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The Secret Rooms: A True Gothic Mystery | [Catherine Bailey]

The Secret Rooms: A True Gothic Mystery

In April 1940, the ninth Duke of Rutland died in mysterious circumstances in one of the rooms of his family estate, Belvoir Castle. The mystery surrounding these rooms holds the key to a tragic story that is played out on the brutal battlefields of the Western Front and in the exclusive salons of Mayfair and Belgravia in the dying years of la belle époque. Uncovered is a dark and disturbing period in the history of the Rutland family, and one which they were determined to keep hidden for over 60 years. Sixty years on, The Secret Rooms is the true story of family secrets and one man’s determination to keep the past hidden at any cost.
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Publisher's Summary

In April 1940, the ninth Duke of Rutland died in mysterious circumstances in one of the rooms of his family estate, Belvoir Castle. The mystery surrounding these rooms holds the key to a tragic story that is played out on the brutal battlefields of the Western Front and in the exclusive salons of Mayfair and Belgravia in the dying years of la belle époque. Uncovered is a dark and disturbing period in the history of the Rutland family, and one which they were determined to keep hidden for over 60 years. Sixty years on, The Secret Rooms is the true story of family secrets and one man’s determination to keep the past hidden at any cost.

©2012 Catherine Bailey (P)2012 Audible Ltd

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (114 )
5 star
 (32)
4 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.5 (104 )
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3 star
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Story
4.0 (104 )
5 star
 (45)
4 star
 (27)
3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (4)
Performance
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  •  
    Linda Lou Cave Creek, AZ USA 05-30-15
    Linda Lou Cave Creek, AZ USA 05-30-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1999
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1456
    255
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    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "ANTI-CLIMATIC MESS OF MINUTAIE"

    Without spoiling the end, this is not much of a mystery. Nor is the underlying subject of any real interest. The author takes a small kernel in the lives of a family and tries to make it into a full-length book. She would have done better to have written a fictional novel based loosely on a true story. This is a hot mess of minutiae and repetition mixed with a large dose of speculation. I can't understand why anyone would put this much time in researching absolutely nothing! The narrator reads like he is really building up to a great surprise ending. Since nothing was happening hour after hour, he put me to sleep quicker than Ambien! The minor trivia learned in this book would fit in a Snapple Tea bottle cap!

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    EJJ 06-13-13
    EJJ 06-13-13

    European history professor specializing in English history 1870-1939.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    57
    ratings
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    27
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    Story
    "Well Worth A Listen"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    A riveting book. I am not entirely certain that I agree with all of the author's conclusions, but she has done a fabulous job of detective work (a major part of the story), and this is particularly fascinating for anyone who is familiar with the era or the characters.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    No one comes out looking very admirable.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The boxes of old letters the duke did not manage to destroy.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    Excellent and absorbing.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robyn 03-07-13
    Robyn 03-07-13

    Avid reader of history, biography, and true crime.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    67
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    83
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    Story
    "gripping!"

    This is on my list of best-ever reads. The author's tracking down of documents and other clues to solve the mystery of the title is beautifully paced. As she follows the trail, the two principal settings, life of the privileged upper classes and the trenches of the Western Front, are excellently depicted. She writes well and maintains the suspense throughout. Stephen Rashbrook's narration is perfect - his voice, his accent, foreign pronunciations, pace, evocation of mood - wonderful! This book and the reader are highly recommended.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    oldmanwagner 11-13-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    27
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    11
    8
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    Story
    "A promising tale gets bogged down in minutiae"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    It could you a severe editing.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Enough with the lists of soldiers and silver.


    What does Stephen Rashbrook bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Time, I could've read it faster.


    Was The Secret Rooms: A True Gothic Mystery worth the listening time?

    NO.


    Any additional comments?

