For two nights at a house party at Tranby Croft, the residence of one of the richest men in England, a card game is played, instigated by the Prince of Wales. One of the players, Lieutenant Colonel Sir William Gordon-Cumming Bt, Scots Guards, is accused of cheating.
A classic Victorian melodrama: vast amounts of money, illegal gambling, the Royal Family, mistresses, bed-hopping, cover-up, deception and blackmail.
The saga ranges from the wind-swept remoteness of Gordonstoun in Scotland, big game hunting in Africa and India, to life in the Guards in London and action in the Zulu Wars and Egyptian Campaign of 1882.
For the first time, the Gordon-Cumming family papers are brought to light, including many of Sir William’s diaries and letters, as well as letters from The Royal Archives at Windsor Castle that detail the anxieties amongst the Royal Family.
Previously undiscovered, there are more than mere coincidental connections between Gordon-Cumming and the Intelligence community. What was he really up to and why didn’t the Prince, his close confidant and friend, bail him out? Views of present-day descendants of those involved are also revealed for the first time. Was Gordon-Cumming a cheat or not? Or was he the scapegoat for something which is shrouded in even more mystery?
Michael Scott was commissioned into the Scots Guards in 1960. After worldwide regimental service, he led the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards in the Falklands War and was awarded the DSO. He was subsequently a brigade commander in Northern Ireland and, as a Major General, commanded the Army in Scotland and was appointed Governor of Edinburgh Castle in 1993. On leaving the Army, he was selected to be the first Complaints Commissioner to the Bar Council dealing with complaints against barristers. His first book, In Love and War – the Lives of General Sir Harry and Lady Smith, co-written with David Rooney, was published by Pen & Sword in 2008; paperback – Surrender at New Orleans. His second book, Scapegoats – Thirteen Victims of Military Injustice, was published by Elliott & Thompson, in 2013.