Sceptred

THE SCEPTRED ISLE CLUB

In 1905, John Le Brun makes his first excursion to England to visit import broker Geoffrey Moore. Le Brun and Moore became friends six years earlier while Le Brun was Sheriff of Brunswick, Georgia and enmeshed in a perplexing murder case at the very exclusive Jekyl Island Club. Now retired, the self-taught Le Brun is fulfilling a long-standing dream of measuring himself against the greatest minds in the greatest city of the greatest empire of that era. Upon his arrival, Moore introduces Le Brun to the social world of the 'men's club' - hundreds of which exist in and about London, where men of similar backgrounds and often great power meet. Chief among Le Brun's new acquaintances is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author and inventor of the great fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes.

While visiting the Sceptred Isle Club, where the ex-sheriff is scheduled to give a lecture, Le Brun and Doyle hear a series of muffled gunshots. A tandem investigation reveals that several prominent men have been murdered inside the gambling room, where the inner door was locked and the heavily-bolted outer door was inexplicably unlocked. There are no survivors, no suspects, and no signs of either the weapon used in the crime or the thousands of pounds being gambled. Le Brun is retained by the club to solve the murders and preserve its reputation. Moving as a stranger in this Edwardian world of elegance and privilege, John Le Brun must unravel a Byzantine crime whose purpose has wide-reaching implications for the entire British Empire.

 

After many printings of The Jekyl Island Club, it became obvious that readers wanted more of Sheriff John LeBrun's clever and down-to-earth ratiocinations. In the first book, he befriends a British businessman who invites him to London. Upon retirement, John accepts. He finds himself smack in the middle of another club murder mystery. I had great fun exploring the British mania for men's clubs. One such multiple-club maniac was Arthur Conan Doyle, who was a doctor before authoring the Sherlock Holmes stories. I had great fun turning him into LeBrun's Dr. Watson in this locked-room case. The novel explores British history and the foibles of its society at the time, as well as "the Irish question" and the liberalization of women's rights. Once again, LeBrun is indomitable.

 

Critical praise for The Sceptred Isle Club:

"Historically accurate, sardonically observant…Monahan keeps the pace brisk and Le Brun's populist wit up front as he weaves a clever and socially conscious yarn." Providence Journal-Bulletin

"Monahan's engaging hero and meticulous attention to the history and style of the era make The Sceptred Isle Club a delightful meander through another time and place." St. Petersburg Times

"Brent Monahan describes early twentieth century London with the same ease and immediacy he did late nineteenth century Georgia in The Jekyl Island Club. This is an engrossing read that will transport readers to an earlier time." The Mystery Reader