Genre: Historical Mystery
Setting: Central Russia, 1899
First Sentence: Count Rachinsky's country estate was justly famed for its hunting and shooting, and the royal party had had a glorious and bloody day in the cause of which several score of feathered creatures had met the violent fate they had been bred solely to fulfill.
This is the third novel in Sally Spencer's Inspector Blackstone mystery series which currently runs to twelve books.
Sally Spencer is the pen name of Alan Rustage.
Far out on the Russian steppe, at a Russian aristocrat's estate there has been a theft. A Faberge egg has been stolen. It was a gift from the Tzar of Russia to the Prince of Wales.
The theft has been kept a secret. If the Tzar learns about the egg, it could cause an international incident.
The British Government decides to send two men to investigate the crime. Sir Roderick, a member of the elite upper class will lead the investigation. He will be assisted by Inspector Sam Blackstone.
It is a mystery as to why Blackstone has been chosen for this undertaking. Even he agrees that there are other inspectors what more qualified. And, then there is Blackstone's opinion of the "Quality" - the members of upper class.
After as eventful trip into Russia, Blackstone and Sir Roderick find that the theft of the egg is not a secret.
So who stole the egg and why?
The aristocrats believe that person of quality, such as themselves, would never stoop to committing such a base crime. Obviously, the criminal must be a servant or a peasant.
The class distinctions serve to stymie Blackstone at every turn. Soon he realizes that something deeply secret is going on.
What could it be, and who is involved?
I enjoyed this novel. Our main character, Blackstone, is an honest copper who tries to do his best for his country. He is not perfect, but he is a realist.
Once again, the author delivers an interesting plot in an easy to read style. For me it was a page turner. I read it in two days (Fast for me).
Although each book in the series is a stand alone novel, I suggest reading them in order. This novel refers back to action which occurred in the first novel of the series.
For me, a fun read.