Archive for the ‘Bantam Books’ Tag

Murder, cabinetry and amateur sleuthing   Leave a comment

The Grenadillo Box by Janet Gleeson is a fast-paced mystery blending intrigue with humor while providing a glimpse into 18th century British social standings and related expectations.

Nathanial Hopson is apprenticed to renowned master cabinet maker Thomas Chippendale. Although by all accounts, much of the artistry is at the hands of his many apprentices, including Hopson’s dear friend John Partridge, who’s suddenly gone missing.

Chippendale sends Hopson to complete work on an elaborate library in a country estate. Soon after his arrival, the lord of the manor is found dead. The cause of death is ruled suicide, however, Hopson suspects foul play. When another body is found on the property, Hopson believes the two deaths are related. An investigation ensues led by amateur sleuth Hopson. He’s a thoughtful young man but not averse to enjoying good times when they surface.

Among the clues is a small, intricately-carved box, which in itself is a puzzle with no obvious way to determine its contents. Meanwhile, the Lord’s gambling debts, his son ready to lay claim to the estate and its anticipated riches, along with a much younger wife provide plenty of motives.

Adding further intrigue are missing sets of Chippendale’s original drawings, which the celebrated craftsman charges his apprentice to locate.

In the midst of Hopson’s search for answers, Gleeson vividly describes the noises, sights and odors of the seediest parts of London. These images are contrasted with the wealth and comfort of the upper classes.

The Grenadillo Box

Four+ Bookmarks

Bantam Books, 2002

416 pages