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In February 1902, a feast is held at the Inns of Court, during which senior barrister Alexander Dauntsey collapses and dies. When a second barrister is shot dead shortly after, Lord Francis Powerscourt is summoned to conduct a discreet investigation. His inquiries take him to the heart of legal London, where the wills of the dead can reveal the crimes of the living, and he In February 1902, a feast is held at the Inns of Court, during which senior barrister Alexander Dauntsey collapses and dies. When a second barrister is shot dead shortly after, Lord Francis Powerscourt is summoned to conduct a discreet investigation. His inquiries take him to the heart of legal London, where the wills of the dead can reveal the crimes of the living, and he discovers a troubled marriage, seemingly broken by the lack of children. The trail leads on, first to a grand country house, mysteriously boarded up, its past sealed within, then to a growing list of suspects including a jealous wife, a mistress fearful of being jilted, and a cuckolded husband who writes books about poisons. Powerscourt eventually finds that he too is now standing in the path of danger.


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In February 1902, a feast is held at the Inns of Court, during which senior barrister Alexander Dauntsey collapses and dies. When a second barrister is shot dead shortly after, Lord Francis Powerscourt is summoned to conduct a discreet investigation. His inquiries take him to the heart of legal London, where the wills of the dead can reveal the crimes of the living, and he In February 1902, a feast is held at the Inns of Court, during which senior barrister Alexander Dauntsey collapses and dies. When a second barrister is shot dead shortly after, Lord Francis Powerscourt is summoned to conduct a discreet investigation. His inquiries take him to the heart of legal London, where the wills of the dead can reveal the crimes of the living, and he discovers a troubled marriage, seemingly broken by the lack of children. The trail leads on, first to a grand country house, mysteriously boarded up, its past sealed within, then to a growing list of suspects including a jealous wife, a mistress fearful of being jilted, and a cuckolded husband who writes books about poisons. Powerscourt eventually finds that he too is now standing in the path of danger.

30 review for Death Called to the Bar

  1. 5 out of 5

    ᴥ Irena ᴥ

    First, let me say that I loved the first four books. Each has its own special theme. The first book deals with the secrets of the Royal Family, the theme of the second book is a conspiracy and the secrets of the City of London, the third is about frauds in the art world and the fourth has Powerscourt investigating the secrets of a Church of England cathedral. All that being said, to me Death Called to the Bar seemed as if someone else wrote it. There is an attempt of a new theme. This time Lord P First, let me say that I loved the first four books. Each has its own special theme. The first book deals with the secrets of the Royal Family, the theme of the second book is a conspiracy and the secrets of the City of London, the third is about frauds in the art world and the fourth has Powerscourt investigating the secrets of a Church of England cathedral. All that being said, to me Death Called to the Bar seemed as if someone else wrote it. There is an attempt of a new theme. This time Lord Powerscourt has to deal with lawyers but unlike the previous four, it wasn't as good (to put it mildly). To be honest, I didn't expect this and it was like a slap in the face. My other issue with this book was its romantic part. There is no need to have a lot of romance in a historical mystery, but each of the previous four books had some romantic moments between Powerscourt and his wife. It was unnecessary but lovely. It gave another layer to the main character. However, Death Called to the Bar has a weird attempt of introducing a femme fatale. There was absolutely no need for the protagonist to think more than once how beautiful another character is. Again, this being a historical mystery featuring a private investigator had just about enough romance in Powerscourts' marriage for its genre. And as if the author knew all this, there is the last chapter which had enough drama to last the whole series. Some of it was already used in previous books and it fit better there too. These are just some of the things that bothered me, not all. I love the protagonist and I hope this is the only book like this in the series. I am not going to stop reading. One book I wasn't thrilled about out of five is better than some other series. Hopefully, it will stay the only one.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Spuddie

