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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 18th Century Murder and Mystery - Very Interesting and Enjoyable Read!, 11 April 2011
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This review is from: Broken Token, The (Paperback)
The Broken Token is a wonderfully written 18th century murder mystery set in the murky, poverty-stricken back streets and alleyways of Leeds in 1731. After an introduction to the sturdy Constable of Leeds, Richard Nottingham, the story kicks straight off with a gruesome double murder. The manner in which the corpses are left displayed challenges the detective skills of Nottingham and his loyal, hard-working deputy, John Sedgwick. One of the victims also happens to be someone known dearly to Nottingham, and this provides a step into his personal life and conflicts, as he tries to solve the murders and maintain his honourable reputation.

The narration flows easily from the page and is pitched at just the right level to provide an accurate feel for the era of this historical setting. The scenes are described so vividly, with smells and sounds from the bustling streets and cloth markets of Leeds, that it's hard to believe the author, Chris Nickson, wasn't alive in that century to recall it all from memory.

As Nottingham's investigation gently unfolds, a mixture of intriguing characters come alive with the colourful dialogue, and Nottingham and Sedgwick soon find themselves dealing with an elusive serial killer, as well as trying to cope with their own personal struggles.

The Broken Token provides an interesting insight into the 18th century world on the streets of Leeds and is a different take on the classic detective theme. A very enjoyable read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and interesting, 7 Mar 2011
By 
T. Newton (Leeds) - See all my reviews
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Hope there's more where this came from. Didn't take long to blast through this one - nothing else on the kindle managed a look-in whilst this was on the go, not even the newspaper. Especially interesting for a Leeds man - you will learn of the history of the city streets!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read., 3 Mar 2011
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This review is from: Broken Token, The (Paperback)
The Broken Token is a crime mystery set in Leeds in the 18th century. This isn't a genre I normally read but Chris Nickson has the ability to tell a really good story and I was hooked from the start.
The story revolves around Richard Nottingham, the constable of Leeds, who is called on to investigate the murder of a prostitute. He finds himself in the position of having his work life mix with his personal life when he realises that the prostitute is his former maid and that she was killed while wearing something that he had given her as a gift. The story follows his investigation into her murder and we are introduced to a variety of interesting characters. The reader is really given a feel of how life was in those times and as someone who knows Leeds fairly well, it was fascinating to have an insight into a familiar place in an unfamiliar time. Chris Nickson builds suspense with plenty of twists and he makes us care about his lead characters. I hope we get to read more about Richard Nottingham who seems to have had quite a colourful past himself. This would make a great tv series too.
This is a great read that I would recommend to anybody.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cinematic, intricate and cataclysmic, 26 Jan 2011
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The Broken Token is an almost cinematic immersion in the day to day life of the 18th century. The plot is threaded with intricacies which are woven together right at the very end in a cataclysmic twist that left me delighted and devastated.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Has series written all over it!, 20 Jan 2011
This review is from: Broken Token, The (Paperback)
Oh the joy of being able to slip into a new book and find yourself immersed in a different century! The Broken Token has series written all over it. I was hooked within minutes.

Richard Nottingham is the Constable of Leeds in 1731. Constables in those days were paid a pittance, just enough to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. Nottingham is quite proud that he lives in a proper house rather than one room. He's come a long way from the dark days of his childhood when thieving was the only way to stay alive. He knows exactly how hard life is on the streets which makes him rather more aware of the people that he has to deal with every day.

But when he discovers his former maid, Pamela who had left his house a married woman, dressed like a prostitute and murdered on those streets he becomes determined to find her killer.

'A scrap of blue ribbon hangs around her neck, as if someone had torn something off it.'

A broken token used to hang around Pamela's neck, it was a gift to her from Nottingham, and it had originally belonged to his mother. Family secrets lie at the heart of the broken token, in his search for Pamela's killer Nottingham discovers the true origins of the token.

It's the detail that makes this book such a fascinating read. The sense of time and place is quickly established in the description of Nottingham's life and his environment in the opening chapter. He refuses to wear a periwig, his home is lit by candle light, he thinks about the 'slippery cutpurse' that is busy robbing and outmanoeuvring his colleagues as he walks home. When he gets there he's greeted by Mary in a 'homespun' dress. You get a sense of a man who loves his family, believes in hard work and in taking responsibility.

