DEATH HAS DEEP ROOTS by Michael Gilbert

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Inspector Hazlerigg, Book 5

This novel was first published in 1951 by Gilbert, a lawyer and a prolific writer. He passed away in 2006, leaving behind quite a legacy of published works which are fortunately being reissued for today’s reader. “Death Has Deep Roots” is in no way a dated piece and will take it’s place among current day novels in the mystery and conspiracy genre. The only difference the reader will find is that it was written shortly after the end of World War II and is grounded in an event that was than fresh in the minds of the entire world.
Victoria Lamartine, a young lady that was very active in the French resistance during the war, is on trial for her life accused of the murder of Eric Thoseby, a major in the British army.  The crime committed in England is being tried in British court, but the background and causative factors stem from events in France in 1943 as the French underground fought the Nazi army of occupation. The murder weapon is a knife that was shown to have been used in a manner reminiscent of skills taught to the members of the French underground.

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The novel presents two continuing events to tell the story.  First, there is Lamartine’s trial, very well described and carefully illustrating the work of both the prosecutor and the defense attorney. Second, Nap Rumbold, member of the defense team, is granted just eight days to travel to France and the areas where events pertinent to the association of Lamartine and Thoseby occurred in 1943. Also brought out in the story is the fact that Victoria became pregnant and had a boy in an affair during the period. The child died due to conditions experienced in fleeing the Germans.  It is thought that Thoseby was the father with Victoria seeking him out and killing him when he did not acknowledge the child.
The novel is absolutely one that will grab the reader and make him or her stay glued to the book until finished.  It will also be of interest that more of the author’s works will be reissued in the next few years making him a gifted writer for today’s readers as well as those that began when he first started publishing.

7/19 Paul Lane

DEATH HAS DEEP ROOTS by Michael Gilbert. House of Stratus; New edition edition (December 11, 2011). ISBN 978-0755105205. 240p.

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