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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 16 November 2000
Unnatural Fire by Fidelis Morgan
Fan me ye winds! If you're lusting after a great story told by a master (mistress?), buy this book. Anastasia Ashby dela Zouche, Baroness Penge, Countess of Clapham is a new star in the murder mystery firmament. Down on her luck, to all intents and purposes past her prime, the Countess is forced to show her mettle and proves to be shrewd, resourceful and not above a little wheeling and dealing but always with a strong sense of honour and noblesse oblige. Perfect. The most exciting and original detective since Falco, I loved the Countess and her wily side-kick, Alpiew. In our genre-obsessed culture Unnatural Fire will no doubt be straitjacketed as an historical thriller but it's much more than that - not only a brilliant(often gory)murder mystery, a subtle reflection on the nature of love, loyalty and friendship, a cracking, beautifully written yarn which effortlessly brings to life the seething social and intellectual backdrop of Restoration London (Morgan ingeniously uses the different stages of the alchemical process to structure her book) but it's also VERY FUNNY. I hated coming to the end of Unnatural Fire - always a good sign and I'm praying that there'll be a series.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 15 March 2001
Unnatural Fire is the best historical crime story that I have read in a very long time. Packed full of the sights and scents of London and full of fascinating snippets of historical information, the story crackles with life. The characters are funny and well drawn and the plot twists are cunning. A great read!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 29 March 2005
What a wonderfully funny, original book. I thought it was a delight from cover to cover. One reviewer said she found it a 'slog' - I can only imagine she was reading something completely different to the rest of us. I understand there is a series and I will be ordering the rest immediately. Thank you Ms Morgan, for such brilliant entertainment!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 10 November 2000
Unnatural Fire is a brilliant crime thriller set in London in the 1699. All the characters are beautifully drawn, but Lady Anastasia and her servant Alpiew will become classic detectives as Fidelis Morgan, hopefully, writes a whole string of these novels. My knowledge of London of the time is very sketchy, but on each page one learns so many fascinating facts, without them feeling spoonfed or that one is being given a history lesson. The plot twist and turns just as the alleyways of London down which the reader is led. Looking forward to the next in the series. A real page turner!!!!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 14 December 2000
Thanks to Fidelis Morgan, the UK's leading expert on Restoration women dramatists, a considerable body of work by seventeenth century women writers has been rescued from obscurity. It is no surprise that she has chosen to set her new novel 'Unnatural Fire' in those turbulent times and to enrich it with her considerable knowledge of seventeenth century social history and manners to produce what is a highly original and more importantly, very funny book. No jobs for the boys here! Her detective duo are a decrepit former mistress of Charles II and her superannuated maidservant. She has very cleverly structured the story around the alchemical process which although it will delight the initiate will not baffle the average reader. It is full of the sounds, sights and smells of another age and Ms Morgan writes with her tongue very firmly in her cheek making many allusions to present-day mores and manners. The characters are larger than life and the mystery is sustained right to the end. Full marks to Ms Morgan for daring to invent characters who are 'ladies of a certain age' at least there are no soppy romantic heroines to get in the way of the plot! One can imagine a very canny producer buying up the rights to what could easily become a comedy classic. What a change to hear the chief sleuth addressed as 'Madam' instead of 'Guv'nor'! I shall certainly look forward to the sequel!
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on 7 January 2013
Discovered Ashby thanks to having read Paul O'Grady's autobiography, in which he mentions how good the Fidelis Morgan books are. I love the mixture of murder mystery and comedy, which mixed with well researched historical facts and brilliant characters make these novels a real delight.
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on 1 June 2015
A very unusual crime drama. Both comedic and dramatic. The characters were all brought to life brilliantly. Couldn't put it down!
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on 7 April 2015
It felt very average, not a novel plot and not interesting writing. I won't other to keep it and won't recommend it to anyone.
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on 10 December 2012
Interesting enough not to give up on. It has most of the ingredients one would expect in a good story, humour, thrills etc.
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on 24 February 2013
Again, this author does not disappoint. I laugh and cringed and would read anything she writes again. A good buy.
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