Rage of the Assassin by Edward Marston (Bow Street Rivals Book 5)
English | 2020 | Mystery & Thriller | ePUB | 2.8 MB
Edward Marston was born and brought up in South Wales. A full-time writer for over thirty years, he has worked in radio, film, television and the theatre and is a former chairman of the Crime Writers’ Association. Prolific and highly successful, he is equally at home writing children’s books or literary criticism, plays or biographies.
London, 1817. An impatient crowd is gathered outside the stage door of the Covent Garden Theatre, desperate for a glimpse of actress Hannah Granville after her latest performance as Lady Macbeth, amongst them the Prince Regent himself. But before she can appear a gunshot sounds, and a man lies dead on the ground amidst the ensuing chaos.
Sir Roger Mellanby MP had been a spearhead for social reform, although his political leanings had made him many enemies within the Westminster elite and even in his own family. But was he really the intended target of the shooting? After a curt dismissal from the Bow Street Runners, Mellanby’s friend Seth Hooper engages the services of twin detectives Paul and Peter Skillen to investigate the killing.
Elsewhere, the assassin’s own problems are just beginning…
‘Hannah made her seem so real,’ said Peter. ‘She was spine-chilling, yet dozens still rushed to the stage door for a glimpse of her.’
‘They were obviously disappointed last night.’
‘Yes, Gully. It was a case of life imitating art. A king was murdered inside the theatre and a Prince Regent was almost assassinated outside it. At least, that’s what my brother believed at first. I’ll be interested to know what really happened.’
‘When will he be coming to the gallery?’
‘That depends on how long it takes him to calm Hannah down. When she’s really upset, it can be the work of a whole day. I don’t envy Paul. Restoring her equanimity is in the nature of a Herculean labour.’
There had been little sleep for either of them. When they’d returned the previous night to the home they shared, Hannah had been too agitated even to think of retiring to bed. It was only when sheer fatigue finally claimed her that Paul was able to carry her upstairs. No sooner had he placed her gently on the bed than she awoke and voiced her anxieties all over again. It was a pattern followed throughout the night. They were now sitting at the breakfast table and taking it in turns to yawn.
Hannah returned to the subject that had been vexing her all night.
‘That’s it,’ she announced. ‘I’ll never play Lady Macbeth again.’
‘But you signed a contract, my love.’
‘It was the biggest mistake of my career.’
‘That’s patent nonsense, Hannah. Your performance has been rightly hailed. London is at your feet. Audiences that applauded Mrs Siddons in the role no longer even remember her. You have made the role your own.’
She tossed her head. ‘I do that with every part I play.’
‘Your performance is absolutely peerless.’
‘Unfortunately, it brought disaster in its wake. It’s my own fault. I didn’t heed the warnings. Everyone knows that the play is cursed. Last night, I found that out to my cost.’
‘Yet the night before, you told me that you were deliriously happy.’
‘I was deceived.’
‘Don’t try to dissuade me, Paul. My mind is made up.’
‘Is it all because of one unfortunate incident?’
‘Is that what you call it?’ she asked with a hollow laugh. ‘The assassination of the Prince Regent merits a far stronger description than that. Suppose that you had been the target? I’d have been left in utter despair. Or suppose that the shot was fired when I emerged through the stage door. I might have been the victim. Have you considered that? Because of this hateful play, I could have been killed.’