An Unlamented Death by William Savage

Unlamented Death

Entering into An Unlamented Death is like stepping into an 18th century drawing room.  The environment is civilised and calm and its hero Adam Bascom uses his intelligence and deductive powers to solve the mystery of, “An Inconvenient Corpse.”  A young, country doctor, Adam is establishing himself as a respectable and trustworthy member of the community in Aylsham, Norfolk.  As he travels the county visiting patients and family, he soon makes some good friends.

But one day, he is shocked to discover the body of a clergyman lying in a churchyard in suspicious circumstances.  Strangely, at the inquest, the authorities seem anxious to stress that it was a case of accidental death.  Adam cannot understand why the victim, Dr. Nathaniel Ross, Archdeacon of Norwich, was so far from home.  Rumours circulate of smugglers in the area and Adam is warned not to pursue his enquiries.

The delight of this book is the characterisation.  Sober Adam is contrasted with his erstwhile friend, apothecary Peter Lassimer, a womaniser and gossip.  When Adam visits his sociable mother, she introduces him to her elegant, blue-stocking companion, Sophia LaSalle.  Meanwhile on his travels, Adam has struck up a friendship with Captain George Mimms, a retired seafarer who keeps his ear to the ground and aids Adam with his investigation.

Though slow in pace, the novel is lightened by the author’s sense of humour.  When Adam is called to his mother’s parlour to meet her female friends he feels like, “one of the early Christian martyrs being summoned to face the lions in the arena.”  The historical details of the story are impeccable and we learn much of the concerns in coastal areas about the French, following the Revolution and leading up to the Napoleonic war.  At times the social history can be too lengthy such as the theatrical interlude in the Feathers Inn Yard, when I was anxious to discover the next event.

It is possible that some readers might find the authentic eighteenth century style of reading difficult to attune too, but I found it a pleasure.  I could imagine myself walking in the country towns of Norfolk alongside the inquisitive doctor.  Adam Bascom is a likeable detective, even if you sometimes feel you want to shake him, and I look forward to reading about his next adventure in The Code for Killing.

Rosie's Book Review team 1

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#FridayFiveChallenge

Welcome to my Friday Five Challenge
(Original idea from Rosie Amber at https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/)

cat coff

To join in with the #FridayFiveChallenge please read the rules at the bottom of the page

Yesterday I received an email of suggested books to purchase on an historical theme.  The picture on the book below appealed to me as well as the familiar name of the Marshalsea prison in Southwark, so familiar to readers of Dicken’s Little Dorrit.

Marshalsea

Book Description

London, 1727. Tom Hawkins refuses to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a country parson. His preference is for wine, women, and cards. But there’s honor there too, and Tom won’t pull family strings to get himself out of debt—not even when faced with London’s notorious debtors’ prison.

 The Marshalsea Gaol is a world of its own, with simple rules: Those with family or friends who can lend them a little money may survive in relative comfort. Those with none will starve in squalor and disease. And those who try to escape will suffer a gruesome fate at the hands of its ruthless governor and his cronies. The trouble is, Tom has never been good at following rules, even simple ones. And the recent grisly murder of a debtor, Captain Roberts, has brought further terror to the gaol. While the captain’s beautiful widow cries for justice, the finger of suspicion points only one way: do the sly, enigmatic figure of Samuel Fleet.  Some call Fleet a devil, a man to avoid at all costs. But Tom Hawkins is sharing his cell. Soon, Tom’s choice is clear: get to the truth of the murder – or be the next to die.

 A twisting mystery, a dazzling evocation of early 18th Century London, THE DEVIL IN THE MARSHALSEA is a thrilling debut novel full of intrigue and suspense.

The 3000 reviews on Goodreads swing from the majority 5 and 4 stars to quite a few 2 and 3 stars.

Some are full of praise:

Wow! That’s the word I will use to describe this book. An unputdownable romp into history and the world of a murderer.  Set in 18th century Georgian London and, more specifically, in a debtor’s prison called the Marshalsea, this book took me completely by surprise. While I have been reading some great historical titles of late, I’m afraid I found myself getting into a kind of reading slump. This book has definitely pulled me out. It has been a while since I’ve read such an atmospheric book

Others are disappointed:

I’d heard good things about this book but was ultimately disappointed. The description of the Marshalsea was interesting and for me this was what kept me going. I didn’t feel any particular connection with the characters and found several of them blurred in my memory leaving me having to check back on who was who. A sure sign that my mind is wandering as I read. To be fair I didn’t solve the key mystery, although I had foreseen certain other twists, but I didn’t find the final conclusion particularly satisfying either.

At £4.99 for the Kindle version this is too expensive but £3.85 for the paperback is a good price.

Shall I BUY or will I PASS? I’m going to PASS.


What have others chosen this week?

