The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton by E. Speller

I’ve always had a strange fascination with people who’ve disappeared and have never been seen again. The tv show Disappeared is one I never miss because I just don’t understand how someone can vanish into thin air. The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton deals with just such a case. Set in the 1920’s the book follows the main character, Laurence Bartram, as he is engaged to help his friend William renovate an ancient church at a country house called Easton Deadall. While there he learns that more than 10 years previously the daughter of the home’s owner disappeared in the middle of the night and was never found. Her name was Kitty and she was only 5 years old. Though Laurence is not a professional detective he is a very curious man and quietly sets out to solve the mystery of Kitty’s disappearance.

This book is the second in the Laurence Bartram mystery series. I didn’t read the first book in the series, The Return of Captain John Emmett, and I do feel like I missed a few key details about Laurence and his past that would have helped me to better understand his actions in this novel. However, I did enjoy this despite not knowing anything about what happened in the first book. This is a slow-paced mystery, not full of adventure and adrenaline. It is more cerebral and relies on Laurence’s plodding inquiries and his diligent conversations to solve the mystery. Laurence is a great character; a reserved, complex and intelligent man whose  personal restraint encourages people to trust and talk to him.

Though I felt this novel lacked energy in some ways, I enjoyed it. The time period, the characters and the solution to the mystery were all very well executed and I would certainly read more about Mr. Bartram and his life.

Do you like historical mysteries?

11 thoughts on “The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton by E. Speller

  1. I do like historical mysteries, how crimes were solved before all the science of the later 20th & now the 21st centuries. The setting sounds fun – I’ll have to see if our libraries have these.


    1. I really liked the setting of this novel. I get frustrated with some historical mysteries because I just want them to use DNA or fingerprints or blood-spatter evidence to solve the crime 🙂 It is hard to let my modern sensibilities go!


  2. I like historical mysteries as well, especially since they tend to focus more on the intriguing steps of solving a case rather than some of the more violet and disturbing details that are found in many modern day mysteries.


  3. Yes, I much prefer older mysteries to contemporary ones. I especially like those by Dorothy Sayers. Give me an English country setting with a complicated detective at the center of things and I am happy. Sherlock Holmes mysteries have been televised recently in new productions and are just brilliant. Thanks for an interesting post!


  4. Yes, I love historical mysteries. I read The Return of Captain John Emmett last year and enjoyed it but still haven’t read this one, so thanks for reminding me about it!


  5. I love a good historical mystery and I enjoyed this one particularly for the post WWI background. I also rather regretted that I hadn’t read the first book beforehand.


  6. Do go back to John Emmett. The story isn’t quite as strong as this one, but it’s well worth reading and I think you’ll appreciate seeing a little more ofthe characters’ backgrounds.


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