She was limited in ways because of her gender but still had some freedom because she was in charge of the estate while her husband was away.
Crowther assumed she was in her early thirties. What started as an innocent search for a killer morphed into a period thriller that included locating a will, a signet ring and concealed letters. No one was immune from a tragic death. The story moved between three distinct plots. At times, it was bothersome and slowed my reading. It worked for and against my enjoyment of the mystery. I am also hoping to see other secondary characters in future stories.
Because of this, I will read the next one. Gabriel Crowther opened his eyes. Harriet Westerman, wife of a navy commander, has given up sailing with her husband to raise their family and provide a home for her sister at Caverly Park in West Sussex. When she finds the body of a man whose throat has been slit, she summons help from anatomist Gabriel Crowther. The victim has a ring bearing the crest of neighboring Thornleigh Hall. Was the man Alexander Thornleigh, the missing heir to the Earl of Sussex?
London music shop owne First Sentence: London music shop owner Alexander Adams is murdered. Before dying, he tells his daughter to find a box hidden under the counter. Was Alexander the missing heir and how can his children be removed from the city in spite of a killer and the anti-Catholic Gordon Riots?
Wonderful characters make this book a treat to read. Jane Austin fans will quickly associate Harriet Westerman with Mrs. Rochester of our story. Gabriel Crowther is a scientist, and something of a recluse until being pulled into the investigation by Harriet and his own curious mind. There are a lot of characters, including some real historical figures. It was occasionally is difficult to keep track of who is whom. However, they each played their part and added to the overall Gothic feel of the story.
Robertson convincingly transported me to Georgian England in sight, sound, dialogue appropriate to the period and historical fact. I had not known of the Gordon Riots until now. She also included a perspective of the American Revolution from the viewpoint of a British soldier. There is a lovely, Gothic feel to this book, but it was not perfect. Happily, in spite of identifying the villains fairly soon, the motive remained a secret until the end. Although story did feel over-long, I was completely involved and never found myself skipping through it.
The book was engrossing and suspenseful, with interesting historical information. The different threads of the plot were brought together well in a slightly overly dramatic fashion. The most important question is whether I would read another book by this author. I will openly admit I knew nothing of this book before I saw it and bought it and certainly not the number of sequels that have come off the back of it. It was a case of cover and title catching my eye and then reading the cover piquing my curiosity. The book itself reads like a period drama in fact I see there are references to Jane Austin in its comparisons and yet at its heart is a murder mystery in fact several with more twists and turns and intrigue that you can imagine.
Now it may ha I will openly admit I knew nothing of this book before I saw it and bought it and certainly not the number of sequels that have come off the back of it. Now it may have been me being over whelmed with the language and attitude of the characters I did say it was period but I really didnt see the true villain of the piece be exposed until late in to the book, something that surprised even me and kept me reading long after really I would normally had patience for.
So yes I did enjoy the book the story was gripping but I will admit at times it was hard work but eventually it was worth it Oct 17, Sarah rated it it was amazing. This is a beautifully written and elegantly structured novel, unfolding in three storylines. Two take place in the novel's present day, one following the lives of Alexander Adams the missing heir of Thornleigh and his children, and the other the activites of Mrs.
Crowther as they struggle to solve a rash of seemingly connected murders. The third storyline unfolds in flashbacks, as it takes place years before in Massachusetts and follows Hugh Thornfield, a Captain in the Briti This is a beautifully written and elegantly structured novel, unfolding in three storylines. The third storyline unfolds in flashbacks, as it takes place years before in Massachusetts and follows Hugh Thornfield, a Captain in the British Army during the early days of the American Revolution. The structure of the novel is quite elegant, for as Mrs.
Crowther make slow progress in unraveling the murder mystery, we are alternately presented with the daily happenings in the London lives of Alexander Adams, his children and friends. As the connections between the murders, Thornleigh Hall and Alexander become more apparent, the rapid shift of perspective speeds up as well, heightening the tension and turning this from a really good book into a page-turner.
The sparser flashbacks to Hugh Thornleigh's experiences in America during the Revolutionary War lend insight into his character and present day relationships. The novel is also chock-full of fascinating chunks of history. The lives of the people in London are in additional danger from the rioting and attacks going on as anti-Catholic sentiment reaches its violent boiling point.