Searching for books on Wales, Cathy found estranged friendship

https://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/2015/09/18/fridayfivechallenge-dear-thief-by-samantha-harvey-buyorpass/

Shelley has returned to her roots in Young Adult Urban Fantasy

 http://shelleywilsonauthor.com/2015/09/18/buy-or-pass-urban-fantasy-fridayfivechallenge/

So now it’s your turn.

Get yourself a cuppa and give yourself 5 minutes.

In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions from small postage stamp size book covers (Thumb-nails), a quick glance at the book description and the review. How much time do they really spend making that buying decision?

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

Rosie’s Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

1) Go to any online book supplier,

2) Randomly choose a category,

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,

4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book, and any other details.

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

 Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Today is a little different as I am giving you a verse from a poem.  On my bedside at present is a slim stylish book of poetry by Lynn Gerrard, Darkness and Decadence – the Grumblings of a Gargoyle. The dark side of our lives is reflected in the verses, often with humour and always with exquisite words.  The poems make me think so are ideal to read just before sleep- or are they?!  I give you the first verse of a poem called The Me We Are.

 How can we ever
“Find ourselves”
When every day
We’re someone else?
“What do you mean by that?”
I hear you ask.

To read the answer to that question you will have to buy this intriguing book of poems.

Darkness

Thicker than Water by Georgia Rose

Thicker

Thicker than Water is the final book in The Grayson Trilogy by Georgia Rose.  It draws together the romance and dramatic events of the first two books in a revealing denouement where Emma Grayson discovers the truth about her past, in a terrifying situation.

Although not as long as the preceding books Thicker than Water contains scenes of passion and deep emotion.  We fear for the continued happiness of Emma and her husband Trent as they deliberately put themselves into great danger.  Will the teamwork and training of others on the Estate be sufficient to save them?

All three books of this series have a different structure and focus, making it impossible to categorise them as purely romance or action-thriller.  We come to understand Emma deeply and share her feelings and emotions as she opens up to others and allows herself to love again.  I was slightly disappointed that this book ended fairly quickly and then I found the rewarding extra which was added at the end. NB Please don’t look at this first!

Georgia’s writing is a breath of fresh air.  She has grown with each new novel and she is not afraid to experiment with her approach.  In Thicker than Water the writing is frank and explicit, so that as a reader you become completely involved in each crucial event.  Although A Single Step and Before the Dawn can be read in isolation, this final novel needs your commitment as a reader to the back story and that commitment is well rewarded.

new Singlenew Before

My reviews of A Single Step and Before the Dawn

#FridayFiveChallenge

Welcome to my Friday Five Challenge
(Original idea from Rosie Amber at https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/)

cat coff

To join in read the rules at the bottom.

Having enjoyed The Viper and the Urchin so much, I decided to look at some more titles listed as steampunk by Amazon.

At first none attracted me as they seemed to be more Urban Fantasy.  I was intrigued by these two books,

Steampunk Lego

Steampunk Lego

Steampunk Coloring Book

Steampunk Coloring Book

but I finally selected a book which caught my eye mainly for its title.

Hatshupset

The female Pharaoh, Hatshepsut, who began her 22 year reign in 1478 BC, has always intrigued me so I looked at the

Book Description

Viscount Nathaniel Lyons is a man of numerous secrets, but there is one in particular that threatens his fledgling relationship with Cara. Stunned by Nate’s revelation, and before she can absorb the ramifications of his actions, he is arrested, charged with treason and imprisoned in the grim Tower of London. He stole something the mad queen wants, and only has days to deliver, before his date with the executioner.

Although sorely tempted, Cara can’t let him die on Tower Green, not when their connection means she would share his fate.

Only together can Cara and Nate figure out how to wrestle Hatshepsut’s Collar from around the queen’s neck, before she plunges Britain into a world war. The search for answers sends Cara to the opulent Winter Palace of St Petersburg and the frozen depths of Siberia, with every step shadowed by an enemy with his own dark plans.

So the tale is set in an alternative London and Russia.  The picture is rather confusing.  Writing about the author A W Exley the publisher says, “Anita writes fantasy historical novels with a steampunk twist.”

There are only six 4 and 5 star reviews which reveal that the heroine finds herself hatching Dragons on a pirate airship and that it is the second book of a series.

The plot sounds varied and eventful but Shall I BUY or will I PASS? I’m going to PASS.

What have others chosen this week?

Shelley is seeking happiness  http://shelleywilsonauthor.com/2015/09/11/buy-or-pass-looking-for-happy-books-fridayfivechallenge/

Cathy has chosen sex and comedy 

https://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/2015/09/11/friday-five-challenge-10/

Alison has found a birthday that is not as she expected

https://alisonwilliamswriting.wordpress.com/2015/09/11/fridayfivechallenge-rosieamber1-sadlers-birthday-by-rose-tremain/comment-page-1/#comment-1459

So now it’s your turn.

