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The James Version

The James Version [Kindle Edition]

Ruth Dugdall
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

‘The airless cottage stifles me, and I cannot breathe. The glass reveals another world, but it entombs me. I am captive, but I have seen the outside. It is November 1826 and I am thirty-one years old… There is a storm brewing.’New Year 1851 Rector James Coyte arrives at his bleak Suffolk destination. Full of apprehension, he expects his first post to be provincial and unchallenging. But Polstead is a village with a secret. A young woman murdered in a frenzied attack, then buried in a shallow grave in The Red Barn. She was just twenty-seven, and only six weeks before birthed an illegitimate baby.Based on true events which shocked the nineteenth century Britain, TheJames Version is set in 1851 when Ann Marten, nearing the end of her life, reveals the story to the novice Rector. Through their meetings, the truth of the murder is gradually uncovered to its shocking climax.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 351 KB
  • Print Length: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Legend Press (14 Aug 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0091HBL7E
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #135,838 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compulsive and atmospheric Victorian mystery 31 May 2008
The James Version is the best yet under rated piece of fiction I have read this year !In 1851 young Rector James Coyte arrives at the off - beaten track dreary Suffolk out post of Polstead. He soon finds suspense and macabre mystery remain following tragic events that occurred twenty years ago prior to his arrival at the village. An amalgamation of his past demons and current desires lead to tragedy in RE Dugdall's exellent novel which is a fictitious account of factual events that occured in the area at the time. The author writes a colourful and compulsive prose. A historic novel of suspense, romance treachery. But also a book not to pass by .A highly recommended read!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ruth Version 17 Nov 2010
Although not normally a reader of historical or crime genres, I bought this at Ruth's signing at Windsor, and started on it immediately, interrupting my reading of Beckett's Trilogy to do so. Once started, I couldn't leave it. It is beautifully worked, the atmosphere, the historical period, the characters, all fictitious (nothing seems known about the real characters, I guess) but entirely believable. I liked the way the modish interest in Phrenology was used, and the ironic use of the later abandonment of the theory by the medical world. And the reliance of the narrator on drugs (laudanum) to the point of dependence is lightly done. Above all, the way every character in the book is drawn into the web of sins, unrelated, but drawing all into associated guilt, that of Original Sin.
The great thing about Ruth Dugdall is that, like Conrad for example, she has lived, then written; she draws on her experience in the Prison Service, which gives her writing the strength of authenticity as well as imagination.
I'm looking forward to reading more of her work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating fiction based on fact 28 Jan 2013
By Rossi
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A fictional story based on a factual event. Set in 1851 twenty four years after the Red Barn Murder, a new young Rector James Coyte takes over in the tiny close knit village of Polstead. Although years have passed, the shadow of the infamous murder still hangs over the community and the victim's dying step mother seems to want to unburden herself to James by reciting her version of events to him. James feels that helping her will help him to bond with his parishioners, who don`t seem keen on welcoming a stranger to the village, but is it such a good idea to rake up the past?

I highly commend Ruth Dugdall on this captivating and fascinating tale. What I like about this author is her originality as her books are completely different from each other but are all particularly well written and deftly dark. Highly recommended and looking forward to some more from Ms Dugdall.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Fictionalisation 8 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed Ruth Dugdall's psychological thriller The Sacrificial Man so I was intrigued by the concept of The James Version, a fictionalised account dealing with the Murder in the Red Barn, an early 19th century murder which captured the imagination of the British public.

In 1827, a young woman, Maria Marten, was shot dead by her lover, William Corder. Maria's family thought she had eloped with Corder but her body was discovered buried in the nearby Red Barn almost a year later when her stepmother, Ann Marten, said she had dreams indicating the location of Maria. To modern eyes, it seems ridiculous that Ann was not considered a suspect at the time but Ruth Dugdall weaves a compelling tale about what might really have happened.

The James Version is set in Polstead 24 years after Maria's murder and it is narrated by James Coyte who arrives at this desolate location to assume his new post as the local Rector. The locals are not particularly friendly but Ann Marten wants James to transcribe her account of the events surrounding Maria's murder. James has good intentions but he just doesn't seem well suited to the life of a Rector and ....let's just say, it doesn't bode well!

