertly combining authentic courtroom drama at the Old Bailey with a perilous quest for evidence across France, Gilbert's novel is an unorthodox marvel of the mystery genre"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Mystery crime fiction written in the Golden Age of MurderAn eager London crowd awaits the trial of Victoria Lamartine, hotel worker, ex-French Resistance fighter, and the only logical suspect for the murder of her supposed lover, Major Eric Thoseby. Lamartine—who once escaped from the clutches of the Gestapo—is set to meet her end at the gallows.One final opportunity remains: the defendant calls on solicitor Nap Rumbold to replace the defence counsel,and grants an eight-day reprieve from the proceedings. Without any time to spare, Rumbold boards a ferry across the Channel, tracing the roots of the brutal murder back into the war-torn past.Expertly combining authentic courtroom drama at the Old Bailey with a perilous quest for evidence across France, Death Has Deep Roots is an unorthodox marvel of the mystery genre.