This is a first person narrative by a 20th century historian, writer, producer and director who began researching for a book about Belvoir Castle and its environs during the First World War but in the end it turned into something completely different.
During her research, Catherine Bailey stumbles on a mystery centered on the 9th Duke of Rutland who died of pneumonia in a small room that held historical documents. After his death, the room he died in and other rooms connected to it were sealed off for over 60 years.
The Duke was an obsessive Archivist and amateur Archaeologist and kept meticulous records of the history of his family going back hundreds of years. However during the author’s perusing of the Duke’s personal correspondence she notices that some of the letters he wrote were missing as were corresponding letters from other family members. His diary pages during this period of time are blank as well. Why would someone so interested in chronicling history deliberately excise almost a year’s worth of correspondence?
As the author continues her research she discovers that the Duke was using a code to correspond with his uncle. The mystery only deepens as the research continues. It seems that the castle was scheduled to be used as a military barracks but that someone pressured the government into using it as an archive for top secret material – thousands of boxes worth of material. But why?
This is a finely crafted tale that you won’t want to put down until you know the secret of the rooms.
Review by Annette from Mission Branch