Laetitia Rodd, a detective in her early 50s, returns with this murder mystery that is all about love, loss, and redemption. Mrs. Rodd’s next job is to find a ‘lunatic’ wandering scholar and give him a letter by his affluent brother who is on his deathbed. As Laetitia looks for ways to fulfill her duties while simultaneously enjoying the company of an old friend, she eavesdrops on some information that rouses her suspicions. But a suspicious murder sets her back on this path where she must go back and find the source and reasons for this death.
Set in the 1850s, the story relies mainly on country gossip and witness statements to find the murderer. Mrs. Rodd is joined by her friend Inspector Blackbeard, an officer of Scotland Yard who has been called to preside officially on the investigation. As Mrs. Rodd moves from one place to another, the connections start to surface.
Rodd is unlike any other detectives I have come across. Her method of working relies a lot on instincts. She has a fulfilling relationship with her family and is a widow, and spends a lot of time thinking about how her late husband would react or advise. She is diligent and meticulous and works efficiently. As I reader I found it extremely easy to follow her train of thoughts and go with her wherever the investigation went.
‘The Case of the Wandering Scholar’ just like any other historic murder mystery, has clues lying in plain sight. A Lot of the characters are inspired by characters from other books or people in real life, souls who aren’t meant to be forgotten. Saunders presents us with a convincing case and provides us with the necessary closure. If you are a fan of Agatha Christie’s books or like to read a murder mystery that doesn’t have modernization interfering with it, this is a great book to read. Enjoy the countryside and unwind with a great mystery that is well written and engaging.
Blurb (as on Goodreads):
It is 1851 and Mrs Rodd has received an unusual commission: wealthy businessman Jacob Welland is dying of consumption and implores our redoubtable detective to find his beloved brother, whom he has not seen for fifteen years.
Joshua Welland was an Oxford scholar; brilliant, eccentric and desperately poor. Nobody can say exactly when he disappeared from his college, but he took to wandering the countryside and one day simply failed to return. Since then, there have been several sightings of his lonely, ragged figure. Ten years ago a friend spotted him in a gypsy camp, where he was rumoured to be learning great secrets that would one day astound the world.
Mrs Rodd uses her search as an opportunity to reconnect with a couple from her past, but then a violent murder is committed and Scotland Yard are called to investigate. Mrs Rodd’s old friend Inspector Blackbeard doesn’t want to hear any nonsense about gypsies or secrets, but Mrs Rodd is convinced that something very sinister is lurking in this peaceful landscape.
*Thank you Bloomsbury India for a copy of the book. All opinions are my own*