The Ardlamont Mystery by Dan Smith

In ‘The Ardlamont Mystery’, Daniel Smith shines a light on one of the most fascinating murder trials of the nineteenth century.

Part true crime biography, part courtroom drama, it centres on the relationship between the families of Alfred Monson, a notorious confidence trickster and Cecil Hambrough, the twenty-year old nobleman who died on his estate. Monson went on to argue that his student accidentally shot himself in the head while out hunting, but the circumstantial evidence overwhelmingly points to a cruel and calculated murder.

Smith expertly draws the reader into a case that has plenty of twists and turns, providing credible cases for Monson’s possible innocence and far more probable guilt. The amount of research that went into this book is incredible and the simple writing style makes the complicated facts of the trial easy to understand.

Moreover, fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works will be especially interested to learn that the two forensic scientists who inspired the character of Sherlock Holmes investigated the case.

Joseph Bell and Henry Littlejohn carried out a series of Sherlockian experiments and the quotes from Conan Doyle’s short stories, sprinkled throughout the book, give the reader even greater insight into the world of contemporary crime.

I thoroughly enjoyed every page of this superb book and would recommend it to all fans of Sherlock Holmes and to anyone who enjoys a good mystery.