The Masquerade is a stylish and evocative mystery thriller, set in the early part of the 18th century. Three men, a young Lord, his tutor and his manservant, set out on a Grand Tour, destined for Italy. It’s not long before Thomas Noon, Lord Stilwell’s loyal and mildly ambitious servant begins to suspect that there is more purpose to their trip than absorbing the splendours of Ancient Rome. Nor is it long before tragedy strikes the party and Noon is forced to pretend that he is something he is not. A splendid account of falling in love, falling out of love and an intricate, multi-layered mystery make this a spell-binding read, utterly engrossing and pleasingly rounded. I might have wished for a little more pace at times but Griffin’s lyrical writing is a pleasure to read, keeping one’s eyes glued to the music of the page.
The reference to Ironbridge in Shropshire annoyed me and interrupted the flow of the story. The novel is set in 1713: The Ironbridge, from which the surrounding town takes its name, was not erected (over the river Severn at Coalbrookedale) until 1779! But it is a small flaw and quickly passed over.
Read and reviewed in 2008
© Jessica Mulley 2008, 2014