    Another enjoyable entry in this historical series featuring private investigator Lord Francis Powerscourt. I've been blazing through the first few books in the series fairly quickly and am pleased there are several more to go, and it still seems to be an active series as well. Not my usual favored time period (this one takes place in 1902) but enjoyable nonetheless. Lord Francis is hired by the head honchos at Queen's Inn, the smallest and newest Inn of Court, when they are dissatisfied with the Another enjoyable entry in this historical series featuring private investigator Lord Francis Powerscourt. I've been blazing through the first few books in the series fairly quickly and am pleased there are several more to go, and it still seems to be an active series as well. Not my usual favored time period (this one takes place in 1902) but enjoyable nonetheless. Lord Francis is hired by the head honchos at Queen's Inn, the smallest and newest Inn of Court, when they are dissatisfied with the police investigation into the poisoning death of one of their barristers at a feast. Presumably they think that because Francis is a peer of the realm and a gentleman, he won't ask those embarrassing questions the police did and will be discreet. Obviously, they don't know Francis very well!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    Disappointingly, I didn't find this to be as good as the first four books in this series. In this book, Powerscourt is engaged to find the murderer of a barrister from Queens Inn, the man having died at the Queens Inn Feast. Two days later, another barrister is found close to the court , having been shot twice. The head of the Inn, is anxious to get these murders solved and forgotten, but Powerscourt seems to be finding a lot of possibilities as to who the murderer is. Enlisting the help of his Disappointingly, I didn't find this to be as good as the first four books in this series. In this book, Powerscourt is engaged to find the murderer of a barrister from Queens Inn, the man having died at the Queens Inn Feast. Two days later, another barrister is found close to the court , having been shot twice. The head of the Inn, is anxious to get these murders solved and forgotten, but Powerscourt seems to be finding a lot of possibilities as to who the murderer is. Enlisting the help of his friends and connections, he eventually comes up with five different people who all had cause and ability to have committed them. I enjoyed the main story and many of the characters brought into it, but found the side story of a romance, and a long drawn out description of someone on their death-bed, let the overall story down somewhat. So only 3 stars for this.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ann Drake

    Wonderful This series is graced by a charming assortment of beautifully drawn characters living loving, not to mention exciting and useful lives . I particularly enjoy references to classic works, drawing parallel from the classic to the present circumstances. For me, these are intelligent without pretension, and great reads on whatever level the reader chooses. They remind me of Sayers ' work, although less mannered. I recommend these to any reader who enjoys a fairly cerebral mystery peopled wi Wonderful This series is graced by a charming assortment of beautifully drawn characters living loving, not to mention exciting and useful lives . I particularly enjoy references to classic works, drawing parallel from the classic to the present circumstances. For me, these are intelligent without pretension, and great reads on whatever level the reader chooses. They remind me of Sayers ' work, although less mannered. I recommend these to any reader who enjoys a fairly cerebral mystery peopled with engaging characters.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Abbey

    2008, #5 Lord Francis Powerscourt, London; professional investigator, historical. Wealthy - and disliked - barrister gets himself poisoned and all sorts of skullduggery gets uncovered. Although it is several centuries old, Queen's Inn is the newest - and most fashionable - legal firm in London in 1902. Its members aren't quite as stodgy as those in many barrister firms, and its methods are somewhat more modern than most. But it does have its traditions, and the big celebration regularly held on 2008, #5 Lord Francis Powerscourt, London; professional investigator, historical. Wealthy - and disliked - barrister gets himself poisoned and all sorts of skullduggery gets uncovered. Although it is several centuries old, Queen's Inn is the newest - and most fashionable - legal firm in London in 1902. Its members aren't quite as stodgy as those in many barrister firms, and its methods are somewhat more modern than most. But it does have its traditions, and the big celebration regularly held on February 29th (or 28th, depending) is always a very important occasion. The new century looks to be quite profitable for most at Queen's Inn, and the barristers have a lot to celebrate at this shindig, especially the food, which has always been superb. Unfortunately the fairly well-disliked Senior Member Alexander Dauntsey doesn't find the soup much to his liking, and falls face-down into the bowl in a most impolite manner. When he is discovered to be dead, many strings get pulled, and private inquiry agent Lord Francis Powerscourt is asked to assist the police in looking into the matter, as the Head of Chambers rashly assumes that he'd have more control over Powerscourt than over Scotland Yard. All the regular series characters are present, and the continuing cast-of-characters is one of Dickinson's strong points, at least in my estimation. Lord Francis, his smart and tenacious wife Lady Lucy, their very interesting children, his best friend Lord Johnny Fitzgerald (a free-living, hard-drinking reprobate who has taken up bird watching, for some odd reason) and their various far-flung family members, are central to the story and offer some of the most charming - and funny - moments in this comfortable historical. But another of Dickinson's strengths is that he is a very good writer, well-versed in his craft, and always arranges things so that you do not have to have read the previous books in the series in order to enjoy the current story. He's is adept at presenting just enough back information to allow the reader to grasp the interconnections between the Powerscourt friends and family, and since each case is set in a different milieu than the previous one, the majority of the suspects are new to each book. While on the surface this would appear to be "just another cosy historical series", it truly is not, for Dickinson adds nicely dark edges to his stories, and these shadows are very well-mixed and inter-layered with the Edwardian home-and-hearth ethos. The pacing is excellent, although he does tend to take a while getting into the initial set-up. In this book particularly, the beginning may seem rather slow if you are not already ‛involved' with the Powerscourt family; happily after that sweet opening we are thrown into the many peculiar happenings at Queen's Inn, and meet the motley collection of characters - and crimes - that occupy those hallowed halls. Adultery, embezzlement, brutal murder and refined, all follow, along with some rather subtle looks at the lifestyles of the not-necessarily-rich-but-still-important folks in London in 1902. I highly recommend this series, as the writing is smooth, the settings superb, the characters wonderful. And the plots? Well, IMO they're always very good, well-woven and carefully put together, and I usually manage to solve the case by the three-quarter point and then comes the climax just as I've put the whole thing together - really fine pacing. It's a nice balance and difficult to do, that of giving the reader just enough information to pull them along without giving away too much, but Dickinson manages this beautifully. The writing is solidly enjoyable, at least for me; some find him a bit too prolix. His style just suits my taste, and I particularly appreciate his adding in some of the then-popular novelistic conventions - but very slyly, and beautifully done. This particular novel is a very good read, gently malicious, nicely edgy in spots, and with a couple of really strong plot threads to follow. There is deluxe drama and innuendo, intrigue and terror, gently intermingled with gentility and just a bit of satire - while Dickinson's writing can sometimes be a bit slow, it is always entertaining.

