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58 Reviews
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute belter!
It really is!

Diamonds and Dust is a perfectly presented book - I am the world's worst skip reader but I think I read every word of this, because every one was worth reading. Some passages I read more than once, particularly those describing London in 1860, in which the book is set. It's SO well researched, and this shines through; the atmosphere of the time...
Published 10 months ago by Terry Tyler, author

versus
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Okay if you like history written in the present tense!
Unlike other readers, this was a first for me...I read 40% of the book and gave up. I absolutely hated the use of the present tense and I finally wasn't even interested in what happened or how it happened. Most assuredly not for me and I am very disappointed as I purchased it on the strength of the comments from others and was looking forward to reading another good...
Published 8 months ago by somnus


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute belter!, 29 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: Diamonds & Dust: A Victorian Murder Mystery (Kindle Edition)
It really is!

Diamonds and Dust is a perfectly presented book - I am the world's worst skip reader but I think I read every word of this, because every one was worth reading. Some passages I read more than once, particularly those describing London in 1860, in which the book is set. It's SO well researched, and this shines through; the atmosphere of the time is portrayed with real feeling; some parts would be heartbreaking if the overall humour of the book wasn't light and tongue-in-cheek.

I'm not much of a one for murder mysteries, generally, but Ms Hedges is such a fabulous writer (I've just discovered!) that I think I'd have been enthralled even if she'd written a sci-fi thriller. The plot is intricately woven and releases just the right amount of information at the right time(s), but what I liked most about it was that it's so clever, and funny. My favourite passages were those about the ghastly social climbing that occurred in the Victorian middle classes, even the snobbery amongst the servants.

One thing I love in a book is when the secondary characters are as thoughtfully illustrated as the principal ones; such is the case here, even down to the brief portrait of a simple Welsh police constable in his Watch Box on a cold frosty night. I can't recommend this book too highly, and will be the first person clicking 'buy now' when the sequel, Honour and Obey, is published - I hear the contract has recently been signed!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Rich Read, 15 Feb. 2014
By 
C. Kirby "Catherine Kirby" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Diamonds & Dust: A Victorian Murder Mystery (Kindle Edition)
I don't know what drew me to read Diamonds and Dust because it's not the sort of book I'd usually think of reading, but something about it said 'read me' and I obeyed. I'm very glad I did. It's not often I find a story that entertains, surprises me and tells me things I'd never go and look up for myself but enjoy learning about. Carol Hedges has done this so beautifully that I'd like to offer her a bouquet of thanks! There's so much on offer here: an exciting story with a wide variety of 'real' characters; a mystery; suspense; historical setting; unpredictable twists; wry humour; cameos of well known Victorians, and the irresistible pull of this book that makes you keep reading way into the wee hours. If I need to say more to tempt you to read it then it would be that I didn't see the end coming at all and it was totally fitting, surprising and pleasing. Get yourself a download or the paperback and enjoy it. You can thank me later for the recommendation, or better still, thank Carol Hedges for writing it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So richly drawn, the setting is a main character, 30 July 2014
By 
D-N. "Brit by proxy" (PHILADELPHIA, PA, United States) - See all my reviews
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I love Victoriana. As a kid who grew up reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and an annual visitor to London for the last 17 years, I wanted to read "Diamonds and Dust" as soon as I heard about it.

While I might have been a bit leery of a tale in which Josephine King, a girl who has lost her parents in India to a cholera outbreak, is rescued by her uncle Herbert, from the Bertha Helstone Institute for Orphaned Clergy Daughters, my fears were soon assuaged, as the story quickly fast forwarded and avoided any Dickensian orphan cliches.

What I was presented wit, were strong female characters Josephine King and Isabella Thorpe, with well defined traits. Even when you didn't like a character, like Isabella's mother, the social climbing Mrs. Thorpe, it was because her agenda was so carefully set out, you knew where you stood.

