The second of Eleanor Updale’s novels about Montmorency begins five years later, which means there are definitely no young people in it, apart from a few incidental babies. Much more of a 39 Steps setting, this book appears to be about drug use, and how to get off the drugs if you’ve been stupid enough to start.
And it’s our hero, Montmorency, who is the addict, and it is horrible to behold. Perhaps that’s the idea. His aristocratic pal George does his best to help, even when he doesn’t want to be helped. They go to Scotland to recover, narrowly missing a bomb at King’s Cross. (This is the late 19th century, but it feels much like today in some ways.)
In Scotland another mystery introduces itself, which seems to be totally separate from the bomb. Both mysteries only get tackled by our heroes after some time, but it certainly gets exciting.
The drug problem, the poverty and the violence could be part of life anywhere, but maybe not the seemingly charmed existence led by the titled and the rich. It’s very wrong, but so charming and thrilling at the same time.
I’ll be interested to see where Montmorency will go from here. He’s not all nice, and he is clearly not getting younger. Or more law-abiding.