Crowther's profession as an anatomist is really interesting as well, because it is only in recent years that the general population considers anatomists men of science rather than ghoulish creatures. There are many intriguing details about Crowther's specimens, how they are preserved, the process of dissection, and the early building blocks of forensic science. Harriet Westerman is a delight as the mystery-solving amateur sleuth.1000yrs.net/includes/patrick/speed-dating-duesseldorf.php
Instruments of Darkness
She spent the early years of her marriage on a ship with her husband, and still yearns for the freeedom and adventure of life at sea. She is rather bored with her life in the country, managing her husband's estate, and minding her manners, much like a bird in a gilded cage. She is practical, intelligent, brave and flawed - I loved her. Throughout the novel the ever-present weight of class consciousness is pressing down on every action, every conversation, from the blatant rejection of the class system in the American flashbacks, to the London riots and the daily activities of every character in the book.
It was fascinating to watch how Harriet Westerman and Crowther navigated the dangerous seas of country and class politics and expectations, while attempting to solve a murder. I'm off to the library tomorrow to find the next in this series! View all 3 comments. Mar 06, Teri rated it really liked it. This was a solid 4-star read, and a great debut novel for Imogen Robertson. I had a few issues with the plot's pacing in places, and sometimes the characters' voices would blend together especially Mrs. Crowther's voices , but this was overall a very smooth read.
If I named one criticism of the book, it would have to be that I read the "f-word" a few times in the book, and each time I did I felt like Ms. Robertson was disrupting the flow of the story and was bringing me back to This was a solid 4-star read, and a great debut novel for Imogen Robertson. Robertson was disrupting the flow of the story and was bringing me back to the 21st century. Her use of that nefarious word in the context of this book got me wondering if that particular word was even in use in the s.
If anyone's interested, I found an article at http: In my mind, the book would have been just as good of a read without the "f-word," and the word acted more as a distraction to the flow of the story than anything else. Mystery series are all about character. The mystery can be the twisty-est ever, the settings creepy enough to give your shivers the shivers and the dialog straight out of The Thin Man BUT if the detectives are not charismatic, intriguing and entertaining your interest in the series will die along with the murder victim in book one.
Robertson introduces us Mystery series are all about character. Robertson introduces us to them in her novel Instruments of Darkness. The year is so there is no such thing as a detective professional or amateur. After this set up the plot moves along agreeably. In short Instruments of Darkness has chapter after chapter of satisfying melodrama, mystery and characters.
However, it is primarily Harriet and Gabriel who Robertson wants you invested in. Aside from this typical anachronism Robertson has struck gold with the Harriet-Gabriel combo. They each bring an out of the ordinary perspective to the events along with complex personal lives and terrific chemistry.
In the subsequent books in this series Anatomy of Murder and Island of Bones Imogene Robertson opens up her detectives private lives even more—much to the readers delight-- and expands our knowledge of Georgian England. The history of the period is obviously something Robertson knows a lot about. She definitely has the gift for using her research to the advantage of the narrative. Jun 02, Barb rated it really liked it Shelves: I really enjoyed this novel. I liked the characters and the setting, the majority of events take place during the Gordon Riots which happened in June of The writing was well polished, the story's pacing was good.
I really enjoyed the investigating team of Gabriel Crowther and Mrs. The events that unfolded were suspenseful and I enjoyed the characters Imogen Robertson created enough that I would like to read the next book in the series. Feb 05, Donna rated it really liked it Shelves: Read this with my in-person group and there was plenty to discuss. I had a tiny bit of a problem with the jumping around from Sussex, to London, and then to the colonies but all in all an interesting time and setting. I particularly liked the main characters, Harriet Westerman and Gabriel Crowther, complex individuals somewhat out of step with their time but kindred spirits in many way.
I am looking forward to more in this series and the friendship of Crowther and Westerman. Mar 14, Karen rated it it was ok. Not great but not bad British historical mystery. There are some interesting characters but the mystery itself is predictably resolved and there is a lot of clunky language and not much suspense. Just blah, kind of like this review. A dull, badly plotted mystery that inches along, stops to reveal the completely predictable ending, and then expires.
