"Great Edwardian murder investigation"
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
JEKYLL 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
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.
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted May 12, 2002
In 1905, John Le Brun makes his first excursion to England
to visit import broker Geoffrey Moore. Le Brun and Moore
became friends six years earlier while Le Brun was Sheriff
of Brunswick, Georgia and enmeshed in a perplexing murder
case at the very exclusive Jekyl Island Club. Now retired,
the self-taught Le Brun is fulfilling a long-standing dream
of measuring himself against the greatest minds in the
greatest city of the greatest empire of that era.
Upon his arrival, Moore introduces Le Brun to the social
world of the 'men's club' - hundreds of which exist in and
about London, where men of similar backgrounds and often
great power meet. Chief among Le Brun's new acquaintances
is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author and inventor of the great
fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes. While visiting the
Sceptred Isle Club, where the ex-sheriff is scheduled to
give a lecture, Le Brun and Doyle hear a series of muffled
gunshots. A tandem investigation reveals that several
prominent men have been murdered inside the gambling room,
where the inner door was locked and the heavily-bolted
outer door was inexplicably unlocked. There are no
survivors, no suspects, and no signs of either the weapon
used in the crime or the thousands of pounds being gambled.
Le Brun is retained by the club to solve the murders and
preserve its reputation. Moving as a stranger in this
Edwardian world of elegance and privilege, John Le Brun
must unravel a Byzantine crime whose purpose has wide-
reaching implications for the entire British Empire.