Death on the Lizard

The Twelfth Robin Paige Victorian Mystery

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Lizard Village, 1903. Cornwall is rich with natural wonders: gorgeous shorelines and imposing cliffs. But these natural beauties conceal dangerous secrets, as amateur detectives Lord and Lady Sheridan discover. Wireless telegraph companies around the world scramble to develop the new communications technology. But an Italian named Guglielmo Marconi beats them to it. His feat has bruised some egos, but no one expects sabotage, much less murder. After two apparently accidental deaths at the Marconi wireless transmission station, Charles, Lord Sheridan, is asked to head an investigation and finds that valuable equipment has disappeared. And when Kate discovers the truth behind the drowning of a local girl, it becomes clear that these deaths and the dirty tricks at the station are connected.

  • "Even-tempered prose, period conversation, historical characters, dialect, and culture...." —Library Journal

  • "Dualities abound in Paige's mix of real and fictional characters..." —Publisher's Weekly

  • The story line is action-packed, but [the book] also provides a deep historical look at Cornwall and at the beginnings of the technology revolution. —Harriet Klausner

Guglielmo Marconi
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Marconi was born on April 25, 1874 in Bologna, Italy, to an English mother and Italian father. As a child, he loved to tinker with scientific toys and in his teens, became interested in the idea of communicating without wires, using Hertzian waves.

By 1895 (barely 20 years old), Marconi had achieved wireless transmission over a distance of nearly two miles. He took his scheme to the Italian government, but when they failed to express an interest, he took his ideas to England. In June, 1896, he filed the world's first patent application for a system of telegraphy using Hertzian waves. Later that year he carried out tests on Salisbury plain, and began setting up stations along the south coast of England.

In 1900, Marconi came to Cornwall's Lizard Peninsula, where he constructed an experimental wireless station at Poldhu. On Dec. 12, 1901, the first transatlantic radio signal from Poldhu (the letter "S," sent in Morse code) was received at St. Johns, Newfoundland, some 1800 miles away. The receiving aeriel was carried aloft by a kite.

Marconi Station

Marconi with the Prince & Princess of Wales
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On July 18, 1903, the Prince and Princess of Wales (later King George V and Queen Mary) visited the Poldhu Station. There were no untoward events during their stay.

For more information about Marconi, visit the digital archives of the Marconi Wireless Museum, drawn from the extensive collection housed at Chelmsford, where Marconi established his first wireless manufacturing plant.

Eleventh book in the series: Death at Blenheim Palace

First book in the series: Death at Bishop's Keep