A Bloody Hot Summer
By Trevor D’Silva
It’s 1927 and Great Britain is sweltering in an unprecedented heatwave. On the morning after her eightieth birthday party, Lady Fitzhugh is discovered bound and butchered in her bed, with her family and staff the prime suspects... Whilst holidaying at nearby Meadowford Village, Detective Dermot Carlyle is asked to help investigate the brutal murder. The clues all point to a robbery gone wrong, but Dermot suspects that there is more to the horrific crime. The Fitzhughs’ secrets take Dermot along a path linking some of the biggest events of the British Colonial Empire – from India to Africa, to the dark days of the Great War itself. As more murders take place, Dermot is racing against time to discover the killer’s identity. What are the family hiding, why did Lady Fitzhugh have to die, and what horror was committed in the colonies that led to this trail of death and deceit?
“Her screams reverberated throughout the mansion as the tray fell, scattering its contents on the bedroom floor…”
The Fitzhugh family had congregated at Fitzhugh Manor in the village of Meadowford, to celebrate Lady Doris Fitzhugh’s eightieth birthday. But the tranquillity of this small family union was shattered when Alice entered her mistresses’ bedroom the following morning, for Alice had unwittingly stumbled upon a gruesome discovery. Lady Doris’s throat had been slit, and her emerald jewelled necklace had been stolen.
Detective Dermot Carlyle was on leave when he was called in to help with the case. Young, though he may be, Dermot has a quick wit and a sharp intelligence, and this was the kind of case he had been waiting for to prove his worth. However, it soon becomes clear that this was not a simple robbery that had gone wrong — this was premeditated murder.
From a family celebration to the discovery of a shameful family secret that had remained hidden for three generations, A Bloody Hot Summer by Trevor D’Silva is an utterly enthralling murder mystery that will leave the reader guessing right up until the very last minute.
With an exceptional eye on the historical detail and a keen understanding of what makes an entertaining read, D’Silva has penned a truly wonderful book. The narrative is rich, vibrant, and utterly irresistible. D’Silva has captured the very essence of what Britain was like in the 1920s. His attention to the language, along with all its glorious slang, and the richness of the local dialects have all been wonderfully explored and skilfully executed.
A Bloody Hot Summer isn’t just set in the 1920s. It also touches upon the Indian Rebellion of 1857 as well as the “Scorched Earth” policy applied by the British and the subsequent imprisonment of tens of thousands of men, women and children. These terrible camps were poorly administered, and conditions were horrendous. Many died. I thought D’Silva depicted this shameful and sinister era of British history with great skill and diligence. Kudos, Mr D’Silva.
A Bloody Hot Summer is both exciting and dark in almost equal measures. It is also incredibly fast-paced and immensely readable. As with all good murder mysteries, I put on my amateur detective hat and tried to piece the clues together to come up with a culprit as well as a motive. However, D’Silva is the king of plot twists, and I found myself dismissing my own theories more than once as to who the killer was. A Bloody Hot Summer is undoubtedly a book that captured my imagination. The Fitzhugh family is suffocating in secrets and lies, which made for a cracking read. Just one more page became one more chapter. This is the kind of book that a reader will forgo sleep to finish!
Detective Dermot Carlyle was the ideal protagonist. He is an intelligent man who does not take things at face value. He is always looking for a motive, and he finds himself entangled in this web of egotistic individuals who all have a motive for murder. The more Dermot uncovers, the more there is to learn. I thought Dermot’s depiction was fabulous, and he was by far my favourite character in this book — and the most honest. Dermot reminded me at times of Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes — he is always thinking, he always sees the bigger picture. Dermot is certainly the eponymous hero of this novel.
I also thought the portrayal of young Hector was fabulous. This young thirteen-year-old boy is the heir to the Fitzhugh estate, and he is the only member of the Fitzhugh family whom I did not suspect of foul play. He has an air of innocence about him, and the thought that someone was trying to kill him, made me even more compelled to read on. I thought Hector’s depiction was brilliant.
Another character who piqued my interest was the dismissed servant, Irene Shaw. Irene’s character has been maligned by the Fitzhugh’s, without having had the chance to defend herself of what she had been accused of. Through Irene, D’Silva has demonstrated just how superior the Fitzhugh family thinks they are when compared with everyone else, which says more about them than Irene.
I enjoyed every minute of A Bloody Hot Summer by Trevor D’Silva. It is a book worthy of any bookshelf.
I Highly Recommend.
Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.
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A Bloody Hot Summer
Trevor D’Silva has a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering; M.S. degrees in Engineering Management, and Environmental Engineering; and an Associate degree in Accounting. He has lectured in mechanical engineering and environmental science subjects at various colleges. Fateful Decisions is his first novel, encompassing history and fiction from WW I to the end of WW II. He uses his free time to expand his knowledge in history and reading crime, thrillers, and mystery novels.