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Instruments of Darkness: A Novel [Audiobook, CD, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Imogen Robertson , Wanda McCaddon
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
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Book Description

17 Feb 2011
'Poetic, enchanting, and chillingly memorable. Imogen Robertson is an exquisite writer, and this is an extraordinary novel' Tess Gerritsen Thornleigh Hall, seat of the Earl of Sussex, dominates its surroundings. Its heir is missing, and the once vigorous family is reduced to a cripple, his whore and his alcoholic second son, but its power endures. Impulsive Harriet Westerman has felt the Hall's menace long before she happens upon a dead man bearing the Thornleigh arms. The grim discovery cries out for justice, and she persuades reclusive anatomist Gabriel Crowther to her cause, much against his better judgement; he knows a dark path lies before those who stray from society's expectations. That same day, Alexander Adams is killed in a London music shop, leaving his young children orphaned. His death will lead back to Sussex, and an explosive secret that has already destroyed one family and threatens many others.
--This text refers to the Unknown Binding edition.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc; Unabridged edition (17 Feb 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452600465
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452600468
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 16.4 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,433,002 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I grew up in Darlington in the North East of England, studied Russian and German at Cambridge and spent a year in Russia in a city called Voronezh during the early nineties. Lots of vodka. Lots of falling over in the snow.
Before I started writing full-time I used to direct children's television, film and radio, including Numberjacks for Cbeebies. There is less sticky paper and glitter in my life now. Shame. I decided to try and make a career out of writing after I won the Telegraph's 'First thousand words of a novel' competition in 2007 with the opening scene of Instruments of Darkness, my first book. 
As well as writing novels I also write poetry, there's some of mine in the anthology City State: New London Poetry, published by Penned in the Margins. I also play the cello and spend a lot of time staring out of my window in Bermondsey, South London.

Product Description


'[An] extremely impressive debut...told by Robertson with great panache' (The Times)

'Satisfyingly complex... Robertson's greatest achievement is the creation of characters who are vivid and believable and so engaging that one hopes Crowther and Westerman find more murders to solve in the future' (Guardian)

'Poetic, enchanting, and chillingly memorable. Imogen Robertson is an exquisite writer, and this is an extraordinary novel' (Tess Gerritsen)

'A charmingly intriguing murder mystery set in 18th century England...Robertson breathes life into her chosen period as authentically as did Georgette Heyer' (Daily Mail)

'Thundering' (Financial Times)

'A large country estate; an ancient and powerful aristocratic family; a dangerous hidden secret; a mysterious anatomist; a feisty amateur female detective and the brutal murder of a stranger. Really, what more could you want from a novel? Well, how about a link to the American revolutionary war and London in riotous meltdown? It's all here in glorious abundance in this rich and lustrous historical crime novel, Instruments of Darkness, the debut work of the ludicrously talented Imogen Robertson' (Material Witness)

'[An] extraordinary, high quality historical thriller' (Eurocrime)

'An atmospheric and twisting engaging heroine, loony-tune aristos, a cracking plot that fizzes along and a dangerous hidden secret. The follow-up is just as good' (Material Witness ) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

Sold to Pamela Dorman Books/Viking US in a significant six-figure two-book deal

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Instruments of Darkness by Imogen Robertson 20 May 2010
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a very enjoyable first novel by Imogen Robertson. Set in the late 1700's the story centres on some mysterious deaths that involve the estate and heirs to the Earl of Essex.
Investigating the various problems is Gabriel Crowther, a reclusive early pathologist with a hidden past. He is aided and abetted by his feisty neighbour Mrs Harriet Westerman - she finds the first body.
Harriet is married to a captain who is away at sea. She normally is with him but now has to stay on land to look after their children and their estate. She has a background of nursing so is able to assist Crowther without having an episode of `the vapours'. She is also capable and independent.
The story moves around between them, a family devastated by a seemingly inexplicable murder and the son of the Earl of Essex going back in time a few years to his part in the American War of Independence.
To begin with you wish the story would stick to Harriet and Crowther as they form an interesting pair but as the story develops you find yourself just as keen to know what is happening to the others. Robertson is very good at conveying the horror felt by the Hugh Thornleigh facing the `enemy' fire in America. You cannot help but feel how awful it must have been. She is equally good at giving a sense of desperation and fear to the part of the story set in London at the time of the Gordon Riots.
Harriet and Crowther's relationship - an older man and a younger married woman - is also well set out and the strong bond that grows steadily between them is very believable.
I enjoyed this book and will certainly look out for this author in the future
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars CSI High Wickham 21 May 2010
By Amazon Customer TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
This is a detective novel set in a time before the police, with a 'natural scientist' and the lady of a big house collaborating to find out who has been killing people in the neighbourhood. It's a new twist on an old favourite, a bit like Silent Witness meet Jane Austen. It isn't a comedy novel; it seriously is a mid 18th century murder mystery.
The eldest son of Thornleigh Hall, Adam, is murdered in London, where he has spent the past 20 years in self-imposed exile. His children and friends are caught up in the riots against the Catholics and their identity is secret to everyone, including themselves. His younger brother, Hugh, hideously scarred in the war in America, is sliding towards Lordship as their father slides away from life, but people start to die in mysterious circumstances, including his father's nurse, Miss Beck. She has secret letters from Adam, and so the hunt begins to find the children of the eldest son before they, too die. And who is behind this devilish plot? That would be telling.
The real heroes of the book are Mr Crowther, himself possessed of a dark secret and Harriet, the naval wife who forces him to help her to investigate the deaths. Given that there are no forensic possibilities, they use a remarkable set of deductions and assumptions to help them. Skin under fingernails, scar patterns, fibre; they use as much as they could reasonably expect to in the 1700's to good effect.
It's a detective story; well plotted and I'd love to say slightly formulaic, except that the setting adds enough interesting details to make you enjoy it.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Georgian England with a touch of Gothic 31 May 2010
By L. J. Roberts TOP 500 REVIEWER
First Sentence: Gabriel Crowther opened his eyes.

