The Strange Case of the Barrington Hills Vampire (2020) by James Scott Byrnside

The third book in the Rowan Manory series takes us back in time to 1920 whenVampire he has just made his name with the Case of the Bloody Shawl and as a result has been invited to speak at the annual dinner of the prestigious Detectives Club. It is this fame that causes Thomas Browning to offer him a fat fee to come to Barrington Hills to debunk a psychic who has got into the head of his business partner Hadd Mades.

Manory seems to have laid the vampire to rest with some neat explanations following a séance, particularly those relating to the original legend, but the next morning he is faced with a murder that he cannot explain.

The reader is provided with a number of floor plans, diagrams showing footprints in the snow, a dying message clue (described by Manory as “one of the seven wonders of detection” – will we ever learn what the other six are), and finally an eight part Challenge to the Reader – what more could a GAD enthusiast want?

The framing of the story with the Detectives Club dinner enables the dénouement to be played out in a way that is different from normal and the motive when it is finally revealed could have come from one of my favourite authors.

I noticed a repeating motif across the three books and it will be interesting to see if this is used again in the fourth book, publication date to be confirmed, titled The Five False Suicides which I am now awaiting with eager anticipation.

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