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Black Gold (Anne Cartier Mysteries) Hardcover – Jul 2002

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..".This sequel offers fully realized characters, a complex plot and a surprise ending sure to satisfy...The narrative flows smoothly, and O'Brien has neatly caught the tenor of the time, when being fashionable was of more importance than acting morally. FYI: Mute Witness was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel. --"Publisher's Weekly" "O Brien provides a whole package for mystery lovers: a brave heroine and hero; several mysteries to solve; a socially conscious subplot (involving an African woman whom Sir Harry is training to be a boxer); and an evocation of a place and time that adds depth and precision to the rest of the tale. This is a historical mystery to get lost in, satisfying at every level." --"Booklist" "Fans of Iain Pears rich historical mysteries will want to read Black Gold, a work rich in period detail with characters that are unique to the era. Charles O'Brien is a gifted storyteller who writes about the aristocracy of the late eighteenth century from a commoner's point of view. The novel takes the moral high ground, which helps explain why the protagonists are to appealing." --"Midwest"" Book Review"" --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Charles O'Brien resides in Williamstown, Massachusetts, with his wife, Elvy. He earned a Ph.D. in History from Columbia University and went on to teach history for thirty years before turning to write historical mystery fiction full-time. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Historical mystery 22 July 2002
By Alicia K. Ahlvers - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Colonel Paul de Saint-Martin has been sent to Bath to capture and return Captain Fitzroy to France for punishment for the rape and assault of his distant cousin. Paul also hopes to renew the acquaintance of the charming and clever Anne Cartier, who has been in England for seven months. When he learns that Anne Cartier is teaching in the household where Captain Fitzroy has taken refuge, he is delighted to see her but worried about her safety. Anne has replaced a teacher who died under mysterious circumstances and is struggling to protect her young deaf student from the danger that surrounds him. Trying to discover a blackmailer, murderer and thief take all of Anne and Paul's skill. Colonel Paul de Saint-Martin must also balance his desire for revenge against his need for justice in this complex novel.
When I started this novel I was a bit disconcerted. The description on the back cover stated that this was a mystery but the first few chapters had the feel of a thriller. If you hang in there, the mystery evolves, becoming more and more complex as the novel progresses. Bath in the late 18th century is well researched and there are some interesting social issues that are not often addressed in novels of this time period. The romantic elements felt a bit awkward to me but overall this was an entertaining and engrossing novel. The first title in this series is Mute Witness which received very good reviews.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
a brillant and exciting read 30 Sept. 2002
By tregatt - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I loved "Black Gold." The storyline was an engrossing and interesting one, and the pacing was excellent. And best of all, the novel took place in late 18th century Bath -- one of my favourite cities!
There were many apsects of this novel that I really liked. For example, even though we know from the very beginning who the villain(s) of the piece is, Captain Fritzroy (wanted for the assault and rape of Paul's cousin, Sophie), the authour tells the story in such a way that really keeps you guessing about how things will pan out. And the manner in which the authour paced things was truly brilliant -- the tension just never let up. Events unfolded at a swift and breathneck pace -- from the very moment Anne enters the Rogers's home, and we come to realise (almost at once) that there's something terribly wrong going on at the Rogers's home, through all the twists and turns in the plot, to the very denouncement -- I was so engrossed with what was going on that I stayed up all night to finish the book!
The development of the characters -- from the seemingly bluff and hearty Sir Harry Rogers to his beautiful and cunning wife (who also happens to be full of secrets) to the kindly and much used black servant, Jeff -- was very well done too. And they really came to life (with all their foibles and strengths) before my eyes. And I also rather liked the authour's depiction of 18th century Bath, from its architecture to its many social conventions. These descriptions served as a wonderful backdrop to the unfolding story at hand. And while I did think that Charles O' Brien had done a rather good job of painting both the inequities and the inhumanity of the slave trade, as well as giving us a thumbnail idea of what the people of 18th century England/Bath felt about the slave trade, the efforts of the Quakers to put a stop to this trade (or at best thwart the schemes of the slave owners), as well as going a little into the hopes as desires of the black people concerned (Jeff and his lady friend, Sarah), I did wish that he had gone into this matter a little more. This was a rather painful and important bit of history, not much discussed in English history, and it would have been nice if there had been more exposition. Central to all this, of course, is the developing romance between Paul and Anne. Both characters are evenly matched in courage, intelligence and inner strength and are perfect foils for each other. And you can just tell that theirs will be a relationship that will stand the tests of time and events.
All in all, "Black Gold" is a wonderfully engrossing and exciting read that should not be missed.
Enticing, exhilarating historical thriller 25 July 2012
By carl brookins - Published on
Format: Paperback
Excellent! O'Brien and Poisoned Pen Press have done it again. O'Brien first came to attention with his fine "Mute Witness." Now we have a second historical mystery which continues the saga of French Aristocrat, Colonel Paul de Saint-Martin, and the low-born teacher of the deaf, Anne Cartier
From the first page, one can again sense the meticulous research which provides a solid foundation for the author's flights of fiction. These characters are so carefully and precisely drawn, one is never in doubt as to who is speaking. We never hesitate or raise an eyebrow to wonder at an odd voice or an inconsistency.
The story is set in the Eighteenth Century in Bath, England. At that time, Bath was an important and fashionable resort community. It attracted the rich, the famous, the aristocrat. Likewise, it attracted a variety of middle and low-lifes intent on wresting whatever gain they could from unwary visitor and resident alike.
Into this rich stew of characters comes Anne Cartier, a tutor and teacher of the deaf. About to leave England for Paris, Anne is importuned by her former instructor to delay that journey in order to temporarily provide tutoring for the deaf son of an important businessman and former sea captain in Bath. With reluctance, she agrees to a limited period of duty.
From Paris, Anne's love interest whom we met in the previous novel, Paul de Saint Martin, is sent by his employer to Bath on the trail of a particularly evil and slippery man. De Saint Martin is tasked to arrest the man, an Irish citizen, and bring him out of England to France to face trial for a particularly nasty crime. It's not an easy assignment since England and France are not on the best of terms. The target of his search is known to now be in Bath. It is a great coincidence, of course, but such things happen and in the able hands of this author, the coincidence is easy to ignore.
At this time, slavery was a respectable trade in England and the title of the book refers to a huge slave from the Caribbean, a man named Lord Jeff. He belongs to Sir Harry, a canny but brutal businessman, a former sea captain in the slave trade. A good deal of the novel focuses on the training and rivalry between Sir Harry and others in Bath. Gambling attention on the outcome of an upcoming bare-fisted boxing match between Lord Jeff and an English champion rises to a fever pitch. Meanwhile behind-the-scenes detection and maneuvering continues apace. Highwaymen, robbers, thieves and murderers all have their time at center stage, as do the lovers, Saint Martin and Anne Cartier.
The pace is relentless; the characters are richly and fully drawn. This is a complex, finely detailed, well-written historical novel that takes a fresh look at a fascinating time in world history. Black Gold is an excellent and entertaining novel.
Mystery Mastery 4 Nov. 2008
By L. Peat O'Neil - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Devour mysteries? I do. This and the other books in the series set in Revolutionary France are impeccably researched and keep the suspense high to the final pages. The characters and historical details are superb!
A story of intrigue. 30 Nov. 2014
By Americana - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
This is fun to read and learn possibly how people lived in another period of time.
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