Wednesday, August 04, 2021

The Sedleigh Hall Murder by Roy Lewis

First Line: The pain came for him again, cat claws scratching at the back of his eyeballs, exquisite darts of agony searing through his head, and he stumbled to his feet, reaching into the desk drawer for the bottle of fluid
Chronic glaucoma means immediate discharge from the police force, so Eric Ward becomes an articled clerk on his way to becoming a fully fledged lawyer. He enjoys it even though the son of the boss likes to shove all his work onto Eric's shoulders.
Currrently, the law firm's major client is Lord Morcomb of Sedleigh Hall, and Eric is told to expedite finding any heirs to Arthur Egan's tiny estate so the law firm can get it off the books. But in his search, Ward finds more questions than answers, and he just can't sweep this under the rug. Besides, there does seem to be a connection to Sedleigh Hall. Eric Ward's policeman's instincts are telling him to keep digging, and that's exactly what he's going to do.
Originally published in 1980 as A Certain Blindness, this is the first Eric Ward mystery. I first became acquainted with Roy Lewis's writing by reading his Arthur Landon series. Landon is a medieval architecture expert and researcher in Northumberland, and I really enjoyed the history and landscape that Lewis put into the books. That same landscape figures prominently here in The Sedleigh Hall Murder. It was refreshing to read a mystery where there are no cell phones and no DNA. One of the secondary characters, former jockey Jackie Parton, complains that it's almost impossible for him to reach Ward because Ward never seems to be in the office by his phone. You don't see that happening in current mysteries.
Although Lewis's writing style is a bit dry and the book is plot- rather than character-driven, I enjoyed it. The mystery had plenty of twists and turns, and Eric Ward-- like Arthur Landon in the other series-- is a strong central figure. His chronic glaucoma can hit suddenly and put him out of commission for quite a while, so that unknown factor adds tension to the story. Another character tells Ward that he was "always a good liaison copper," and what made him a good police officer makes him a good lawyer. He knows how to deal with people in all walks of life. He knows how to talk with them to get the information he needs. 
Although I do prefer mysteries that are more character-driven, The Sedleigh Hall Murder was a good change of pace and a reminder of how much I've enjoyed Lewis's books in the past. Something tells me I'll be meeting Eric Ward again in the future.

The Sedleigh Hall Murder by Roy Lewis
eISBN: 9781789311266
Joffe Books © 2019
Originally published in 1980 as A Certain Blindness.
eBook, 170 pages
Amateur Sleuth, #1 Eric Ward mystery
Rating: B
Source: Purchased from Amazon.


  1. This sounds interesting, Cathy. I know exactly what you mean about plot- rather than character-driven stories, and sometimes, that's not a bad thing. I like books that give an insight into different careers, too, like being an articled clerk. Hmm.....I'll have to think about this one...

    1. Roy Lewis has written some very good mysteries, Margot.

  2. While I usually prefer character-driven stories, there are plenty of excellent plot-driven stories that can be just as much fun!

  3. This does sound like a good change of pace. Like Margo, I like the insights into different careers. And at just 170 pages, it sounds like a win!


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