When Great War veteran Laurence Bartram arrives in Easton Deadall, he is struck by the beauty of the crumbling manor, venerable church, and memorial to the village’s soldiers. But despite this idyllic setting, Easton Deadall remains haunted by tragedy. In 1911, five-year-old Kitty Easton disappeared from her bed and has not been seen since.
While Lawrence is visiting, a young maid vanishes in a sinister echo of Kitty’s disappearance. And when a body is discovered in the manor’s ancient church, Laurence is drawn into the grounds’ forgotten places, where deadly secrets lie in wait.*********
Rarely do I read a book that compels me to immediately go out and find the next in series. THE RETURN OF CAPTAIN JOHN EMMETT, the first in the Laurance Bartram series, was one such book. I enjoyed the pace of the book, the character studies, and the bit of mystery that was there. I could only hope that the second in the series would be as superb. And it was.
This one is set a few years after the first book. Laurence has published his architectural book of churches in England and has become a teacher at a local school. He is invited by a friend to come have a look at a church that was discovered to have additional intriguing aspects while being restored. It's part of a larger project Laurence's friend has taken on for a wealthy family in the country.
Laurence arrives to find that the church and the restoration project are indeed intriguing, but not as much as the wealthy family. There is a pall of sadness over the family members, sadness brought on by the unexplained disappearance of a young daughter of one of the two sisters living in the house. The daughter has been missing for some time, since she was five, gone in the middle of the night and never seen again. No one knows if she's alive or dead.
Her mother behaves as if the child will be coming down the stairs any moment. The rest of the family gently enables her belief.
Laurence begins to find information that various members of the family would wish remain hidden. So there is more to the mystery than the disappearance of a young child.
I really cannot wait to read more of this series. I hope the next books comes out soon.