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A Dark Anatomy (Cragg and Fidelis Series) [Paperback]

Robin Blake
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
Price: 7.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

19 Jan 2012 Cragg and Fidelis Series (Book 1)

The year is 1740. George II is on the throne but England’s remoter provinces remain largely a law unto themselves. In Lancashire a grim discovery has been made: a Squire’s wife, Dolores Brockletower, lies in the woods above her home, Garlick Hall, her throat brutally slashed.

Called to the scene, Coroner Titus Cragg finds the Brockletower household awash with rumour and suspicion. He enlists the help of his astute young friend, doctor Luke Fidelis, to throw light on the case.

But this is a world in which forensic science is in its infancy, and policing hardly exists. Embarking on their first gripping investigation, Cragg and Fidelis are faced with the superstition of witnesses, obstruction by local officials, and denunciations from the Squire himself.

‘This is rollicking stuff. Cragg and Fidelis are an engaging duo’ Financial Times

‘Cragg and Fidelis make a fine pair of detectives’ Literary Review

Frequently Bought Together

A Dark Anatomy (Cragg and Fidelis Series) + Dark Waters (Cragg and Fidelis Series) + Plague Child (Tom Neave Trilogy 1)
Price For All Three: 24.73

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Pan (19 Jan 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330518089
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330518086
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 167,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'This is rollocking stuff. Cragge and Fidelis are an engaging duo, and their first investigation is like crossing Robert Louis Stevenson with The Archers' --Financial Times

'For all it's meticulous period detail, A Dark Anatomy is a fast-paced page-turner.' --Lancashire Life --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Robin Blake is the author of acclaimed works on the artists Van Dyke and Stubbs. He has written, produced and presented extensively for radio, is widely published as a critic, and is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Brunel University. He lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars highly satisfying historical crime 18 Mar 2011
Really intriguing and unusual crime novel set in 18th century Preston with a coroner as hero. It's especially good at conjouring up the period and the violent death at the centre of the book is bizarre and macabre. Very well-plotted and I didn't guess the ending. I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys crime and history combined and an intelligent and engaging read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a dark anatomy 9 Mar 2011
an intriguing tale of multiple murders with many twists and turns and a very shocking ending, written in the language of the time. A good read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cleverly crafted and authentic 4 July 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Preston, Lancashire, 1740, and a breathless boy appears with a message for the coroner, Titus Cragg. The body of the local squire's wife has been discovered in the woods with her throat cut. Titus is obliged to hold an inquest. However, this turns out to be merely the first in a series of inter-connected deaths and as he struggles to understand the complicated chain of events that lie behind them, he has to deal with the aristocratic hostility of the squire, the superstitious imaginings of local peasants, and the petty-jealousies of rival officials.

A cleverly crafted mystery with an unexpected plot twist, this is also a well-researched piece of historical fiction. What's most impressive is the sense of authenticity that derives not only from the inclusion of period detail but also from the narrative voice which perfectly evokes the patient, meticulous and slightly fussy character of the embattled coroner as he weighs the conflicting claims of duty and conscience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Dark Anatomy 27 Feb 2012
By Fleur
I thoroughly enjoyed this. Loved Titus Cragg and Luke Fidelis - an excellent double act with both men very appealing in their own way. Story telling at its best, with convincing characters, an involving plot, a grisly murder and all steeping the mid-18th century. Great fun. Robin Blake evokes his period skillfully without drowning the reader in research. One of those books you don't want to end. Hope this is the first of a series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read 12 Sep 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this novel and looking forward to the next in the series. Have to say though that since starting it I have spent a lot of time researching and looking at old photos of the town I live in.
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By L. J. Roberts TOP 1000 REVIEWER
First Sentence: According to the case notes, a checked against my private journal, it was on Tuesday the 18th of March, 1740, that a succession of disturbing events ran their course through the life of our tidy Palatinate town of Preston.

Coroner Titus Cragg is called to view the body of Dolores Brokletower, wife of the local squire. The body is moved to the ice house until an autopsy by Cragg's friend, doctor Luke Fidelis, can be done and then an inquest called. Before that can happen, the body disappears and more deaths occur. Who is trying to prevent the inquest and why?

I really like Blake's voice and that the story is told in first person. While that's not usually my favorite, it really works here as it helps provide a sense of time; a bit before Jane Austen. There is even a nod to "Dear Reader" of Charlotte Bronte. Yes, there is a mild portent, but I was willing to forgive it.

There is delightful, natural humor incorporated in the narrative, which adds to the appeal of the protagonist. "I let her [Cragg's wife] sign of the cross go without comment. She was always more the papist when she had been with her mother." Cragg's discussions with Fidelis on medicine versus religion, and with his wife on witchcraft, religion and spiritualism are very well done. They a provide perspective on attitudes and science during that time and the information is well incorporated into the story through both dialogue and the narrative of Cragg.

Blake has created wonderful characters in Cragg, his wife, Elizabeth, his clerk Furzey and friend Fidelis. These are characters about whom we come to care and want to know more. What's nice is that both they, and the less than appealing characters, are fully dimensional and interesting.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Read for book club
Dark depressing and knew the ending (which I don't normally), if I was reading it for pleasure rather than for book club I would have given up!
Published 15 months ago by Elizabeth Hughes
3.0 out of 5 stars A good premise
I quite liked this book. The setting was unusual and interesting although I have no way of knowing if it was authentic. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Elaine Tomasso
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but Blake needs to work harder
Good start for a series. Well written and for this it gets a 4 start rating. It could have been better if the author had concentrated more on describing the characters in depth and... Read more
Published 21 months ago by lovereading
3.0 out of 5 stars Name of the Rose, Shardlake, Titus Cragg
I picked this up at Helsinki airport simply because the cover looked wonderful.
I found until I got to the unravelling of the mystery the story was a pit plodding. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Henry.
3.0 out of 5 stars A Cool Period Murder Mystery
Preston 1740s: sex, death, power, money, art and medicine, witchcraft and religion... How do you solve a murder in the era before detectives, DNA and finger printing? Well... Read more
Published on 9 Aug 2012 by P. Hardman
1.0 out of 5 stars dark anatomy/pale imitation
A better title for A dark anatomy would be A pale reflection. The writing is facile and thin; just one example, the author feels a need to have his main protagonist explain why he... Read more
Published on 27 July 2011 by foxsford
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