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Instruments of Darknessby Imogen Robertson
Synopses & Reviews
An intricate historical page-turner about a forbidding country estate and the unlikely forensic duo who set out to uncover its deadly secrets.
In the year 1780, Harriet Westerman, the willful mistress of a country manor in Sussex, finds a dead man on her grounds with a ring bearing the crest of Thornleigh Hall in his pocket. Not one to be bound by convention or to shy away from adventure, she recruits a reclusive local anatomist named Gabriel Crowther to help her find the murderer, and historical suspense's newest investigative duo is born.
For years, Mrs. Westerman has sensed the menace of neighboring Thornleigh Hall, seat of the Earl of Sussex. It is the home of a once- great family that has been reduced to an ailing invalid, his whorish wife, and his alcoholic second son, a man haunted by his years spent as a redcoat in the Revolutionary War. The same day, Alexander Adams is slain by an unknown killer in his London music shop, leaving his children orphaned. His death will lead back to Sussex, and to an explosive secret that has already destroyed one family and threatens many others.
Instruments of Darkness combines the brooding atmosphere of Anne Perry with the complex, compelling detail of Tess Gerritsen, moving from drawing room to dissecting room, from coffee house to country inn. Mrs. Westerman and Mr. Crowther are both razor-sharp minds and their personalities breathe spirit into this gripping historical mystery.
"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.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
and#147;The best yet in [Robertsonand#8217;s] late-18th-century historical series.and#8221; and#151;Publishers Weekly (starred review)
In the fourth installment of Imogen Robertsonand#8217;s acclaimed historical suspense series, Mrs. Harriet Westerman and Gabriel Crowther depart England for the Duchy of Maulberg on a desperate mission to save a man accused of murder.
Shrove Tuesday, 1784. As Germanyand#8217;s elite dance at a masked ball, the beautiful Lady Martesen is murdered. Daniel Clode, Mrs. Westermanand#8217;s brother-in-law, is found near the body, his wrists cut, his memories nightmarish. Is Daniel a killer? As he awaits execution, Westerman enlists Crowther, the increasingly reclusive anatomist, to help prove Danieland#8217;s innocence. After another ruthless death, the investigative duo find themselves racing to solve the mystery behind the killingsand#151;but no one will talk, and the clock is ticking for Daniel.
The third novel in the critically acclaimed Crowther and Westerman historical suspense series reveals the dark secrets of Crowther’s past
England, 1783. For years, reclusive anatomist Gabriel Crowther has pursued his forensic studies—and the occasional murder investigation—far from his family estate. But an ancient tomb there will reveal a wealth of secrets. When laborers discover an extra body inside the tomb, the lure of the mystery brings Crowther home at last, accompanied by his partner in crime, the forthright Mrs. Harriet Westerman. What Crowther learns will rewrite his family’s past—and spill new blood in a land torn between old magic and modern justice.
The next installment in a series described as “CSI: Georgian England” (The New York Times Book Review), Island of Bones is a riveting tale that will captivate fans of Jacqueline Winspear and Charles Finch.
About the Author
Imogen Robertson is a former TV, film, and radio director. She won the London Telegraph's First Thousand Words of a Novel competition in 2007 with the opening of Instruments of Darkness, her first novel. She lives in London and has written a second novel featuring Mrs. Westerman and Mr. Crowther, The Anatomy of Murder.
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