Cover of the book 'The Blood Doctor' by Barbara Vine.

Ancestors from Switzerland

Lord Martin Nanther is a member of the British House of Lords during the years in which it debates its own existence. He very much enjoys all the rituals and traditions that the house adheres to, but also understands that the inherited right to become a member is utterly old fashioned. So he wistfully votes for abolition.

Aside from his allowance as a Lord, he earns a living by writing books. His latest topic is his great-grandfather to whom he owes his seat in the House of Lords.

The first Lord Nanther ( 1836-1909) was ennobled by Queen Victoria in appreciation of his skilful treatment of her children for hemophilia. Not that there was any visible result: they were not cured, in fact they hardly even got better. Doctor Nanther was a hematologist and had published several influential books on blood. This is how he became the Royal doctor; several of Queen Victoria’s children suffered from the mysterious disease of hemophilia.

In search of information on his ancestors, Martin Nanther visits some (distant) relatives. He encounters inexplicable silences and suspects that they are hiding something.

He finds out that his great-grandmother is a peasant girl from Switzerland. A rather remarkable choice for a renowned Royal doctor. Why would his great-grandfather have chosen her? None of the people Martin talked to portrayed him as a romantic or passionate person - far from it. He seems to have been a cool rationalist who would do anything for his career. So why?

Barbara Vine is renowned for her thrillers. Her 'The Blood Doctor' is a blood curdling investigation with an unexpected denouement.

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