Cover image for Laetitia Rodd and the case of the wandering scholar
Title:
Laetitia Rodd and the case of the wandering scholar
ISBN:
9781632868398
Physical Description:
362 pages ; 21 cm.
Summary:
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.
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Summary

Summary

M. C. Beaton meets Miss Marple in the second book in the Laetitia Rodd Mysteries, which sees Kate Saunders's Victorian detective on the hunt for a missing Oxford academic.

In 1851, private detective Laetitia Rodd is enjoying a well-earned holiday when she gets an urgent request for her services. Mrs. Rodd's neighbor Jacob Welland is a reclusive, rich gentleman dying of consumption, and he wants Mrs. Rodd to find his brother, who has been missing for fifteen years.

Joshua Welland was a scholar at Oxford, brilliant, eccentric, and desperately poor when he disappeared from the university. Friends claim to have seen him since, in gypsy camps and wandering around the countryside. But the last sighting was ten years before-when Joshua claimed to be learning great secrets from the gypsies that would one day astound the whole world.

Mrs. Rodd travels to Oxford and begins to search for the wandering scholar. But as she investigates, Mrs. Rodd discovers something dark-and extremely dangerous-lurking in the beautiful English countryside.

For readers of James Runcie, Alexander McCall Smith, and M. C. Beaton, Laetitia Rodd and the Mystery of the Wandering Scholar is a delightful new mystery about Victorian England and an indomitable female detective.


Author Notes

Kate Saunders is an author and journalist who has worked for the London Times ,the Sunday Times ,and Cosmopolitan . She has written numerous books for adults and children, including Five Children on the Western Front , which won the Costa Children's Book Award. The Secrets of Wishtide was the 2016 debut of the Laetitia Rodd Mystery series. Saunders lives in London.


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Set in 1851, Saunders's excellent sequel to 2016's The Secrets of Wishtide opens with 53-year-old Laetitia Rodd, a clergyman's widow who does inquiries to supplement her meager income, hearing a plea from Jacob Welland, a fellow Hampstead resident who's dying of consumption. Jacob wants her to find his younger brother, Joshua, from whom he became estranged after Jacob wooed and married Joshua's love some 15 years before, so he can make amends. Joshua has been living "like a wild creature, in hedges and ditches" around Oxford in the years since a breakdown ended his studies at Oxford University. To facilitate her search, Mrs. Rodd stays with clergyman Arthur Somers and his wife, Rachel, outside Oxford. Though Somers's obsessive High Church practices disturb her, she gleans useful information from parish curate Henry Barton, a friendly Oxford don. When Arthur is poisoned, Henry and Rachel, who Mrs. Rodd has guessed love each other, are arrested for the crime, and she strives to prove their innocence. Saunders's exquisite prose and patient storytelling build a convincing Victorian voice, while Mrs. Rodd's shrewd, energetic narration adds further appeal to the rich depiction of 19th-century landscapes and attitudes. Mainstream readers who appreciate Victorian fiction will be rewarded. Agent: Caradoc King, A.P. Watt. (Dec.)


Kirkus Review

In carrying out the wishes of a dying man, a lady investigator gets herself entangled in a mystery that touches her own life.Summoned to the bedside of wealthy Mr. Jacob Welland in 1851, discreet private detective Mrs. Laetitia Rodd doubts that she can comfort the dying man. Jacob is adamant that Mrs. Rodd find his brother Joshua's whereabouts so that Jacob can make amends before succumbing to consumption. Jacob can offer few details about Joshua's life since the two fell out over the obligatory woman and Joshua became a young eccentric at Oxford. Knowing there's no time to spare, Mrs. Rodd sets out to search for Joshua, arranging to stay with longtime friends Arthur and Rachel Somers while she makes inquiries. Though Arthur and Rachel lead a quiet life, it seems a happy one, and Mrs. Rodd feels responsible for her part in getting the two together many years before, when Arthur was just a young curate. Now Arthur is mentoring his own young curate, the charismatic Mr. Henry Barton, who seems to have earned the affection and admiration of both Arthur and Rachel; Mrs. Rodd is more reserved in her judgment of him. In her quest to find Joshua Welland, Mrs. Rodd immerses herself in the Somers household and the Oxford community in hopes of finding someone willing to connect her to Joshua, however informally. What follows is something even the astute Mrs. Rodd could not have predicted: Secrets! Scandal! Murder! Indeed, the Welland matter may be the least complicated part of it all.Charmingly written, combining nods to manners of the time with a bit of modern sass. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

One part Victorian social history and one part mystery, the second in a new series starring a Victorian woman detective (after The Secrets of Wishtide, 2016) is a totally beguiling read. Its heroine, Laetitia Rodd, is a genteel but poor widow of an archdeacon, and the sister of a London criminal barrister. When her brother asks her to investigate some puzzles he's come across, Laetitia's near-poverty propels her to earn some extra money, and the combined status of dead archdeacon husband and barrister brother allow her to float easily from hovels to rectories to country houses. The case Laetitia's brother gives her this time has a tight deadline: a wealthy man who is about to die of consumption wants to find his estranged brother and reconcile with him. The brother was a brilliant Oxford scholar, but poverty and madness drove him into the countryside. The author is marvelous at working in what life was like in 1851 England through telling details. For example, the wealthy used to summer in the country to escape cholera outbreaks; consumption tore through families; prayers were embroidered into baby caps, a sign of high infant mortality. The mystery escalates into blackmail and then murder. Throughout it all, Laetitia, practical and canny, makes a marvelous companion.--Connie Fletcher Copyright 2010 Booklist