Gordon Higginson is a forty-six-year-old barrister with chambers on Henrietta Street on the north side of Dublin. He was born and grew up on Mountjoy Square, studied law at Trinity College and now lives at number 33 Rutland Square.
Number 33 had been owned by Samuel Laban, a barrister friend of Gordon’s. When Samuel died unmarried and childless, he bequeathed the house to a cousin who didn’t want it and put it and the contents up for auction. Gordon bought the house cheaply as it was in a dilapidated condition and he had it renovated and decorated. He is proud to live in the largest house on the west side of Rutland Square.
Gordon is married to Elizabeth, nee Dawson – Margaret Powell’s elder sister – who loves him without question. They have two daughters – Olivia and Jemima – but Gordon hopes they will have a son in due course.
Quick thinking, ruthless and arrogant, Gordon is respected but not liked. He is a useful acquaintance for Will and Isobel to have but they know he can never be trusted. Gordon proved his worth by skillfully devising a scheme to put an end to a crisis in Margaret’s marriage. Now, two years on, has the figure hoped long gone from Dublin returned to wreak a cruel mischief on those who banished him? Has Gordon’s grand scheme begun to unravel?
Dublin, Ireland, October 1885. The fragile peace within the Fitzgerald family is threatened when Dr Jacob Smythe becomes one of Will’s patients, angering his mother. But in attending to the elderly gentleman’s needs, Will inadvertently reunites Sarah with an old adversary and Isobel discovers she and Dr Smythe have an unexpected and tragic connection.
When Alfie receives a card on his twenty-ninth birthday, the recognisable handwriting and cryptic message shatters his hard-won personal contentment. Has a figure hoped long gone from his life returned to Dublin to wreak a cruel mischief on all those who banished him? Is Alfie’s ambition of becoming a doctor about to be derailed when he has less than a year left at Trinity College?
Read an excerpt from Chapter Three…
[Will] walked around the square to number 33 and rang the doorbell of the Higginson residence before blowing out his cheeks. He didn’t trust Gordon one bit but this had to be done. The Higginson’s butler opened the front door and Will mustered up a smile.
“My name is Dr Will Fitzgerald. Is Mr Higginson at home?”
“I shall ask, Dr Fitzgerald. Please come in.”
Will went inside, the butler closed the door then took his hat and hung it on the stand before going up the stairs which rose around three walls of the hall. A few moments later, Gordon came down the steps with the butler behind him.
“Gordon. May we speak in private?”
“Come with me.”
Will followed the barrister up the stairs and into the drawing room. Gordon gestured to an armchair and Will sat on the edge while Gordon went to the sofa and listened intently as Will explained the reason for his call. When he finished, Gordon sat back, crossed his legs and swore profusely up at the ceiling.
“And the birthday card was received on what date?” Gordon asked, lowering his head and Will swallowed a curse. He should have known this would turn into a cross-examination.
“October 31st. It was Alfie’s twenty-ninth birthday.”
“You have never thought to tell me before this that your brother-in-law was David’s lover?”
“No,” Will replied shortly. “Up to now, no-one outside the family has been told – for quite obvious reasons.”
“When did Alfie see David last?”
“The day Margaret was raped. He had not seen nor heard from David until he received the birthday card.”
“And you believe him?”
“Yes, I do,” Will snapped. “If you had seen how shaken Alfie was the morning of his birthday, you would believe him, too.”
“Have you heard from David at all?”
“So, you don’t know if he is still living where he chose to go?”
“Christ, Gordon,” Will roared, thumping a fist on the arm of the chair. “David could be back here in Dublin.”
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