Downton Abbey this is not, yet neither is the mystery concealed in the gothic castle quite the horror story one expects. Bailey does a magnificent research job in her quest to go through the copious amounts of never seen letters and material belonging locked away at Belvoir Castle in the early twentieth century and discover exactly what the then Duke of Rutland was trying to conceal. The lengths this branch of the aristocracy were willing to go to in order to preserve their lineage is a tale of 'class obsession, hypocrisy and constipated emotion' and the narrative is peopled with fascinating characters capable of more depth and deception than Masterpiece Theatre often provides.
For fans of Downton Abbey, this New York Times bestseller is the enthralling true story of family secrets and aristocratic intrigue in the days before WWI
After the Ninth Duke of Rutland, one of the wealthiest men in Britain, died alone in a cramped room in the servants’ quarters of Belvoir Castle on April 21, 1940, his son and heir ordered the room, which contained the Rutland family archives, sealed. Sixty years later, Catherine Bailey became the first historian given access. What she discovered was a mystery: The Duke had painstakingly erased three periods of his life from all family records—but why? As Bailey uncovers the answers, she also provides an intimate portrait of the very top of British society in the turbulent days leading up to World War I.
About the Author
Catherine Bailey read history at Oxford University and is an award-winning television producer and director, making a range of critically acclaimed documentary films inspired by her interest in twentieth century history. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Secret Rooms and Black Diamonds. She lives in West London.
“In pages more reminiscent of Edgar Allan Poe than Evelyn Waugh… [Bailey] reminds us why this seemingly insignificant story bears telling.” – The New York Times Book Review
“With gripping detail and graceful prose…Bailey’s work can best be described as a work of probative history written with the storytelling skills of a latter-day Agatha Christie.” – The Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Populated with a bevy of real-life aristos who played by their own twisted and privileged set of rules, a searing portrait of family intrigue, dysfunction, and hubris—a la Downton Abbey—emerges.” – Booklist
“Bailey is a truly dogged detective… a compelling exposé” – Kirkus Reviews
“Bailey deserves commendation for her meticulous research as well as her storytelling.” – Publisher’s Weekly
“Gripping. Reads like the best kind of mystery story. It is a tale of mistresses and heirlooms, cowardice and connivance.” – The Sunday Times (London)
“Compelling. A remarkable piece of research which throws a bright shaft of light on powerful people, hypocrisy and the First World War.” – The Guardian