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A Weekend at Blenheim

Morrissey, J. P.

65 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0312282680 / ISBN 13: 9780312282684
Published by Thomas Dunne Books; St. martin's Press, New York, 2002
From Ground Zero Books, Ltd. (Silver Spring, MD, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

305, [1] p. Line of Decent. In this Edwardian country-house mystery, American architect John Vanbrugh inadvertently becomes a sleuth when he discovers clues to a murder in the home of his clients, a pair of decadent British aristocrats. Author's first novel is set at the ancestral home of the Duke of Marlborough and his wife (born Consuelo Vanderbilt) in 1905. A young American architect engaged to renovate the Duchess' private rooms finds a mysterious document and becomes involved in some very nasty goings-on; the young Winston Churchill and John Singer Sargent put in appearances in this historical treat. Good in good dust jacket. Signed by author. Fep has some warping/wrinkling. Signature on t-p. DJ has some damp staining inside at the top. First edition. Stated. First printing [stated]. Bookseller Inventory # 63366

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Bibliographic Details

Title: A Weekend at Blenheim

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; St. martin's Press, New York

Publication Date: 2002

Binding: Hardcover

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


In this enthralling and atmospheric tale of murder, revenge and redemption, a young American struggles to make sense of a world he does not understand, where the price of acceptance may be murder.

John Vanbrugh is an outsider in the England of 1905: A determined but unsuccessful American architect, he has moved to London to make a new life for himself and his wife, Margaret. When he receives an unexpected summons to meet the dazzling Duchess of Marlborough at Blenheim Palace, he is skeptical.

The young duchess, Vanbrugh comes to understand, has her reasons. Like him, she is American-born: Consuelo Vanderbilt, one of the richest debutantes in America. Seemingly on impulse, the duchess hires Vanbrugh to renovate her rooms at Blenheim - a plum job Vanbrugh accepts. He and his wife join the weekend party at Blenheim, a group that includes the foul-tempered duke; his young cousin Winston Churchill; the society painter John Singer Sargent; the duchess' mother and American suffragette Mrs. O.H.P.Belmont; Gladys Deacon, an American friend of the duchess'; and the enigmatic Catholic Monsignor Vay de Vaya.

Almost as soon as he begins work at Blenheim, Vanbrugh uncovers a series of unsettling letters that hint at a long-concealed deceit. As he tries to grasp the meaning of this discovery, a sketchbook owned by Sargent is stolen and a young housemaid is found in the courtyard, strangled. It is then that Vanbrugh realizes he is caught in a maze of duplicity and manipulation with no way out. Struggling to uncover the treachery he sees around him, Vanbrugh is forced to re-evaluate everything he thought about Blenheim, himself, even the very nature of truth.

Part mystery, part gothic morality tale, A Weekend at Blenheim is a compelling, mesmerizing, deeply satisfying novel.

From the Back Cover:

Praise for A Weekend at Blenheim

"I think it's safe to say that the present occupants of Blenheim Palace will blush with embarrassment or redden with rage when they read J. P. Morrissey's devastating portrayal of their ancestor, the ninth Duke of Marlborough, in his new novel, A Weekend at Blenheim. It is a fascinating nightmare of ducal superiority, snobbery, and stupidity, as financed by his Vanderbilt heiress duchess and as witnessed by a poor American houseguest." --Dominick Dunne, author of Another City, Not My Own and People Like Us

"A Weekend at Blenheim is a superb reconstruction of the aristocratic autumn of Edwardian England. More than this, it is a gripping tale of intrigue that breathes new life into the ‘country house mystery' with well-drawn characters, a stylish narrative, and the sophisticated parallels drawn between the baroque art of the palace and the even more baroque lives of its inhabitants." --Iain Pears, author of An Instance of the Fingerpost

"J. P. Morrissey's descriptive powers are extraordinary and bring to life palaces and attics and paintings and gardens breathlessly." --William F. Buckley, Jr., author of Saving the Queen and Stained Glass

"A Weekend at Blenheim is a remarkably engaging novel. Very few books manage to be this entertaining, clever, and well-written all at once. I recommend it heartily." --David Liss, author of A Conspiracy of Paper

"A Weekend at Blenheim is an evocative, mesmerizing, turn-of-the-century page-turner that kept me enthralled and guessing word by word, from start to gasp-inducing last page." --Sarah Ban Breathnach, author of Simple Abundance

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