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4.0 out of 5 stars Devoured
In 1856 the least fashionable and thus least socially acceptable area of medicine in which to practice was forensics. Being a surgeon rather than a decent, respectable doctor was considered bad enough but pursuing a living that involves dissecting folk was just beyond the pale. In addition to the social stigma, those few brave men of science willing to devote themselves...
Published 18 months ago by Erin Britton

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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Just OK
I struggled with this. The premise is exciting, but for me the writing was stilted and uninteresting and the dialogue flat. Its not bad, but its not that good either. I see the rave reviews and wonder whether we were reading the same book. Then I noticed that many of these 5 star reviewers have reviewed no other books, so perhaps one can assume that they are reviews...
Published on 16 Oct. 2012 by richteafinger


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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Just OK, 16 Oct. 2012
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I struggled with this. The premise is exciting, but for me the writing was stilted and uninteresting and the dialogue flat. Its not bad, but its not that good either. I see the rave reviews and wonder whether we were reading the same book. Then I noticed that many of these 5 star reviewers have reviewed no other books, so perhaps one can assume that they are reviews from D.E Meredith's friends. Who knows?? But I was bored with it, and irked by its cliched dialogue and lumbering prose. At one point I dumped in in favour of Louise Welsh's The Cutting Room, which only served to reveal yet more clearly how a good mystery should be written. If you want to read a tip top historical mystery book try Fingersmith (sarah waters). 'Devoured' is undergraduate by comparison. But perhaps these Hatton books will get better as the series progresses... I don't think I'll be buying another to find out.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Devoured, 14 Oct. 2013
In 1856 the least fashionable and thus least socially acceptable area of medicine in which to practice was forensics. Being a surgeon rather than a decent, respectable doctor was considered bad enough but pursuing a living that involves dissecting folk was just beyond the pale. In addition to the social stigma, those few brave men of science willing to devote themselves to forensics also had to overcome the problem of funding their research. The gentlemen scientists of the Victorian era had to rely on wealthy patrons to sponsor their work and, unsurprisingly given the mood at the time, forensic specialists did not enjoy an abundance of generosity. It is this difficulty in funding the development of their science that leads Professor Adolphus Hatton and his morgue assistant Albert Roumande to assist the police with their investigations in the hope of securing a nice annual stipend from the local constabulary.

In Devoured, the first Hatton and Roumande mystery, the proto-CSIs are called upon to assist Inspector Adams of Scotland Yard in solving the murder of glamorous society contrarian Lady Bessingham. While Lady Bessingham might have courted controversy with some of her intellectual pursuits and her patronage of certain adventuring scientists and rare specimen collectors, there appears no reason for her murder. Employing their cutting edge forensic techniques (no smoking near the corpse, sniffing said corpse for peculiar odours, making use of cutting-edge [ha!] German bone saws, etc), Hatton and Roumande find themselves on the trail of a cache of seditious letters that has the potential to change the face of society and religion irrevocably.

Devoured is an intriguing historical murder mystery. D. E. Meredith has clearly done a great deal of research, both into the Victorian period in general and into the early days and development of forensic science in particular. The level of detail that she provides gives the novel a real air of authenticity and the period tone is maintained throughout the entire story. While authors are often good at recreating the place and material circumstances that provide the setting for historical fiction, recreating the speech patterns and dialogue choices of the time is often far harder. Happily, Meredith's writing doesn't falter when it comes to dialogue and so there are no jarring misstatements to distract the reader from the story.

The mystery surrounding the death of Lady Bessingham is perhaps a little slow to get going as there is quite a bit of scene setting and basic character building at the beginning of the book. However, this slow build-up really helps to establish the period setting and to introduce Hatton and Roumande as deep, sympathetic characters. This slow beginning could also be due to the fact that Devoured is the first book in a proposed series featuring the forensic duo and so is tasked with firmly establishing the characters in readers' minds. There's actually not that long to wait to see how other Hatton and Roumande mysteries develop as their second adventure, The Devil's Ribbon, is due to be published in February 2013.

Although Devoured may begin slowly, the investigation into Lady Bessingham's murder does ultimately involve plenty of action as Hatton and Roumande investigate a host of nefarious characters and challenge accepted societal mores. The process of identifying the killer involves some truly ingenious detection and the story twists and turns from the darker side of the docklands to the steamy jungles of Borneo to the gentile drawing rooms of Victorian London's upper class. Hatton and Roumande's investigation leads them to face plenty of danger and dubious dealings, with the conclusion to the mystery being disturbingly dark. Devoured is a great beginning to what could potentially be an excellent historical mystery series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Well, it's your choice - but I would't bother....., 17 Aug. 2014
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I was looking forward to this book - It's not very often I don't finish a book - well hardly every, but I stopped reading this when I wasn't even half way through. I love Victorian murder mysteries, but this just focused to much on the specimen collecting which the author obviously had knowledge and expected the reader to have the same passion - it was just boring and I don't know if it was just me, but by the time I gave up reading it - I knew who had done it..............so I won't even give the second book a go I'm afraid.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it! When can I read the next one?, 17 Oct. 2012
As I began to turn the pages of Devoured, one of my first thoughts was to marvel at the depth of research undertaken by D E Meredith in order to immerse us fully in Victorian life. The detail is astonishing and, at times, both gory and shocking.