Two stars because of the occasional excellent sentence. First of a series set in 's Sussex, UK and featuring Gabriel Crowther, a gentleman who relinquished his title and is now mostly a recluse and a 'man of science' and Harriet Westerman, who runs the manor next door while her sea captain husband is away. Westerman finds a murdered body on her land and having read a paper Mr. Crowther wrote about evidence at murder scenes, seeks him out immediately. This leads to an extensive investigation which is tied to the missing heir of Thornleigh Hal First of a series set in 's Sussex, UK and featuring Gabriel Crowther, a gentleman who relinquished his title and is now mostly a recluse and a 'man of science' and Harriet Westerman, who runs the manor next door while her sea captain husband is away.
This leads to an extensive investigation which is tied to the missing heir of Thornleigh Hall another neighbor of theirs. Eventually a couple of other murders yield more clues as the pair investigate, since the local squire seems to be in Thornleigh Hall's pocket and isn't much interested in the truth. I freely admit that this is not my favorite historical time period, so I started the book with a bit of a jaundiced eye.
The characters and the story were interesting enough to get me into it right away though, and the writing style is easy to read and well-constructed. The only reason I don't give it five stars is that it did bog down a bit in the middle and was a bit overlong--I'm not sure all the detail about Captain Thornleigh's past and flashbacks to years previous were really necessary.
The mystery itself was fairly easy to figure out but I still really enjoyed the story and will definitely read on. I had many problems with this book, and I'm so disappointed because I wanted to love it. My first problem was being unable to connect to the two main characters. Another problem was the constant shifts between the three stories; I can usually handle two different story threads, but three just breaks my attention and makes me want to put down the book and not pick it back up again. Also the murderer was very obvious to me and it was frustrating that no one else in the book seemed to see it.
From t I had many problems with this book, and I'm so disappointed because I wanted to love it. From the other reviews I have read, my complaints with this book are not the norm so if you enjoy historical mysteries you may want to still give this one a go. As for me, I won't be reading further books in the series. I'd been reading this for a while and finished it on the plane because I didn't have anything else to do.
In theory, it has all the elements that would normally make a book really interesting to me, and I did like the characters, but I just didn't find anything about it truly engrossing, and the whole plot was instantly forgettable. Very enjoyable first book in what seems like will be a promising series.
Instruments of Darkness (Crowther and Westerman, book 1) by Imogen Robertson
I already have book 2 to read. The 2 converging plot lines didn't get confusing. Overall, this was a fun page-turner. Nov 16, Rosario http: Harriet Westerman has spent most of her adult life travelling the world with her naval commander husband, giving her experiences most other women in late 18th century England can't even imagine.
Family circumstances and obligations, however, have meant that for the past couple of years she's stayed behind running her husband's country estate. One morning, while on a walk, she finds a dead body, a man whose throat has been slit. Being a sensible and non-squeamish woman, she takes matters int Mrs. Being a sensible and non-squeamish woman, she takes matters into her own hands. A reclusive, mysterious gentleman has recently moved to the village. His name is Gabriel Crowther, and gossip has it that he has the most disgusting preserved specimens of bodies in his study.
Harriet has read one of his articles in a medical journal, and knows he's an anatomist, and one with a special interest in what can be deduced from dead bodies about the manner of their deaths. The perfect person to have a look at the body she's found, clearly. Crowther is not happy to have his self-imposed solitude disturbed, but he agrees to go have a look.
Their examination shows that the man is carrying a ring with the crest of the neighbouring Thornleigh Hall, home to the Earls of Sussex.
This makes them fear he might have been the heir, Alexander, who abandoned the family decades earlier and hasn't been seen since. And then it turns out that this death is only the first, and with the magistrate not particularly interested in finding the truth, it falls on Mrs. Westerman and Crowther to do so. And at the same time as this is going on, we follow events in London, where a man called Alexander Adams is murdered, and his children are under threat.
This was a solid historical mystery, with an interesting case and engaging characters I'd love to see more of. On the "mystery" part of the "historical mystery" tag, I was mostly satisfied. The mystery itself is not bad at all. Even though we've got three threads from three different places and two different time-frames Crowther and Harriet and the events in London, as mentioned, but also some sections set 5 years earlier, during the Revolutionary War in America, where the other son of Thornleigh Hall served , it's pretty straightforward, and not hard to guess the solution.
