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The Scent of Death
 
 

The Scent of Death [Kindle Edition]

Andrew Taylor
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

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Review

‘An absolutely gripping, absorbing historical crime thriller … If you like CJ Sansom, or Hilary Mantel or Philippa Gregory, I think you’d absolutely love Andrew Taylor’s The Scent of Death’ PETER JAMES

‘If you’re wondering “what should I read next?” try it – because it opens up a whole new world for you’ LEE CHILD

‘The key to what makes this book work is that Taylor contrives a brilliant mystery plot, and yet the historical detail is just so compelling … The language is interesting, the historical detail is fascinating and the central mystery is absolutely gripping … The Scent of Death is a perfect read for anyone who likes a mystery that’s as finely crafted as a Swiss watch – Andrew Taylor is at the top of his game’ MARK BILLINGHAM

‘Andrew Taylor has built this beautiful and exquisite stage set, so everything we need to know about Manhattan in the 1770s is right there … What makes a crime novel work – you’ve got to have a cracking good story, you’ve got to want to know what happened. And here, you’ve got all of it’ KATE MOSSE

‘Andrew Taylor is arguably the most consummate writer of historical fiction today. He achieves to perfection the crucial balance between the mystery to be solved and the historical context surrounding it. A mesmeric read’ The Times

‘An absorbing and harrowing epic historical detective novel … Taylor is as good at this period as C. J. Sansom is at Tudor England, and like him pulls off novels that work both as literary fiction and detective stories’ Independent

‘Andrew Taylor has been producing superb historical fiction since long before Hilary Mantel’s Man Booker wins bestowed literary respectability on the genre’ Daily Telegraph

‘Taylor once again shows how skilful a historical novelist he is’ The Sunday Times

Product Description

*WINNER of the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award 2013*
‘Andrew Taylor wrote superb historical fiction long before Hilary Mantel was popular’ Daily Telegraph
From the No.1 bestselling author of THE AMERICAN BOY comes a new historical thriller set during the American War of Independence.

August, 1778. British-controlled Manhattan is a melting pot of soldiers, traitors and refugees, surrounded by rebel forces as the American War of Independence rages on.

Into this simmering tension sails Edward Savill, a London clerk tasked with assessing the claims of loyalists who have lost out during the war.

Savill lodges with the ageing Judge Wintour, his ailing wife, and their enigmatic daughter-in-law Arabella. However, as Savill soon learns, what the Wintours have lost in wealth, they have gained in secrets.

The murder of a gentleman in the slums pulls Savill into the city’s underbelly. But when life is so cheap, why does one death matter? Because making a nation is a lucrative business, and some people cannot afford to miss out, whatever the price…


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More About the Author

Andrew Taylor is a British crime and historical novelist, winner of the Cartier Diamond Dagger (for lifelong excellence in the genre) and many other awards. His books include the international bestseller, The American Boy (a Richard and Judy selection); the Roth Trilogy (filmed for TV as Fallen Angel); The Anatomy of Ghosts, shortlisted for the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year; and The Scent of Death, winner of the CWA Historical Dagger.

He is the author of two Kindle Singles, both ghost stories - Broken Voices; and, most recently, The Leper House.

He lives on the borders of England and Wales. He is the Spectator's crime fiction reviewer.

For more information about Andrew Taylor and his books, see: www.andrew-taylor.co.uk

Follow on twitter: @andrewjrtaylor

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
By Manda Scott VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
This has been my Easter reading: a chance to plunge once more into a time and place I know nothing about, in the company of one of the absolute masters of our genre - in fact, one of the masters of fiction, who takes the genre boundaries and bends them to breaking with a style and quiet intelligence that leave me always, wondering why I bother when there's this kind of greatness out there for people to buy.

The American Boy was his breakout and anyone who hasn't read his tale of the young Edgar Allen Poe's boyhood in England should put it top of their reading list. I was struck then by a sense of time and place that took me deeper, more powerfully into an era than anything else I'd ever read. There's a quality to the dialogue that feels so rawly authentic; the language, the pace, the careful courtesies that hide murder and mayhem.. nobody manages this era with this kind of skill.

The Scent of Death has that same powerful evocation. It's set in 1778 in New York, an enclave of the English Crown at the height of the Revolution; a place almost under siege, that depends on ships from England for provisions, while wrestling with the growing distinction between Americans and English. Into this comes Edward Savill, a Clerk from the American Office who nurtures hopes of preferment if he does his job well and whose slow realisation that he has, instead, been sidelined by his wife's cousin, a man who `does not like her more than half' (which is to say, he despises her) , who is his boss.
Because this is a historical thriller, Samuel is present when a body is fished out of the water as his boat comes in and another is found soon after his arrival.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Scent of Death 31 Dec 2012
By S Riaz HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This novel begins in 1778, during the American War of Independence, when Edward Savill is sent from London to a besieged New York in order to investigate the claims of dispossessed loyalists. Savill's passage has been arranged by his patron, and the uncle of his wife, Mr Rampton. Befriended on the voyage by the kindly Mr Noak and lodged with friends his patron, Judge Wintour and his family, the commission seems a positive step in Savill's career. Although he misses his young daughter, he is determined to make the best of things. However, from the first, things do not seem as straitforward as they first seem. Even before the ship has made port a body is fished from the river and, by the end of the first day, another body is found - that of Mr Pickett, who visited the Wintours.

