With such a name, drawn from an illustrious heritage, one expects great things. No magical tales here, no golden rings or underground caves, however we do find our share of monstrous Nazis, hidden diamonds and damsels in distress.
The tale, set in Britain in 1960, has Inspector Trave of the Oxford constabulary investigating two murders at Blackwater Hall, both allegedly committed by young David Swain, the jilted lover of young Katya. The first murder was the new boyfriend, out of jealousy and the second, for which Swain had to breakout of prison to commit, the revenge killing of Kaya herself.
Trave, who is the lead detective, refuses to remove himself from the investigation even though the owner of Blackwater Hall is now courting his soon to be ex-wife and indeed seems to be going out of his way antagonize the family. This period tale reads more like England in the stilted era of the thirties more than the country of loosening mores of the sixties. Without the references to the happenings of Nazi Germany one might be forgiven to think they where reading about circumstances after the Great War, however in no way does this period-mixing detract from the grand storyline that has Tolkein sweeping us away with its telling.
With a trail of blood diamonds from Antwerp, two Jewish brothers seeking the truth of what happened to their parents and a trail that leads to the concentration camps of Mechelen, Belgium, Tolkien leads us on the familiar and mysterious path of deceit, revenge and betrayal.