    It's good for a while, then in the final 1/3 gets bogged down in British oddity and indulgence.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Madeleine London, United Kingdom 07-31-14
    Madeleine London, United Kingdom 07-31-14 Member Since 2015

    Audiobook addict.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "A Mystery Unravelled in a Mediocre Way"

    First, I have to say that the narration was superb on this audiobook and it made what was a nice little mystery with a poorly structured narrative bearable. Researchers are, understandably, in love with their own process and so they should be. But it's a mistake to believe this automatically translates into a compelling story structure.

    There were a number of ways to go about using what is a very interesting set of factual events to construct a novel: you can simply dramatize the facts and weave them into a historical novel (with either the research subject as the narrator or a secondary character as narrator); you can construct the whole piece as a collection of found documents, the way Dracula is constructed, in epistolary form; or you can take the contemporary discovery approach by having the researcher there in the story as a quasi-detective (as was done here). The mistake that researchers who try to turn their research into prose often make is to present themselves as an inert figure. No entity in a story is ever inert and attempting to present them that way is always a mistake in anything but academic writing which is why I agree with an earlier reviewer that this reads slightly like someone's PhD thesis.

    Another problem with the story is repetition. This could have used an editor with a firmer hand. Repeating research findings is perfectly acceptable in academic writing, but it's just irritating in what needs to have a more fluid approach. Trust your reader to remember what you wrote three chapters ago. They usually do.

    Finally, this this was irritating, the author telegraphs important discovery events by hyping what she's found before she tells you what it is. This really spoils the a-ha moment for a prose-reader. If anything, the opposite approach is more effective. To downplay the advent before a really surprising discovery is revealed.

    Sounds like a really unsatisfactory audiobook, but it wasn't. Admittedly, this isn't a book of startling and shocking revelations. It's a gentle, poignant and almost literary unfolding of a man's life. But the core of it is an intriguing story. And, as I said at the beginning, the narration is outstanding, and mitigates a lot of the structural flaws.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dr Brampton, ON, Canada 04-28-13
    Dr Brampton, ON, Canada 04-28-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Too long and detailed to be entertaining."

    This is well researched book ,more like a PhD thesis than a story.It refects well the era of the First World War and the power of the nobility.
    The detail like the names and size of each picture in inches listed in sales catalogue sold to raise money for the estate is truly boring and annoying.,the same can be said of other lists.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    brad hamor 03-30-15
    brad hamor 03-30-15 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
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    Story
    "great story"

    I really liked the story and the narrators performance added to the experience. I love books set during that time period

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Timothy 12-10-14
    Timothy 12-10-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Bait and switch, with a Victorian package"
    What disappointed you about The Secret Rooms: A True Gothic Mystery?

    There really isn't much of a mystery - a lot of build-up is made then revealed to be mundane, not-particularly-unique life events. Also, it was WAY too long - there were well written and entertaining sections that might have made up for the lack of substance, had there been a competent editor working with the author.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Catherine Bailey again?

    Probably not - this was such a let down.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Performance of the reader was good, he just had very little to work with.


    What character would you cut from The Secret Rooms: A True Gothic Mystery?

    Sadly, character needs to be ADDED in order to make this book more enjoyable.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is so much NOT what it says it is. I suppose if it was properly titled "Family Letters of English Minor Aristocracy during the early 20th Century" it wouldn't have sold very well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charlotte HONOLULU, HI, United States 08-22-14
    Charlotte HONOLULU, HI, United States 08-22-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    81
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    0
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    "So deadly flat a reading, I fell asleep."
    What disappointed you about The Secret Rooms: A True Gothic Mystery?

    I love Gothic Mysteries, I could not tell you what this one is about as the reading of it is so bad I simply could not stay with the story. I tried Three times to listen to this and never made past a few chapters, of which I slept through most.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    No idea.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Flat, toneless, no inflection, no life.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    I wish I knew, the reader was so bad I couldn't stay with it.


    Any additional comments?

    I would love to hear this book with a different reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer 06-10-14
    Jennifer 06-10-14

    I'm a writer and I love books of all types

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "Historically mysterious with lots of intrigue"

    History buffs and mystery buffs this is a must read Loved the rich details and the story line
    great plot and detailing of characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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