We experience the extreme poverty of the era, the sight and sensations of the jungles of Borneo plus the immunity enjoyed and power exerted by London's influential middle and upper classes.

I have always been fascinated by Darwin's voyages and theories yet have never before given much thought to the effect on society at the time, reeling under the onslaught of a science which proposed the giant apes as its brothers.

Devoured introduces us to the deeply mistrusted science of forensics via the doggedly determined efforts of Hatton and Roumande. They find themselves drawn into a race to solve a series of elaborate murders, seemingly motivated by a batch of letters from the jungle which could potentially rock society, religion and the lives of certain well-connected individuals who have everything to lose by the letter's revelations.

This book is a gem - a real page turner with everything; history, mystery, murder and manipulation. It's one of those books that you're loathe to put down and eager to pick up again. When can I read the next one? :-)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dark subject matter, effort to stay engaged., 1 Nov. 2014
Pretty dark subject matter, slightly gruelling at times. Good creation of a murky atmosphere but writing style is unremarkable and had to put effort in at times to stay engaged. One part turned my stomach. Not enough to commend it and I don't think I'll be back for more. Try 'The Mangle Street Murders' if you prefer a side helping of gallow's humour, just as much gore and much easier, accessible writing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An intense, dark story to relish, 20 Oct. 2012
By 
K. Mayfield (London, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I thoroughly enjoyed D.E. Meredith's DEVOURED, and cannot resist saying that I did indeed devour it. The author has bravely tackled subjects, which during the mid 19th century, were shocking, even horrifying to some. There are twists and turns in this dark story that surprise and take the reader on a swiftly paced excursion.

The author's resplendent characters make their way through the muck of murder, the enlightening forensics and the new procedure of autopsy. The team of Hatton and Roumande are memorable and very likeable. I was particularly swept away by another character's vivid letters from Borneo, which are beautifully interspersed throughout the book and strikingly showcase the author's sensitivity.

Very much looking forward to the next book in this series.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A good first novel, 17 May 2011
This book didn't grab me at first and I almost gave up after about fifty pages. The prose style left me a little flat and traces of Dan Brown crept in from time to time. However, once it got into its stride the plot became more interesting and eventually, fairly gripping. The research into Victorian London and conflict between the ideas of Darwin et al versus religion seem meticulous. In the author's own words this is a historical crime novel and it seems likely that there will be others in the same genre. Would I read the next one ? Probably, but I won't be charging down the shops the moment it is published. I think fans of crime writing may take to this book more readily than I did. A reasonable first effort Denise.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping début, 2 Feb. 2012
`Devoured' is a stunning book with all the elements of a Victorian mystery. Set in London in 1856, Ms Meredith transports the reader to the most compelling and often seedy parts of the city, beginning with the morgue at St Bart's, which is described in gloriously evocative detail with flickering candles and eerie shadows. This is the workplace of early forensic pathologists, Adolphus Hatton and Albert Roumande.

The main characters are skilfully drawn with entirely credible mannerisms and foibles. The chemistry between them, as they work together, is palpable. They are a great duo, with enormous potential for further tales. Following the murder of Lady Bessingham, we journey with Hatton and Roumande as they investigate the underworld of Victorian London in search of the killer. The plot is complex with many twists and turns. It is cleverly interwoven with intriguing letters from exotic Borneo. The dénouement was completely unpredictable; the mark of a true crime writer.

`Devoured' gives a tantalising insight into Victorian forensics at the very beginning of this fascinating science, within the context of contemporary superstitions and opinions. It is a gripping début and I can't wait to read the next instalment of Hatton and Roumande's adventures.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good read, 25 Nov. 2012
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I had read quite a number of reviews of this book and was really looking forward to reading it. I wasn't disappointed but at the same time at the end there was a quiet little voice nudging me. D.E.Meredith's prose is flowing and descriptive, but the plot seemed a bit too quick. I expected more depth in actions. The characters are ok, just the sort you'd expect in this kind of story. Maybe it is just that. Seen it before. Nevertheless, I've also read the second one and enjoyed it. Yes, it is a book to have in your bookcase.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Research and a fascinating story, 31 Dec. 2012
I read this book some time ago, and have just been reminded how good it is. The research is impeccable, the writing, somehow, bautifully within period. Denyse deals with relatively unexplored areas of Victorian life in both this and The Devil's Ribbon and leaves the reader with a strong appetite for more in the series.
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Devoured (Hatton & Roumande Book 1)
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