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?