A Tincture of Secrets and Lies by William Savage #TuesdayBookBlog #RBRT

Tincture

 

The fourth book of investigations by Dr Adam Bascom begins dramatically when he falls from his horse one dark evening, near to the site of a young woman’s murder.  Finding himself incapacitated, Adam seeks the help of young Charles Scudamore, nephew of the entrancing Lady Alice Fouchard, to follow leads in this investigation as well as suspicions of a plot for rebellion.

 

It is a pleasure to meet again the incorrigible apothecary, Peter Lassimer as well as Adam’s reliable staff, housekeeper Mrs Brigstone, nervous Hannah, the parlour maid and faithful groom, William.  But new characters are also introduced, including the warm hearted young widow, Mrs Munnings and the strange Dr Panacea, who offers a cure-all medicine after a compelling speech to the crowd.

 

As in the previous books we learn much of Norfolk life in the years following the French Revolution, of the widespread hardship of the poor and the anxiety of those in power about the possibility of invasion or disorder.  Adam goes through a period of depression, trapped in his house and convinced that he will soon lose touch with Lady Alice, but he concentrates his mind on solving crimes and his bravery and moral conviction command loyalty from his friends.

 

Another enjoyable return to the past, written in the style of the time, with an intriguing storyline.

 

A Tincture of Secrets and Lies can be purchased at Amazon UK

To read more about William Savage and his books please look here

I reviewed this book as a member of Rosie Amber’s Bookreview Team.

Rosie's Book Review team 1

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The Code for Killing by William Savage #RBRT

Code

 

The Code for Killing opens on a damp miserable day in 18th century Norfolk, where young Dr Adam Bascom is in a foul mood.  Fed up with traipsing through the muddy tracks to visit cantankerous wealthy patients, who are reluctant to pay his bills, he is in need of a change and perhaps some excitement.  But soon his life is taken over by murder investigations and constant travel from his small north Norfolk village to Norwich and also to London.

 

In An Unlamented Death, William Savage’s previous novel about Dr Bascom, Adam discovered a body in a country churchyard, but this time his help is sought by Mr Wicken, an important government official, who sends a King’s Messenger asking him to treat an injured man in Norwich, who has been attacked in suspicious circumstances.  Adam becomes embroiled in investigating the young man’s predicament, partly because he is in a catatonic state but also because he had been employed in secret work for the country.  The murder of a King’s Messenger in the same city adds urgency to his task.  There are further complications when Adam has to testify at the inquest of an unpopular miller who also appears to have been murdered.

 

The investigations do not prevent us from becoming well acquainted with Adam and his friends and family.  Unlike his pleasure seeking friend, the apothecary, Peter Lassimer, Adam is awkward and tactless when engaging with women, even though he appreciates their charms.  His encounters with an actress, a whore and his mother’s educated lady companion are all rich in wit and humour.  Other interesting characters such as the two appropriately named seamen Peg and Dobbin add to the richness of the narrative.

 

All this against the background of Georgian society and historical details of worries about French privateers and food shortages make this novel a fascinating visit into the past, combined with an intriguing mystery solved by an empathetic hero, aided by several lively women.

 

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.

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