St. Martin's, Jun 2002, 24.95, 330 pp.
Six years ago back in '99, Brunswick, Georgia Sheriff John Le Brun and importer Geoffrey Moore met when the law enforcement official solved the triple murder case of THE JEKYL ISLAND CLUB. The now retired John visits his friend in England. Geoffrey escorts John to the elite SCEPTRED ISLE CLUB where the broker brags to all the members present about his guest's exploits including saving the life of then President McKinley and even more prestigious that of J.P. Morgan.
However, John's vacation turns nasty when someone using a gun murders four card players inside a locked room with no weapon, which seems to indicate murder-suicide. Based on Geoffrey's boasting of John's sleuthing skills, the club Manager William Roundsville hires Le Brun to assist Scotland Yard's Chief Inspector Tibbles during the investigation not so much to solve the homicides, but to keep any scandal from going public. Though the inspector does not want another cop working the case, club member Sir Arthur Conan Doyle appreciates the chance to play Watson alongside Le Brun's Holmes.
Using the locked-door mystery as the background for this Edwardian murder investigation, Brent Monahan provides readers with a strong who-done-it in which the story line pays homage to Holmes though John is clearly his own man. The investigation is fun to watch, as the lead triangle is reminiscent of Mr. Doyle's Holmes' novels. Clearly the Baker Street crowd will cherish THE SCEPTRED ISLE CLUB, but so will early twentieth century historical mystery fans.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner