Fiction Book Reviews

Historical Mystery | A Portrait of Death | Rhen Garland

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We’re delighted to be on tour with Rachel’s Random Resources sharing Laura’s thoughts on A Portrait of Death by Rhen Garland.

A Portrait of Death is the first novel in a new series.

In the quiet English village of Marmis Parva, a weekend house party is organised by a society hostess and all the top names are invited.

But this is no ordinary party.

Two men are savagely murdered during the course of the first evening and a young man, presumed dead, returns home after two years imprisonment in South Africa bringing with him proof of treason.

Detective Chief Inspector Elliott Caine’s long-awaited holiday in the Lake District is cancelled as he is brought in to investigate the peculiar nature of the murders. More bodies are discovered and Elliott has to manoeuvre between high society, Government protocols, and the heinous nature of the crimes if he and his old friend Detective Sergeant Abernathy Thorne, are to catch the sadistic killer, and the traitor lurking amongst them.

When Caine’s past comes back to haunt him, will his judgement be too clouded to focus on solving the crime?

Will the Boer spy’s identity be uncovered before they can flee?

How are these murders connected to another in New York?

Book cover for A Portrait of Death by Rhen Garland

A Portrait of Death by Rhen Garland is available to purchase in digital and paperback formats.


I was gripped from the prologue!  

I thoroughly enjoyed this Victorian murder mystery which includes several gruesome murders, great historical content and a great plot.

In a small English village in the big house, a weekend party commences but during the festivities two murders take place.  

Detective Chief Inspector Elliott was supposed to be going on a much needed holiday however he was called to service to investigate with his friend Detective Sergeant Thorne. They interview everybody at the house including all the staff to discover a traitorous murderer. I enjoyed the Poirot like ending with Elliott proudly explaining his findings.  

I loved the pace, most of the characters and the wonderful descriptive language throughout this book.  

Highly recommended.

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Rhen Garland lives in Somerset, England with her folk-singing, book-illustrating husband, approximately 4000 books, an equal number of ancient movies, and a large flock of stuffed sheep.

She enjoys the countryside, peace, and Prosecco and the works of Ngaio Marsh, Glady Mitchell, John Dickson Carr/Carter Dickson, Agatha Christie, and Terry Pratchett.

“I watch far too many old school murder mystery films, TV series, and 1980s action movies for it to be considered healthy.”

“A Portrait of Death” is a murder mystery thriller with paranormal touches set in late Victorian England and is the first book in the Versipellis Mysteries Series.

I've been blogging about my interests at Jera's Jamboree for 9+ years. My love of reading, crocheting, being out in nature and positive psychology are all things that help me unwind from my role as an Inclusion Lead in a primary school.

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