  6. 4 out of 5

    LJ

    DEATH CALLED TO THE BAR (Unlicensed Investigator-London-1902) – VG Dickinson, David – 5th in series Constable, 2006 – UK Hardcover Lord Francis Powerscourt is asked to resolve the mystery behind the death of two murdered barristers. Alexander Dauntsey dies in his soup during a dinner at the Queen’s Inn, an inn of the court of London. Woodford Stewart is shot and killed. Both men are members of Queen’s Inn, but Powerscourt soon identifies five potential suspects and motives for the killings. *** The DEATH CALLED TO THE BAR (Unlicensed Investigator-London-1902) – VG Dickinson, David – 5th in series Constable, 2006 – UK Hardcover Lord Francis Powerscourt is asked to resolve the mystery behind the death of two murdered barristers. Alexander Dauntsey dies in his soup during a dinner at the Queen’s Inn, an inn of the court of London. Woodford Stewart is shot and killed. Both men are members of Queen’s Inn, but Powerscourt soon identifies five potential suspects and motives for the killings. *** The author’s use of similes, metaphors and allegories enriched the text and often made me smile. The plot was intriguing and the suppositions made about the various suspects really incorporated me into the story. I found the characters diverse and interesting and the plot intriguing. I appreciated learning a bit about the English court system. Post-Victorian England is wonderfully depicted as the age of technology as begun. I’m certain historical purists would have pointed out the anachronisms, even I spotted a couple, but nothing that diminished my pleasure in reading. This may be the first book I’ve read by Dickinson, but it definitely won’t be my last.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    This one seemed more insubstantial than usual. This slight mystery never really comes to the boil and in fact is still barely simmering through the eventual denouement, despite a late gun battle in a London gallery. It was till quite a pleasant read but a bit dull. There were too few episodes of whimsy in this one. Usually I quite like Powerscourt when he gets distracted by his beloved history. There are still a lot of the Dickinson staples like the 'young innocent couple' and the obsessive, car This one seemed more insubstantial than usual. This slight mystery never really comes to the boil and in fact is still barely simmering through the eventual denouement, despite a late gun battle in a London gallery. It was till quite a pleasant read but a bit dull. There were too few episodes of whimsy in this one. Usually I quite like Powerscourt when he gets distracted by his beloved history. There are still a lot of the Dickinson staples like the 'young innocent couple' and the obsessive, caricatured cameos but this one just seemed to me to be going through the motions. Two misfires in a row usually mans an abandoned series for me but I suspect I'll come crawling back to number 8 Manchester Road sooner or later.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jill Hutchinson