I still enjoyed it.
I liked that Harriet and Crowther's investigation proceeds in a logical way. I never felt like shaking them for not doing the obvious, which is more than I can say about other mysteries, and their involvement in the investigation felt natural and understandable. I especially liked the application of very early forensics. Crowther doesn't have many tools at his disposal, but it's more of an attitude thing, the willigness to actually look at the body and attempt to base conclusions on the evidence on what can be discerned from it.
That feels, from other characters' reactions, like a quite revolutionary attitude! On the "historical" bit of the tag, that was actually really good as well. Harriet feels like quite the modern woman, and doesn't seem to have any constraints on what she can do, but that's explained by her past experiences.
We don't get to find out much about her husband, but I can only assume he's the open-minded sort. All the other characters, though, feel more of the time. I have no idea how accurate it all is, but I can say that Robertson succeeded in creating a sense of place, a sense that this is a different world, and to give us quite a bit of colour. One of the elements I enjoyed the most was Crowther and Harriet's developing relationship. This isn't a romance at least not here, and I didn't really perceive any sort of sexual chemistry between these two, so I wouldn't expect the series to turn into one.
They do become good friends, though, and it's a true meeting of minds. I got the feeling that there is a lot more to discover about these two. Crowther clearly has secrets in his past, and I suspect we haven't found out about all of them. Harriet remains even more of a cypher, especially since we see a lot less of her point of view than of Crowther's.
We know she feels a bit constrained by being stuck in one place, compared to her previous life, and that she's intelligent and brave, if sometimes a bit foolhardy, but not much more. They're both interesting people, and I want to find out more about them. The tone of the story is dark, and some really bad things happen both to people and to animals -I suggest that if you've got an issue with animal experimentation, you skip this.
It's not a grisly book, though, and I liked that quite a few of the secondary characters were really decent people. Even some of the bad ones were drawn with some subtlety. Well, a couple of people were irredeemably bad, but there was one particular person who I couldn't help but feel pity for, in spite of their actions. Anyway, the existence of several decent characters made the feel of the book a bit more hopeful and easier to read. Before I conclude, I should mention this was an audiobook, and the narrator, Joanna Mackie was good.
It looks, however, like the version in audible is narrated by someone else. The one my library has is the one published by Oakhill. Jul 05, Julie rated it really liked it. It moves quick and has great characters. It does have some language. Feb 03, Alesha Hubbell rated it really liked it Shelves: I registered to win mostly on the merit of the cover we all know that's how you are supposed to judge your books, that's what covers are for , but the description on the back didn't really do a ton for me.
Murder mysteries are not really my thing. However; this novel was much more that a murder mystery in the Agatha Christie sense of the word not that I have anything against Agatha Christie. The three plot lines were interwoven very nicely and in such a way that much of the information was revealed in each story at about the same point for the reader. I also didn't feel like I was supposed to be keeping up with all the suspects and weapons and all that Clue type stuff.
It was a good book with a lot of suspense and tension and a lot of twists to it, which kept my reading pace quick and kept the desire to read there as well. The female lead, Harriet, reminded me of a much more modern woman. She was forward and self sufficent; she actually reminded me a bit of Diana Galbaldon's Claire sometimes. I also enjoyed the character of Crowther a lot too. Anatomist and recluse Gabriel Crowther is reluctantly drawn into the lives of local high society when a dead body is found by impulsive, frustrated Harriet Westerman. Her lands share a boundary with the great estate of the county, Thornleigh Hall, home of the crippled Earl of Sussex, his beautiful second wife and his alcoholic younger son.
The Earl's heir disappeared after a family dispute some fifteen years earlier, and has not been seen since. Meanwhile, inLondon, two children lose their father in a violent attack. Their new young guardian, a young writer, attempts to protect them in the confusion of the anti-Catholic Gordon Riots as he dodges his creditors among the alleyways, and learns more of his wards' complicated history -- which may lead back toSussex. When a second body is discovered near Thornleigh Hall, the pressures on Harriet and Gabriel begin to mount and the secrets of the Hall, both ancient and modern, threaten to overwhelm them all.
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