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Follow the Author
A Testament of Character (The Rowland Sinclair Mysteries Book 10) Kindle Edition
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About the Author
- ASIN : B07Y42HH17
- Publisher : Pantera Press (3 March 2020)
- Language : English
- File size : 2643 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 324 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: 42,761 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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The period setting, the characters, the plotlines, the history, the amazingly detailed research, and the very slightly smudged messiness of the lives described in the stories have been a delight.
The clock now ticks waiting for the eleventh RD book.
“‘What are you working on?’
He smiled. ‘This is Joe Lombardo. He lends himself to oils, I think.’
‘Would he sit for you?’
‘Maybe. But you wouldn’t want to disappoint him.’”
If you did, you could probably kiss your tomorrows goodbye! This is the mid 1930s, ‘between the wars’.
Rowland Sinclair, acclaimed Australian portrait painter, is sketching one of the men he saw in Boston’s Cocoanut Grove club. Edna Higgins, his usual model (and ‘secret’ love of his life), is peering over his shoulder as he draws. He is one of those people I admire who can capture a likeness with a few lines. Magic! It proves handy when he wants to describe someone to the police.
Rowland, Edna, and the other two of this Aussie foursome, Clyde Watson-Jones and Milton Isaacs, are in Boston because Rowland has been named the executor of an old friend’s will. Only he is allowed to carry out the instructions. Matters are complicated by the fact that the relatives have been cut off and the beneficiary seems to have been dead and buried for the last couple of years.
Danny was a close friend of Rowland’s at Oxford. He came from a wealthy Boston family and also became a successful, if eccentric, painter. Along with being summoned to Boston to read the will, Rowland is informed that Danny was murdered. So rather than head home to Australia from Shanghai, where they have just finished their business, they repack to head to the US to set things right for Danny.
This is the 1930s, when the world was witnessing the rise of Fascism in Europe, a movement that was gaining some traction in the US as well. Rowland and the others barely escaped some dangerous times in Europe before going to Shanghai, and they are highly sensitive to the worrying gossip of some Americans and the fanning of the flames of discontent by various radio announcers. [Some things never change?]
“’It’s like everybody’s lost their minds,’ Edna said, using Rowland as a shield against the cutting wind.
Milton shook his head. ‘Fascism offers easy answers. It tells people that they are not to blame and that the situation can be fixed if only the Jews or the Negroes or the Chinese or the Communists would stop being who they are.
. . .
It takes energy to resist easy answers, and people are tired. Struggling makes people tired. Perhaps we see things the way we do because, thanks to Rowly, we don’t have to struggle.’”
No, they don’t struggle for money because Rowly is rich, the kind of rich that doesn’t need to ask the price because they can afford it. They all live together in the family mansion in Sydney – when they are home – and they travel together, stumbling across people in distress and evil-doers and very famous people!
As with all the previous stories in the series, the politics and history of the times forms the backdrop. Each chapter is introduced with a cutting from a newspaper of the period. Gentill mixes her characters with real people on real occasions so believably that you wonder if she’s pinched someone’s diaries. She puts you in the time and place with Orson Welles, Errol Flynn, Joe Kennedy, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, among others.
At a party thrown by Marion Davies, Joe, father of JFK, is a movie studio owner at the time (among other things). He is absolutely smitten with the gorgeous Edna, who has no time for a man who seems to approve of Hitler. He seems a nasty piece of work. Young John is, well, young. A girl at the party tells Milton that all the boys are boring.
“’What about him?’ Milton asked, pointing to a boy who stood awkwardly by the window with his gaze fixed rather ambitiously on Edna. ‘Thick hair, good teeth, a little skinny, but he’ll probably fill out.’
‘John Kennedy? No way! . . . thinks his father’s going to be president! . . . .His old man is Joe Kennedy.’ She rolled her eyes. ‘All the Kennedy boys think they’re the cat’s pyjamas!’”
Well, we know how the Kennedys fared later. Meanwhile, back to the Aussies. They talk to the police, set out to find Danny’s murderer themselves, dodge Danny's furious brothers and his tearful sister who seems to have set her sights on Rowly, much to his consternation and everyone else’s amusement.
There are gangsters of various ethnicities after them, and Rowly comes off second best in a few brutal dustups. But whenever they are threatened, it’s never himself he’s worried about, it’s Edna.
“Rowland looked blankly at him, terrified now and becoming more so with every moment. Smythe’s words: ‘… so many more ways you can hurt a woman…’”
This is quite an adventure as they work their way up and down the east coast of America, not knowing exactly who their friends or enemies are and not knowing who the man is they’re looking for. Their own bonds are as strong as ever, especially between Rowly and Edna, but I will say no more!
This is being published in the US as "Where There's A Will in January 2022. I recommend starting with the first in the series, because they are much more fun that way.
I also listened to a bit of the audio, and I think Rupert Degas does a great job with the various voices and accents.
Top reviews from other countries
Luckily Rowley always has Edna, Milton and Clyde at his back and together they manage to escape all the perilous events. There is also a chapter we have all been waiting for. No spoilers though. You will just have to read it yourself!
We end up back in Australia but I do not suppose the perils of Rowland are over yet. At least I hope not. I hope Sulari Gentill has lots more still to tell.
And 5 stars for that cover! It's a beauty.