Secret Rooms by Catherine Bailey

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One is reminded of Oscar Wilde's short story about an enigmatic woman whose furtive activities are shrouded in mystery.


A castle filled with intrigue, a plotting duchess and a mysterious death in Catherine Bailey's The Secret Rooms. At 6 am on 21 April 1940 John the 9th Duke of Rutland, and one of Britain's wealthiest men, ended his days, virtually alone, lying on a makeshift bed in a dank cramped suite of rooms in the servants' quarters of his own home, Belvoir Castle, in Leicestershire. For weeks, as his health deteriorated, his family, his servants - even the King's doctor - pleaded with him to come out, but he refused. After his death, his son and heir, Charles, the 10th Duke of Rutland, ordered that the rooms be locked up and they remained untouched for sixty years. What lay behind this extraordinary set of circumstances? For the first time, in The Secret Rooms, Catherine Bailey unravels a complex and compelling tale of love, honour and betrayal, played out in the grand salons of Britain's stately homes at the turn of the twentieth century, and on the battlefields of the Western Front. At its core is a secret so dark that it consumed the life of the man who fought to his death to keep it hidden. This extraordinary mystery from the author of Black Diamonds, perfect for lovers of Downton Abbey, Brideshead Revisited and The Suspicions of Mr Whicher. Praise for The Secret Rooms: 'Reads like the best kind of mystery story. It is a tale of mistresses and heirlooms, cowardice and connivance, and a deeply dysfunctional family...gripping' Sunday Times 'Astonishing...jaw-dropping...It would spoil the book if I revealed the whole works, suffice it to say...what a family' Sunday Telegraph 'An extraordinary detective operation' John Julius Norwich Catherine Bailey is the author of Black Diamonds. She read history at Oxford University and is a successful, award-winning television producer and director, making a range of critically acclaimed documentary films inspired by her interest in twentieth century history. She lives in West London.

About Catherine Bailey

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Catherine Bailey and Robin Petravic are the owners of Heath Ceramics, whose traditions they bring to a new generation of households and architects.
Published December 31, 2013 by Penguin Books. 487 pages
Genres: History, Travel, Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Above average
Reviewed by Frances Wilson on Nov 16 2012

One is reminded of Oscar Wilde's short story about an enigmatic woman whose furtive activities are shrouded in mystery.

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