Catching Pamela's killer isn't the only thing on Nottingham's mind, as his eldest daughter Emily starts to assert her independence. Emily reads books and they have opened her mind to other possibilities. During a frustrating conversation with her dad Emily declares she wishes she'd been born a boy! Nottingham has his hands full trying to persuade Emily to stay at home rather than wander about the streets with a killer on the loose.

This book is full of wonderful characters that the reader grows to care about as we're invited to intimately observe Nottingham's family life. A life that is threatened by his search for Pamela's murderer as he goes up against the highest authorities in the city and Worthy, the king of the low life, in order to find the truth. Thrilling twists make this a great page turner, leaving you bereft at the end and eager to read more about Nottingham's life in 18th century Leeds.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 24 Jun 2010
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This book is very atmospheric and the author takes you with him as you walk these streets...seeing what he sees and hears and smells even.... it all makes it very realistic. The tension builds within the story and it carries you along as the pressure to solve bears down on the main character. There are some nice insights as to what life must have been like. Very readable and enjoyable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pickpockets, pimps and prostitutes, what more could you want?, 22 Jun 2010
By 
Ms. T. E. Lomas (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Broken Token, The (Paperback)
The Broken Token is a thoroughly enjoyable read, I have been recommending it to all my friends and family as I am recommending it to you now. The plot is great, filled with twists and turns, and the characters are very believable although some you may not like very much! As someone who's lived in Leeds for 10 years it's great to imagine the city as it was, through the author's fantastic descriptions based on true historical and geographical information. I can't wait for Chris Nickson's next offering to find out about how Richard Nottingham deals with what the streets of Leeds throw at him this time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good, well-written book, 13 Sep 2012
This review is from: Broken Token, The (Paperback)
The Broken Token is the first book of Chris Nickson's I've read. It's a murder mystery story set in 18th Century Leeds. The other reviews of this book will tell you all about the plot and the central character, but what I wanted to comment on was the style of the writing. Chris Nickson has managed to create not just believable characters but also a believable setting. After reading this book I felt not only had I read a well-written, good story, but I'd gained some knowledge about 18th Century Leeds. All I can think of is how much research the author must have done. So well done to Mr Nickson and I will definitely be reading more from this author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping historical crime fiction, 28 Jan 2012
The synopsis for The Broken Token grabbed me right away. Crime fiction, you say? Historical crime fiction? Set in a lovingly-researched 18th century Leeds, the city I work in (and that one half of my family originally hails from)? Yes please! The Broken Token follows Richard Nottingham, constable of Leeds, as he tries to solve a series of murders that have hit him a little too close to home. As a crime novel, it is incredibly successful - it kept me guessing right up until the end, and there were a few genuinely shocking twists along the way. However, it is in the portrayal of 18th century city life that the book really shines. If you know Leeds at all, the vivid portrait of the city that Nickson paints makes the book an absolute delight to read. Even if you don't know the city, his realistic portrayal of the struggle for existence in an industrial city is absorbing, detailed and realistic.

The characters were also very well written - Nottingham and his deputy, Sedgwick, are both very likeable, relatable characters. I would be interested to see if some of the background characters, such as Nottingham's family, are developed any further in the two further books in the series, as I thought they had potential to be a lot more interesting than they were. Which isn't to say that they weren't interesting - I would have just like to know a bit more about them.

I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical and/or crime fiction. Very much looking forward to reading the next two books in the series!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A cracking read!, 1 Oct 2013
By 
bookwormkt (Leeds, West Yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I heard Chris Nickson speak at the UK Bookcrossing Unconvention in Leeds on Saturday and bought this book when I got home. I came to Leeds to University in 1977 and have lived in or near Leeds ever since, so I know some of the locations. My husband worked as a policeman in West Yorkshire for 30 years. Police methods have changed, but human nature not so much. I will have to buy the next one!
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Broken Token, The
Broken Token, The by Chris Nickson (Paperback - 6 May 2010)
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