Cover image for Death at St James's Palace
Death at St James's Palace
Lake, Deryn.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London : Allison & Busby, [2002]

Physical Description:
286 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
X Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

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Death at St James's Palace is the eighth novel the highly acclaimed Georgian mystery series featuring sleuthing apothecary, John Rawlings. In 1761, famous magistrate John Fielding is to be honoured with a knighthood. Founder of the Runners, London's metropolitan police force, John Fielding is one of several important members of the community who gather at St James's Palace for the investiture. As the invited audience eagerly crane for a first glimpse of the new queen, a terrible accident occurs when one of the crowd tumbles down the great staircase to his death. But not one person saw him begin to fall; even those standing closest to him had their eyes fixed on the royal entrance. Only one person witnessed anything untoward - John Fielding, a blindman. A whispered sentence, an exhalation of breath - these are the only clues available to suggest the fall was no accident. Apothecary John Rawlings, accompanying his friend Fielding to the ceremony, sets out to investigate and is soon drawn into a very intriguing mystery, in which suspicious characters abound.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

This is the eighth entry (following Death in the West Wind, 2001) in an underappreciated series featuring the sleuthing apothecary John Rawlings. Set in 1761, the novel pivots on the knighting of magistrate John Fielding (brother to Henry) at St. James Palace. When Queen Charlotte is spotted at the investiture, the crowd in attendance is abuzz with excitement. While they crane to catch a glimpse of the new queen (to determine if she is really as ugly as rumor has it), a corpulent figure clothed in salmon pink plummets to his death. And it appears that someone has pushed him. Rawlings is recruited to track down the murderer, and his investigation brings him into contact with some of the celebrities of his day--the seductive mistress of the duke of Kingston, a suave black bon vivant elevated from servant to adopted son by a white duchess, and a dwarfish, immensely talented portrait painter. Told with an infectious enthusiasm and a sly wit, Lake vivifies the period through her portrayal of the courtly, ever-witty John Rawlings. --Joanne Wilkinson

Publisher's Weekly Review

In Deryn Lake's Death at St. James's Palace: A John Rawlings Mystery, the real-life blind magistrate John Fielding (and hero of a historical mystery series by Bruce Alexander) is at St. James's Palace, waiting to be invested as a knight, when a member of the crowd falls down the great stairs to his death. Apothecary John Rawlings must help his friend, Sir John, the only reliable witness, get to the bottom of the matter in this winning Georgian historical. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

John Rawlings (Death in the West Wind), a prosperous London apothecary, investigates a death deemed suspicious only by his blind friend, popular magistrate John Fielding. Shortly before Fielding is to be knighted by young King George III, an untoward, apparently accidental death occurs in the crowded palace. Fielding nonetheless hears enough for Rawlings to begin sleuthing. Rawlings already has his hands full, what with a pregnant wife, a rescued wayward girl, and a soon-to-be-released apprentice ready to sow some wild oats. In her 13th Rawlings mystery, the author offers a masterly Georgian historical with a keen sense of time and place, fully fledged characters, and comfortable prose. Strongly recommended for most collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.