I believe I Mooched this book, because it's a former library book, and not from any library I've ever been to. I've read the first five books in the series already, and it was time for number six!
In this installment, Holmes and Mary have just returned home to Sussex from the events in The Moor (the events of which took place two books ago, since the last book took place in Palestine, within the timeline of events in the first book in the series...got that?). They receive a knock on the door and who should stand there but Ali Hazr...although dressed as a slightly out of date English gentleman. Holmes and Russell come to find out that the men they knew in Palestine as Mahmoud and Ali Hazr, are actually cousins Alistair and Marsh Hughenfort, from one of England's premier families. Marsh's elder brother and young nephew have both died, leaving him the heir to the Hughenfort dukedom, which suits Marsh not at all, as he would much rather be cruising the Palestinian desert than entertaining royals. Ali is seeking the help of Holmes and Russell to find a way to get Marsh out of the dukedom.
So Holmes and Russell travel to Justice Hall, ancient seat of the Hughenfort family. They begin to investigate the death of Marsh's young nephew Gabriel, who would have been the heir had he lived. He was killed in action in World War I...or was he? As the pair look deeper into what happened to Gabriel Hughenfort, they find a potential plot to knock off the would-be heirs, to clear the way for...who?
I really liked this book, because it brought back some much-beloved characters in Marsh and Alistair (Mahmoud and Ali) and introduced some new favorites, as well (Iris Sutherland). I loved the setting; Justice Hall herself was a great character. This book, more than any of the others, really brought out the character of the Roaring Twenties that we are mostly familiar with. Flappers, women wearing pants and flying planes, an Egypt/King Tut themed party...so many great 1920's elements. But the book also managed to tie in the sadness and destruction still being felt after the end of WWI, especially through the journals and story of Gabriel Hughenfort.
Four and a half out of five Whatevers. One of the best in the series. Recommended, as usual, for Holmes lovers, for those looking for a wonderful portrayal of strong women in the early 20th century, for people who just want a darn good mystery (although I figured it out - or maybe guessed it - early on).