Get yourself a cuppa and give yourself 5 minutes.

In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions from small postage stamp size book covers (Thumb-nails), a quick glance at the book description and the review. How much time do they really spend making that buying decision?

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

Rosie’s Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

1) Go to any online book supplier,

2) Randomly choose a category,

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,

4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book, and any other details.

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?

The Viper and the Urchin by Celine Jeanjean

Celine

The Viper and the Urchin is a rollicking good tale which grabs you by the collar and sweeps you through the grimy streets of Damsport with humour and nail-biting danger.  Its heroine, Rory, is a small scrawny urchin, scraping a living by theft and deception, who makes an unlikely alliance with the elegant Viper, an assassin who uses only poison on his victims and takes pride in his art.

When Longinus, the Viper, questions Rory’s behaviour, “You are coarse, you swear, and worse, you are grammatically incorrect,” she responds correctly, “Well I’m supposed to be, aint I?  You’re the laconic assassin.  I’m the cheeky urchin.  That’s how it works.”

There are several other vibrant characters too, such as Cruikshank, the engineer who has designed a large mechanical spider to transport them up walls & over roofs, the Old Girl or Marchioness of Damsport who rules the state and the Scarred Woman, a mysterious swordswoman whom Rory wishes to emulate.

The city environment is vividly described, dirty and crowded with Banyan trees sprouting out of cracks in the radiating streets.  I could visualise the Varanguards, costumed in the style of Varan, a dancer who hid knives in her hair, wearing horsehair ponytails as part of their helmets.  And I would love to board Crazy Willy, the wild beast of a steam coach which races through the streets each night.

This exciting story contains all the essential ingredients of a fantastic steam-punk adventure, including a tough but vulnerable heroine, an intriguing companion, an evil foe and even a vague suggestion of a romantic interest.  It is the first book of The Bloodless Assassin Mysteries and I am very much looking forward to the publication of the next one.

Rosie's Book Review team 1

#FridayFiveChallenge

Welcome to my Friday Five Challenge
(Original idea from Rosie Amber at https://rosieamber.wordpress.com/)

cat coff

To join in read the rules at the bottom.

This week Amazon emailed me a selection of Biographies.  Three of them had the same title Long Time No See

longtime       long2

The book by Beth Finke is an account of her life with diabetes, blindness and a disabled son.

Carrie Triffet’s true-life journey takes her from reluctant orthodox Jewish beginnings into a devout twenty-year practice of Nichiren Buddhism.

2time

The third book Long Time No See by Hannah Lowe seemed familiar and I realised I looked at the cover two weeks ago.

Book Description

Hannah Lowe’s father “Chick”, a half-Chinese, half-black Jamaican immigrant, worked long hours at night to support his family – except Chick was no ordinary working man. A legendary gambler, he would vanish into the shadows of East London to win at cards or dice, returning in daylight to greet the daughter whose love and respect he courted. In this poignant memoir, Lowe calls forth the unstable world of card sharps, confidence men and small-time criminals that eventually took its toll on Chick. She also evokes her father’s Jamaica, where he learned his formidable skills, and her own coming of age in a changing Britain.

This reminded me of Andrea Levy’s Small Island which I loved so I looked at the reviews.  There are 6 five star and 1 four star.  At a time when we are so aware of migrants it is interesting to read that Hannah Lowe’s rich tale of dislocation and location provides a fascinating picture of the migrant himself and the generations who follow.  Another review says that it is, 

A beautifully written, honest and thought provoking story. A real gem of a book – It managed to make me laugh out loud at some parts and to cry at others.

Shall I BUY or will I PASS? I’m going to BUY.

What have others chosen this week?

Shelley is off through Europe in a campervan http://shelleywilsonauthor.com/2015/09/04/buy-or-pass-campervan-of-doom-fridayfivechallenge/

Cathy wants us to clear our clutter https://betweenthelinesbookblog.wordpress.com/2015/09/04/friday-five-challenge-9/

So now it’s your turn.

Get yourself a cuppa and give yourself 5 minutes.

In today’s online shopping age, readers often base their buying decisions from small postage stamp size book covers (Thumb-nails), a quick glance at the book description and the review. How much time do they really spend making that buying decision?

AUTHORS – You often only have seconds to get a reader to buy your book, is your book cover and book bio up to it?

Rosie’s Friday Five Challenge is this….. IN ONLY FIVE MINUTES….

1) Go to any online book supplier,

2) Randomly choose a category,

3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which has instantly appealed to your eye,

4) Read the book Bio/ Description for this book, and any other details.

5) If there are reviews, check out a couple,

6) Make an instant decision, would you BUY or PASS?