The year is 1888. Detective Sergeant John Billings has been sent to a remote house in the Yorkshire Moors to investigate the suspicious death of Roger Thornton, a young man who seemed to have everything to live for. He gets a frosty reception from the lady of the house and her rag-tag collection... show more
The year is 1888. Detective Sergeant John Billings has been sent to a remote house in the Yorkshire Moors to investigate the suspicious death of Roger Thornton, a young man who seemed to have everything to live for. He gets a frosty reception from the lady of the house and her rag-tag collection of domestic staff who try to put him off the scent, but as Billings delves deeper into their lives, he uncovers hidden passions, bitter rivalries and a truth so dark and sinister, it will shock you to the core.
Fusing Gothic romanticism and fin-de-siecle melodrama, 'Death Takes A Lover' is a chilling entry into a world which some may not want to enter, but if you do, don't say you haven't been warned...
(contains scenes which some readers may find disturbing.)
Victorian England – superficially gripped by a tight moral and social code, but behind the façade, seething with repressed desires and deeds best left unspoken. Detective Sergeant John Billings travels to a remote Yorkshire farmhouse to investigate the mysterious death of Roger Thornton, a young man who appears to have had the world at his feet. Billings finds a tight-lipped and obstructive community hiding several dark secrets, and he witnesses an uneasy but sometimes disturbing relationship between ‘upstairs and ‘downstairs’. Originally a stage play, this novel is a mixture of gothic horror and fin-de-siecle decadence.
Death Takes a Lover by Olivier Bosman is a Victorian mystery set against the grim backdrop of the North Yorkshire moors. It follows the investigations of Scotland Yard’s Detective Sergeant Billings into the untimely and unexplained death of Roger Thornton. Mrs Thornton, the victim’s mother, and her household staff are less than happy to accommodate the enquiries of yet another detective, having already dealt with the Yorkshire Constabulary. They are all very keen to see the back of DS Billings, but his determination not to be deterred and to hear everybody’s account of the events preceding the death is a successful tactic, as the horrible truth is slowly unveiled.
The addiction to morphine, the disregard for tidiness, the lack of interest in women and the Victorian setting are similarities which could suggest that DS Billings is a slightly sloppier version of Sherlock Holmes, but Olivier Bosman goes even further by making DS Billings gay. The other characters from Death Takes a Lover are all very believable and skilfully portrayed to stand out on their own: Mrs Thornton as a cold and selfish woman, selfish even when the life of her only adored son is at stake; Martha - the cook - is very abrupt and impatient, even mean; Bella Whitfield (Mrs Thornton’s protégée) - apparently aloof and yet not unobservant nor disinterested; Gracie, the imbecile maid, beyond any help; and the butler - always so accommodating. They are all united by the passions that Roger Thornton raised in them, some darker than others. But if the story and cast might seem just the ordinary Victorian detective story, the ending will shake readers to the core. Imagine the most gruesome harrowing scenes and you cannot be too far off the final chapter (which might not be suitable to all readers). Welcome to lugubrious Victorian Yorkshire in Olivier Bosman style!