Circle of Shadows (Crowther and Westerman Series #4)

( 4 )

Overview

A grisly murder among the German aristocracy propels this tale of eighteenth century forensics and historical crime solving

The forthright Mrs. Harriet Westerman and her reclusive companion, anatomist Gabriel Crowther, tackle their first case outside of England in the fourth installment of Imogen Robertson’s heralded historical suspense series.

As Germany’s elite are celebrating Shrove Tuesday of 1784 with a masked ball, the beautiful Lady ...

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Circle of Shadows (Crowther and Westerman Series #4)

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Overview

A grisly murder among the German aristocracy propels this tale of eighteenth century forensics and historical crime solving

The forthright Mrs. Harriet Westerman and her reclusive companion, anatomist Gabriel Crowther, tackle their first case outside of England in the fourth installment of Imogen Robertson’s heralded historical suspense series.

As Germany’s elite are celebrating Shrove Tuesday of 1784 with a masked ball, the beautiful Lady Martesen is murdered. Daniel Clode, brother-in-law to Mrs. Westerman, is found near the body. All evidence points to him as the killer. As Daniel awaits execution, Westerman and Crowther arrive and quickly encounter a court full of opulence, intrigue, and deadly secrets—but no one who will talk.

With Anne Perry’s eye for period detail and Tess Gerritsen’s forensics knowledge, Robertson is emerging as a major author of highbrow suspense.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
British author Robertson’s fourth mystery (after 2012’s Island of Bones), the best yet in her late-18th-century historical series, takes widow Harriet Westerman and her investigative partner, anatomist Gabriel Crowther, to Germany’s Duchy of Maulberg, where her brother-in-law, Daniel Clode, has been charged with murder. Clode, disoriented and bleeding from an apparent suicide attempt, was found behind a locked door near the smothered corpse of Maria Martesen, Countess of Fraken-Lichtenberg. Westerman and Crowther, having doubts about Clode’s guilt, soon find evidence suggesting someone else was the killer. The case is especially sensitive, since Maulberg is in debt to England, and Clode’s conviction and execution if they can’t clear him could plunge the duchy into financial ruin. Roberston adds in the intrigues of a secret society, the Minervals, whose scheming may have played a part in the death of the countess, among others. The puzzle is intricate enough to satisfy fair-play fans, but it’s the perfect prose that puts this in the first rank of the subgenre. Agent: Annette Green, Annette Green Agency (U.K.). (June)
Library Journal
Just when life in 1784 Sussex is settling down for Harriet Westerman, she learns that brother-in-law Daniel Clode (honeymooning in the Duchy of Maulberg with Rachel) has been accused of murdering the host country's own Lady Martesen. For political reasons, he is not executed immediately, giving Harriet and her close colleague, anatomist Gabriel Crowther, time to investigate. They step into a scenario in which odd bits of culture matter; opera, potions, and automata all play parts. Soon they realize that a string of seemingly unrelated deaths are really homicides, and the body count is mounting. The race is on to find the killer before the Duke of Maulberg's upcoming and long-anticipated wedding. VERDICT Dramatic intrigue and painstaking detail combine smoothly in this robust historical thriller. While this is the fourth series entry (after the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Award nominee Island of Bones), Robertson does a particularly good job of filling in the backstory for new readers. Sure to be a treat for Anne Perry fans; try also with forensic investigation readers who like an ensemble cast.
Kirkus Reviews
An English widow and an anatomist visit 18th-century Germany to rescue a relative accused of murder. Now that they've solved several complicated mysteries on their home turf (Island of Bones, 2012, etc.), Harriet Westerman and her friend Gabriel Crowther must deal with a bizarre murder in the Duchy of Maulberg. Harriet's brother-in-law Daniel Clode is accused of killing Lady Martesen when he is found raving near her body, his wrists slit. Clode is so well-connected back in England that the duke, whose nuptials are near, orders District Officer Krall to cooperate with Harriet and Crowther. A little research reveals that the carnival mask Clode was wearing was treated with a hallucinatory drug. Harriet is shocked when she realizes that the castrato opera singer and spy Manzerotti, whom she blames for her husband's death, is at the court. Manzerotti offers her the chance to kill him in revenge, but instead, they come to an uneasy truce and agree to work together. Manzerotti has asked the bright young spy Pegel to discover more about a clandestine revolutionary organization seeking to overthrow the aristocratic rulers. When highly placed members of the organization begin to die in strange ways, always with slit wrists, the sleuths are plunged into a strange world of automata, necromancy, poison and deceit. Though some readers may find this adventure too long and convoluted, the combination of unusual historical nuggets, a taxing mystery and good writing will please many more.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670026289
  • Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
  • Publication date: 6/13/2013
  • Series: Crowther and Westerman Series , #4
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 966,168
  • Product dimensions: 6.46 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 1.23 (d)

Meet the Author

Imogen Robertson worked as a television, film, and radio director before becoming a full-time writer. Her previous novels in the Westerman/Crowther series include Instruments of Darkness, Anatomy of Murder, and Island of Bones. She lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 18, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This is the fourth in a series of historical suspense novels by

    This is the fourth in a series of historical suspense novels by this author and it’s quite unusual. It involves two sleuths who are British and here attempt to solve their first criminal mystery outside of England, in Germany in 1782. Harriet Westerman is an intelligent, fearless gal whose past history with murder has left some pain and a bit of shadow about her public image. Gabriel Crowther is a bit of a recluse who speaks his mind at all times, no matter how offensively it is taken, but he is also bright and an anatomist, fascinated with the scientific properties of the body for criminal analysis and healing as well. Now they learn that a good friend, Daniel Clode, is accused of murdering Lady Martesen. They immediately leave for the Duchy of Maulberg in German!
    First, they discovered that Daniel Clode has been acting like someone who is insane and then they are shocked to find that Lady Martesen was probably killed not by smothering, as originally thought, but by drowning. But how can someone be drowned and have no sign of water anywhere on the clothing or body? Westerman and Crowther are surprised by the fairness of the investigation in Maulberg, a place that is rather an enigma since it is ruled by an absolute dictator who allows them room for investigation perhaps with a slightly hidden financial motive.
    Meanwhile other characters such as the brilliant mathematician Pegel appear on the scene and discover the presence of a secret group that is equated with the Free Masons but is not anything like them in reality. in fact, the plot that begins to unfold turns out to be one that could change the face of European governments, one country at a time and not in a healthy productive way!
    As the murder took place during the annual Shrove Tuesday celebrations, Daniel Clode was like all other celebrants wearing a mask, one that is part of the plot to undo him as he will be executed if found guilty. But there’s much more to this mystery and the above summary is only a tad of all the clues that are gradually revealed with just the right amount of tension and intrigue, including a notable amount of period description and detail that is very interesting as well as the investigation.
    Imogen Robertson is a talented writer who has penned a mystery others have compared to Anne Perry for detail and Tess Gerritesen for forensic evidence. This reviewer couldn’t agree more! Mystery fans and historical fiction fans will love this novel for sure! Very well done and highly recommended!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2013

    I loved this book! My only disappointment is that it may be a b

    I loved this book! My only disappointment is that it may be a bit of a wait until the next one comes out.

    I love the plot, the writing, and the characters. Imogen Robertson is a truly gifted author, in my opinion, and now tops the list of my favorites.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 25, 2014

    Well-written, tightly plotted, with believable characters in bel

    Well-written, tightly plotted, with believable characters in believable relationships. Also full of interesting facts and ideas about early crime forensics and study of anatomy. Couched in authentic settings, this is a crime-duo series for readers who like to be intellectually as well as emotionally engaged in a murder mystery.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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