    This was my first foray into the world of Lord Francis Powerscourt an Irish peer and part-time investigator. (I am guessing that Powerscourt is somehow a part of the magnificent Powerscourt estate extant in the Republic of Ireland.) In this book, he is called upon to find the "why" and subsequently the "who" of the murder of two barristers at the Inns of Court. I rather enjoyed the time setting (late 19th century) and the personalities of the continuing characters of this series and will look fo This was my first foray into the world of Lord Francis Powerscourt an Irish peer and part-time investigator. (I am guessing that Powerscourt is somehow a part of the magnificent Powerscourt estate extant in the Republic of Ireland.) In this book, he is called upon to find the "why" and subsequently the "who" of the murder of two barristers at the Inns of Court. I rather enjoyed the time setting (late 19th century) and the personalities of the continuing characters of this series and will look for more of Lord Powerscourt's adventures. A nice read for mystery lovers.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Lord Francis Powerscourt is asked to find out who killed a barrister who was poisoned at a festive dinner at one of the Inns of Court. He soon finds out that Alexander Dauntsy had a complex marriage, and was going to help prosecute the case of a turn-of-the-last century Madoff. Either thing might have led to his death, but there are more suspects and at least one more murder for Powerscourt to consider.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jocelyn Harvey

    Another in this wonderful series of Lord Francis Powerscourt's investigations. I particularly love the excellent cast of characters, some the same book after book, some occurring just once. They are lively, entertaining and always interesting. This book has a wonderfully moving finale. A side note - Powerscourt, like his creator obviously, is deeply interested in works of art, which are brilliantly described in the course of the plot. Another in this wonderful series of Lord Francis Powerscourt's investigations. I particularly love the excellent cast of characters, some the same book after book, some occurring just once. They are lively, entertaining and always interesting. This book has a wonderfully moving finale. A side note - Powerscourt, like his creator obviously, is deeply interested in works of art, which are brilliantly described in the course of the plot.

  11. 5 out of 5

    William

    I'm not a huge fan of this series although I like the characters. The author spends too much time on topics that are basically irrelevant to the plot and distract from it. In one past book he spent an entire chapter discussing cricket and in this book he spent a great deal of time discussing art and poetry The plot dragged through most of the book, only picking up in the last 50 pages or so. I'm not a huge fan of this series although I like the characters. The author spends too much time on topics that are basically irrelevant to the plot and distract from it. In one past book he spent an entire chapter discussing cricket and in this book he spent a great deal of time discussing art and poetry The plot dragged through most of the book, only picking up in the last 50 pages or so.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    This time Lord Powerscourt is involved with murder at the Queens Inn, one of the "younger" Inns of Court. While I enjoyed the book very much, it seemed more scattered that previous titles. Still the characters and setting will keep me coming back. This time Lord Powerscourt is involved with murder at the Queens Inn, one of the "younger" Inns of Court. While I enjoyed the book very much, it seemed more scattered that previous titles. Still the characters and setting will keep me coming back.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Ellis

    Somebody is killing lawyers..........so what, you ask? Ahhhh but this is different! These are men who were trying to clean up their Inn of Court. Another great adventure of Lord Francis Powerscourt and his family and friends in early 20th century London. I love these books!

  14. 4 out of 5

    ShanDizzy

    This was a great read! I love this series.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Chantelle (aka the Blogmonstar)

    I really liked this one. The poem at the end was so fitting too.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    Kinda average entry in the series.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mary G.

    This is one of my favorite series. Dickinson has created a series with in depth charchers, great historical detail and devilish plots.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Evocation of a different, tho' no less complex, time. Somehow soothing. Evocation of a different, tho' no less complex, time. Somehow soothing.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Charlene

    This is a wonderful series--not just a good mystery but an English history lesston

  20. 5 out of 5

    Angie

    Not much of a twist, but still wonderfully deducted. On to the next one!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Cece

    A stronger book overall than the previous. Much more cohesive in plotting. Wondering, though, to where Lucy's oldest child has disappeared. And again a slightly wrought ending. A stronger book overall than the previous. Much more cohesive in plotting. Wondering, though, to where Lucy's oldest child has disappeared. And again a slightly wrought ending.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Shirley Evans

    First book I have read by David Dickinson. I really enjoyed it. Loved his detective Lord Francis Powerscourt and all the supporting characters particularly the twins. It was quite refreshing.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    good book, ending got a little sappy.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Lord Francis and Lady Lucy are a little pompous for my taste,but I find the mysteries quite readable and enjoy books from this period of history.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Bev

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mark Hundley

  27. 5 out of 5

    Piyumi

  28. 4 out of 5

    L Davies

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rog Harrison

    First read 11 June 2007.

  30. 5 out of 5

    E.M. Bohlken

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