This is a slow moving, atmospheric story, with the author painting a realistic picture of a provincial New York, swarming with refugees and under attack. Edward Savill is a well meaning, gentle man, who tries to do his best to make sense of events as they threaten to overwhelm him. Who killed Mr Pickett, why does the Wintour's beautiful daughter in law not want to return to her family home and who is the child that Savill hears crying at night? What is his role in this city and who should he trust? One of the strongest parts of the narrative is when Savill ventures beyond the city of New York, into a country lawless and at war. I have never read anything by Andrew Taylor before, but I was very impressed with this novel and will certainly read more of his work. This book has a great deal of depth and would be ideal for a book club read, with much to discuss.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Paper thin plotting... 31 Dec 2012
By FictionFan TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book proves that good writing, excellent description and an interesting historical setting only works when there's a decent plot told with a sense of momentum. The plot in this book is so paper thin that I had sussed out the main points by page 200, but had to follow our rather dull hero through another 300 or so before he finally caught on.

The book covers a period of a couple of years, during most of which nothing at all happens. Odd little flurries of action interrupt vast yawning gulfs of description, often given in incredible detail. The main protagonist, Edward Savill, is a strangely passionless creature while the heroine, Mrs Arabella Wintour, is cold and pretty unlikeable.

Having said that, the author does manage to paint a believable picture of New York at the end of the American War of Independence and some of the peripheral characters were well drawn and sympathetic. Taylor is particularly strong on conveying the privations suffered by the inhabitants of New York as a result of both the war and the extreme weather conditions. But I'm afraid, for me, none of that made up for the lack of drive in the story and the fact that I didn't feel emotionally involved with the main characters. A disappointingly average read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very compelling book xx 8 Mar 2013
By Megan ReadingInTheSunshine TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
The Scent Of Death is set in New York during the American War Of Independence, where Edward Savill, an English clerk, is sent to New York to investigate claims by Loyalists that they have lost property. Soon Edward Savill is thrown into a murder enquiry after a body is discovered, and more secrets and danger await him...

I have never read a book by Andrew Taylor before this, so I wasn't sure what to expect. However, I really quite enjoyed this book! Having never read anything about The American War Of Independence, I must admit I did find it a little bit hard to get into the story at first, but within a few chapters I had settled into the narrative.

The descriptions in the book were very well-written. As soon as Savill arrived in America I could sense the atmosphere, and everything was so vivid that I could picture every single clearly in my mind. It was as if I'd been transported back in time, wow. Andrew Taylor has clearly done his research and it shows, for me the descriptions and setting were my favourite part of the story.

There is a lot to devour and uncover in this book. The Scent Of Death is brilliant for fans of historical novels or anyone with interest in the American War Of Independence. Not only that, but there is mystery, adventure, murder and suspense, making this an intriguing and compelling read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Taylor made
Another gripping tale from Taylor.
He really does capture the feel, mood and smell of the period he writes in. Read more
Published 1 month ago by The Wolf
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Taylor's best
The Scent of Death is extremely well written but unusually for Taylor it is extremely hard going as is the subject of a new New York caught up in the Civil War.
Published 2 months ago by Emmabemma
4.0 out of 5 stars cracking good read.
Well constructed and with a terrific atmosphere, the novel has pace, well-drawn characters. Strong sense of place makes it easy to visualize early New York and comprehend the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Judith Lacey
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably my favourite
This was brilliant. I loved this book. I wasn't sure because I have never really had an interest in this period of history but this is a fantastic and often shocking read.
Published 3 months ago by Mrs. V. A. Jordan
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
It started out slowly but drew you in. Mr Savile finds he has been a pawn as he investigates a death and is embroiled in the affairs of the Wintours. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Vivienne Garrett
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning and evocative
Edward Savill has married a woman for her family connections and, whilst he loves their daughter, the marriage is stale. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Plucked Highbrow
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
An enthralling tale of divided loyalties, illicit passion, and the untangling of a gruesome murder during the American War of Independence, when New York was an occupied city under... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Jenny Barden
5.0 out of 5 stars A wondefullly engrossing book.
The historical details were very impressive. The main characteris totally believable and immediately gained my sympathy. I was utterly involved in all his dangerous enterprises.. Read more
Published 6 months ago by J.S Millward
5.0 out of 5 stars Intersting twists and turns
i enjoyed the insight into American history and the views apparently held by both sides in the War of Independence. A must for lovers of American history particularly old New York.
Published 8 months ago by Celia A. Keech
5.0 out of 5 stars good read
Andrew Taylor for me never disappoints. Really enjoyed this novel set in New York during the war of Independence. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Alexander P
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