Instruments of Darkness (Crowther and Westerman Series #1)

Instruments of Darkness (Crowther and Westerman Series #1)

3.9 23
by Imogen Robertson
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

The first novel in the Westerman and Crowther historical crime series that The New York Times Book Review called “CSI: Georgian England” and Tess Gerritsen called “chillingly memorable”

Debut novelist Imogen Robertson won the London Telegraph’s First Thousand Words of a Novel competition in 2007 with the

See more details below

Overview

The first novel in the Westerman and Crowther historical crime series that The New York Times Book Review called “CSI: Georgian England” and Tess Gerritsen called “chillingly memorable”

Debut novelist Imogen Robertson won the London Telegraph’s First Thousand Words of a Novel competition in 2007 with the opening of Instruments of Darkness. The finished work is a fast-paced historical mystery starring a pair of amateur eighteenth-century sleuths with razor-sharp minds. When Harriet Westerman, the unconventional mistress of a Sussex manor, finds a dead man on her grounds, she enlists reclusive anatomist Gabriel Crowther to help her find the murderer. Moving from drawing room to dissecting room, from dark London streets to the gentrified countryside, Instruments of Darkness is a gripping tale of the forbidding Thornleigh Hall and an unlikely forensic duo determined to uncover its deadly secrets.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Jason Goodwin
The plot is a little loopy, but the dialogue crackles along, and Robertson's enjoyment of the period and her characters is infectious…Robertson writes very well. There is history here, and repartee, and the shadows of truncated plots left delicately unexplored. And who, as the shadows lengthen on our lawns, could ask for more?
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Set in West Sussex in 1780, Robertson's auspicious debut introduces the unlikely sleuthing team of anatomist Gabriel Crowther and independent-minded Harriet Westerman, mistress of Caveley Park. When Westerman happens on the stabbed body of a man, eventually identified as Carter Brook, on her land on the track to Thornleigh Hall, Crowther agrees to help her catch the murderer. The secretive Crowther, who's maintained a reclusive existence since moving to the area, finds that Brook's death may be connected to the search for a long-lost heir to the Thornleigh estate. Meanwhile in London, someone knifes to death Alexander Adams, who bears the same first name as the lost heir, in Adams's music shop. While the killer's identity will surprise few, the book works splendidly as a period thriller, with complicated leads and informative details that illuminate 18th-century England for modern readers. Dry humor leavens what otherwise would be a grim story line. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
"The book works splendidly as a period thriller, with complicated leads and informative details that illuminate 18th-century England for modern readers." —Publishers Weekly
Library Journal
In 1780, Harriet Westerman, a British navy commander's wife, trades a life at sea for a more conventional home in the English countryside. But when Harriet discovers on her property the body of a stranger with his throat sliced open, she learns that life in her small village in Sussex is far from normal. In London, a seemingly unrelated murder occurs when a music shop owner is stabbed in front of his young children. Harriet enlists the help of Gabriel Crowther, an anatomist far more at home with the dead than the living. As Harriet and Gabriel delve deeper, they uncover a deadly secret that threatens to destroy a prominent local family. VERDICT Robertson's series debut offers an intriguing premise, but the story is marred somewhat by overwrought prose and villains who all tend to verge on caricature. For fans of historical thrillers and libraries with a healthy amount of wiggle room in their budgets.—Makiia Lucier, Moscow, ID
Kirkus Reviews

A series of murders in an 18th-century English village leads to the investigation of a ruined aristocratic family by an unlikely forensic duo, in an enjoyable debut.

Add another name to the ranks of historical criminology: Gabriel Crowther, student of anatomy and "what record a man's life left on his physical remains"; also a man with a dubious past who joins forces with feisty landowner Mrs. Harriet Westerman when a body is found on her property. London-based Robertson brings good humor and freshness to her story of sudden death and family intrigue, threading larger historical dimensions like the Gordon Riots and the American War of Independence into her rural mystery. Widower Alexander Thornleigh, heir to an earldom, who walked away from his heritage to marry the woman he loved, lives in London with his two children. The murder in West Sussex, near Thornleigh Hall, coincides with an attack on Alexander which leaves the children imperiled orphans. As Crowther and Mrs. Westerman investigate the first death, Alex's younger brother Hugh enters the story, a wounded soldier with a corrosive secret and an unpleasant steward. Guilt, cruelty and dark affections are stirred into the pot as Robertson pulls her London and village stories together in a denouement ringing with leopards' roars and purified by fire.

More a whydunit than a whodunit, but spirited, quality entertainment nonetheless.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143120407
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
12/27/2011
Series:
Crowther and Westerman Series, #1
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
166,497
Product dimensions:
5.68(w) x 8.28(h) x 0.86(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"The book works splendidly as a period thriller, with complicated leads and informative details that illuminate 18th-century England for modern readers." —-Publishers Weekly

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >