A Laetitia Rood Mystery: The Mystery of the Sorrowful Maiden
December 7, 2021
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The Mystery of the Sorrowful Maiden (A Laetitia Rodd Mystery)
by Kate Saunders
Review by Joy Gorence
Author Kate Saunders pulls back the curtains in the Victorian world of theater when Laetitia Rodd, a private investigator and widow of a country vicar, receives a hand-written letter from Benjamin Tully, a neighbor. His request is on behalf of his friend, Mrs. Sarah Transome, the wife of acclaimed London actor, Thomas Transome. What begins as a legal separation case between Mr. and Mrs. Transome develops into a case of murder, mystery, and mayhem. The Mystery of the Sorrowful Maiden plunges readers into a world of actors and actresses who create their own realities as façades for masked truths.
The plot thickens when a partially mummified body is discovered by workmen in The King’s Theater, once leased by Thomas Transome. The only clue to the victim’s identity is the name “Tybalt” sewn into the jacket. Not having survived a fire, the theater has sat idle for ten years, but its new patron, Edgar Betterton, who is a rival of Transome’s, has begun its renovation. Discovering the identity of the victim becomes the impetus for an investigation by Inspector Blackbeard and Mrs. Rodd.
As details unfold, Mrs. Rood discovers that not all is at it appears. When the relationships of all those involved in the investigation are exposed, readers, along with Mrs. Rood, believe they have uncovered the truth. However, the author has played her role expertly in redirecting attention to subplots and creating characters who believe that “all the world’s a stage.” What begins as a story akin to Romeo and Juliet becomes more macabre as the reader soon ascertains that the role one plays often engages one to “look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under it.” What Mrs. Rood learns keeps the reader riveted to the action.
Kate Saunders has created a visor for the characters that leaves the reader wondering the truth about them. She puts the characters on a well-crafted stage and when the curtain closes for the last time, the audience is rewarded with a final twist to a captivating read.
Joy Gorence is new to Killer Nashville. She is an author, world-traveler, English professor (ret.), and avid reader. Originally from Long Island, NY she now lives in South Florida with her husband, Bill, and their two pampered kitties.