Harriet Westerman, wife of a navy commander, has given up sailing with her husband to raise their family and provide a home for her sister at Caverly Park in West Sussex. When she finds the body of a man whose throat has been slit, she summons help from anatomist Gabriel Crowther. The victim has a ring bearing the crest of neighboring Thornleigh Hall. Was the man Alexander Thornleigh, the missing heir to the Earl of Sussex?

London music shop owner Alexander Adams is murdered. Before dying, he tells his daughter to find a box hidden under the counter. Was Alexander the missing heir and how can his children be removed from the city in spite of a killer and the anti-Catholic Gordon Riots?

Wonderful characters make this book a treat to read. Jane Austin fans will quickly associate Harriet Westerman with Mrs. Croft, the captain's wife from "Pursuasion." She has traveled, seen war, is outspoken and not to be put off. Her younger sister, Rachel Trench, is "Jane Eyre," in her attraction to the war-wounded Hugh Thornleigh, younger brother of the missing Alexander and the Mr. Rochester of our story. Gabriel Crowther is a scientist, and something of a recluse until being pulled into the investigation by Harriet and his own curious mind.

There are a lot of characters, including some real historical figures. It was occasionally is difficult to keep track of who is whom. However, they each played their part and added to the overall Gothic feel of the story.

Ms. Robertson convincingly transported me to Georgian England in sight, sound, dialogue appropriate to the period and historical fact. I had not known of the Gordon Riots until now.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fantastic mystery - lovely use of language
I was very very impressed with my first Imogen Robertson book and can't wait to start the next installment! Read more
Published 21 days ago by Felinefriendly
1.0 out of 5 stars INSTRUMENTS OF DARKNESS.
What started out as a thousand word entry to a writing competition four years ago we now have the published book that is part one in the Crowther and Westerman series. Read more
Published 28 days ago by Tracy Terry
5.0 out of 5 stars NMJ
Having heard of the books, it was great to finally get to read one and now looking forward to reading the next one.
Published 1 month ago by Thoroughly enjoyable!
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite atmospheric but quite hammy in places
As another reviewer has commented, this is the sort of book that normally ticks all my boxes, particularly the historical setting of the anti-Catholic Gordon riots (as someone who... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amelia L. Quirk
4.0 out of 5 stars "This is how she looks at me, now don't you think she is worth it?"
I really didn't think I was going to get along with this book, but it got under my guard as the two unpromising main protagonists revealed themselves as admirable and if a little... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Eileen Shaw
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
Superficially this might look like Patricia Cornwell meets Jane Austen, but this book runs deeper than that. Read more
Published 5 months ago by caldera
5.0 out of 5 stars Instruments of Darkness
i loved it and could not put it down.The charitures are great.I look forward to readng the other three books
Published 7 months ago by judith partridge
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting book!
I liked this book but it wasn't something that really stayed with my afterwards, really well written, with really nice storyline!!
Published 7 months ago by Christina
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely brilliant
I thought this was a superb novel, brilliantly plotted and written with enviable panache, great skill and genuine insight. Read more
Published 13 months ago by A. M. Donald
5.0 out of 5 stars Read again and again....
I now have all of the Crowther / Westerman novels having bought this one first. It made such an impression I couldn't wait for the others to be released. Read more
Published 16 months ago by R L McLean
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