The novel has a menacing tone throughout, enhanced by the isolation of the setting and the lack of likeable characters - they all seem to be extremely self-serving, especially the supposedly more religious locals... As Ann's story unfolds, the Rector sinks lower and lower, becoming dependent on alcohol and laudanum.

I thoroughly enjoyed this gripping tale of intrigue and dastardly deeds, brimming with atmosphere and ideal for cold Winter nights.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fiction based on fact 18 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Ruth Dugdall has come up with something special with The James Version; taking a historical murder and bringing it to life with fictional characters.

James Coyte is the new rector in Polstead when he is visited by Ann Marten. More than twenty years previously she tells him she had vivid dreams which led to the discovery of her Step-Daughter's body. James writes down all the information she tells him surrounding the murder which resulted in a local man hanging for the crime. James comes across as a strange young man and Ann Marten's story is intertwined with his own difficulties in settling into his role. An unsettling dark murder that could so easily be the true version of events

If you enjoyed The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: or the Murder at Road Hill House try this one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Something new on the crime front. 9 Nov 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It is good to find a crime novel that is not urban police procedural/forensic pathology-based and which shuns graphic descriptions of brutality, often of torture. In other ways,too, this first novel is strikingly original, most particularly in developing the story through two interweaving narratives and in placing the events in a rural setting in the past. In addition the central character, the new incumbent as rector of a small Suffolk village community, is a convincingly odious character: self-absorbed, snobbish, envious and hypocritical. Ann Marten also begins as an interesting character, slowly exposing the secrets which help to advance the story. All indeed starts most promisingly. However, although in many ways I enjoyed this novel I can't quite go along with the rave reviews it seems to have attracted. It seems to me to weaken over the second half. Ann Marten loses her distinctive, largely self-educated style of utterance and falls into a neutral, rapid relaying of events. Inevitably, perhaps, the ending is all rather predictable and is not helped, I feel, by the broad melodrama - however characteristically Victorian. There are certainly no red herrings in Ms. Dugdall's sea. I would have liked to see her keep the reader guessing more, even throwing in a few false trails and surprises in the manner of Ann Cleeves, for example. Nonetheless, the strong sense of time and place and the willingness to stray from the well-trodden paths of detective fiction encourage looking forward to the author's next offering.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended Read
Well paced and enjoyable. As another reviewer has commented, no real surprises or twists in the conclusion but I do like the unfolding parallels between James'and Anne's stories,... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Perfectionist?
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read
Couldn't put it down! Well worth a read if you enjoy a bit of a mystery. Would make a great BBC drama!
Published 5 months ago by J. Clarke
5.0 out of 5 stars A good story
An evocative tale of betrayal and murder in an isolated village long ago. There are few sympathetic characters but you still want to hear their stories, I really enjoyed the book,... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Alison White
4.0 out of 5 stars Good reading
Not as wonderful as her other novels but worth reading. Well written with credible plot and characters. Good quality writing.
Published 8 months ago by Irene
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful
Poorly written, utterly predictable, full of cliches. Glad it was a 12 Days purchase and not full price. Probably best to avoid, there are much better out there in the genre.
Published 13 months ago by O Frost
4.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected
I knew nothing of this book when I started to read it and found the twists and turns of the characters really interesting. As the book went on it got better and better. Read more
Published 14 months ago by sherry
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
I don't tend to write reviews but this book was so good that I wanted to shout about it! I came across Ruth's novel The woman before me by chance and think she is very underrated... Read more
Published 14 months ago by HMC
3.0 out of 5 stars The James Version
Well written but what a depressing book. So many troubled guilt ridden characters. Only Mary comes across as a normal, pleasant person and maybe that's only because her character... Read more
Published 15 months ago by bobbyb46
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, intruiging with lots of suspense
this is a MUST book to read. Absolutely brilliant and couldnt put it down. Loved every bit of it. If you dont wont to be disappointed, make this your next book. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Diane, Tamworth
3.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant surprise
When I bought this ok I was nature as to whether I would enjoy it. However I can say that I did and that it was a real surprise.
Published 17 months ago by KJ
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