Reviews for Goodnight Sweet Prince
Kirkus Reviews 2001 November #1
Most people probably have some notion that Queen Victoria's son, the Prince of Wales, was an uninhibited adulterer (his liaison with Lilly Langtry was notorious). Many fewer know that his son Eddy, ne Victor Albert, was equally dissolute. Dickinson begins this debut historical mystery by assuming these facts about Victoria's family and considering what would happen if blackmail and murder were added to the mix. Lord Francis Powerscourt's reputation as a discreet investigator has earned him the ambivalent honor of being called in by Sir William Suter, the Prince's Private Secretary, and the Treasurer and Comptroller of His Royal Highness's Household, General Sir Bartle Shepstone, to investigate anonymous extortion letters sent to the Prince of Wales. Although they're addressed to the elder Prince, his son might well be the real target of the blackmailer's ambiguous threats. When Powerscourt proposes a hard-nosed investigation, Suter backs off-until the morning Prince Eddy is found with his throat cut. Powerscourt investigates the murder, a crime that he cannot reveal, for he is roped into a conspiracy to report that Eddy's death resulted from influenza, the historically given cause for the young Prince's demise.Dickinson textures his canvas with historical detail as thick as the oil paint on one of his favorite paintings by Turner, delineated in prose sometimes as cumbersome as Her Royal Highness's most famous edicts. Something like a masculine Anne Perry novel that finally collapses from the sheer weight of the tragedy and immorality perpetrated by the two Princes. Copyright Kirkus 2001 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved
Library Journal Reviews 2001 December #1
When someone murders 28-year-old Prince Eddy in his bed at Sandringham, it falls to Lord Francis Powerscourt, military intelligence officer, to find the perpetrator. Because of various blackmail-enticing indiscretions of the prince's father, the Prince of Wales (Queen Victoria's son), and Eddy's alleged connections to the homosexual underworld, public acknowledgment of his murder could cause untold moral and political scandal. Powerscourt and his associates therefore invent a "death by influenza" as they uproot family secrets in search of the murderer. These events provide succulent fodder for fans of Victorian mysteries. Fine prose, high society, and complex plot recommend this series debut for most collections. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2001 December #2
In this excellent novel, the first in a new historical series, Dickinson draws on his experience as series editor of the BBC's three-part program about the British royal family, Monarchy, to weave a tale of blackmail and murder among the royals late in Victoria's reign. When the dissolute Prince of Wales is threatened with yet another scandal, Lord Francis Powerscourt, an Irish peer with a shadowy history of espionage, first tries to discover who's blackmailing and then who murdered the prince's equally dissolute eldest son, Prince Eddy. Through brief, deft visual descriptions and dialogue that's equally unforced, the author gives us a varied assortment of appealing characters. Scenery, too, from the cold coast of Norfolk to the tangled alleys of Venice, is rendered with fascinating verisimilitude. Dickinson's knowledge of the arts, history and literature is nothing if not exhaustive, and adds enormously to the overall background. Few authors could get away with such a cliche as "The gentlemen from The Times are here" yet Dickinson does, and makes it credible to boot. Similarly, Powerscourt's liquorish friend Lord Johnny Fitzgerald seems ripe for the stereotype of the drunken toff, but instead turns out to be one of the book's most engaging characters. The tension builds slowly (this is the year 1892, after all) but surely. Even if Prince Eddy wasn't really murdered (that he died of influenza is the "cover story" here), Dickinson can make us believe it for a while. One hopes to see more of Lord Powerscourt and his friends in the near future. (Jan. 4) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.