Ms. Hedges also succeeded in making London, a fully functioning character. Her settings were so richly drawn that I could almost feel the street muck splash on my skirt as carriages drove by. From descriptions of the grandeur of Bloomsbury and Russell Square (an area I know very well) to the darker, erstwhile gin mills and dance halls of the period, every room and street was masterfully sculpted. If the devil is in the details, then Beelzebub resides quite comfortably between these covers.

The story moves quickly enough, as the murder happens at the start, so curiosity piqued, you could easily devour this; but I loved it so, I took my time lounging in the lush surrounds, examining what remained after Mr. King's sudden demise. I have to admit, at one point I thought I knew who the murderer was, but even then, the outcome wasn't what I expected.

I'd recommend this to anyone who loves London, the age of Victoria or an old fashioned Sherlock Holmes mystery with a bit of a twist. I could easily see this steampunked up a bit and done as a movie or BBC drama. If that comes to pass, the author deserves it, and I know I'd watch.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An engaging Victorian mystery!, 4 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Diamonds & Dust: A Victorian Murder Mystery (Kindle Edition)
A first Adult novel from this well known and popular writer of teen fiction. The story bounds along at a cracking pace, with well drawn characters, and convincing backgrounds. And there is even a twist in the tail! My only complaint? - it wasn't long enough! Looking forward to more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dual Problems with Diamonds & Dust, 21 May 2014
By 
Stephanie Parker McKean (Fortrose, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Diamonds & Dust: A Victorian Murder Mystery (Kindle Edition)
The duel problems with Carol Hedges’ glittering, riveting Victorian murder mystery, “Diamonds and Dust,” are that it’s too good to review when limited to five stars – and – it ended.
Josephine King, 18, has just barely been rescued from an orphanage by benevolent Uncle Herbert King, when King is murdered. The actual cause of death – fear.
There is plenty to fear in 1860 London, where “dark columns of smoke rise from a million massed chimneys…a filthy, stinking city of too many people, too much coal dust, too many horses, too many cowsheds…the city is frequently almost pitch dark in the middle of the day” – and evil walks the streets at night.
Murder by fear is out of the expertise of the police department. Josephine engages two unforgettable sleuths – a former prostitute and a homeless street-sweeping lad – to hunt down her uncle’s killer.
What would a Victorian murder mystery be without romance? Miss Isabella Thorpe fights her mother’s ambitious marriage plans for her by running away with a penniless artist. Josephine fights against being sacrificed to those same cruel and selfish intentions with the Thorpe’s drunken, playboy son by employing her courage and intelligence to solve an ever-expanding mystery that revolves around murder and the theft of a legendary diamond.
Diamonds and Dust showcases brilliant writing, unforgettable characters, gripping suspense, and a serpentine plot that winds to vertiginous heights in London’s nighttime miasma of danger and evil. Not even Queen Victoria makes a safe escape from the history and heartbreak when opulence collides with greed in 1860 London.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Victorian Life through a modern lens, 4 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Diamonds & Dust: A Victorian Murder Mystery (Kindle Edition)
The writing style I found more like an extended play script, yet it is not a play. I could easily imagine a narrator just off stage- perhaps in a box as would have been in a Victorian Music Hall or Variety Theatre – egging on the reader to interact, shout and bawl. The Victorian Farce isn’t left out either in this fast moving plot with quirky trips over Victorian bridges. When I accepted the unusual style, I found the novel an engaging and entertaining read. I’ve read a number of paranormal novels recently -this doesn’t fit and yet the perpetrator is not normal either. Carol Hedges doesn’t leave aspects all to the imagination but she does leave the events blurred enough to make you wonder what isn’t told in the story. I enjoyed secondary characters like Oi who made a tragic, and probably typically short, life seem very day to day; the character names imaginatively chosen. There are so many scenes, names and situations that are so familiar they have a ‘borrowed’ ticket on them, but they are skilfully woven into the refreshing style that is Diamonds and Dust.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rollicking good read!, 20 Jan. 2014
This book was recommended to me by a good friend and fellow avid reader, and when I read the blurb I already had a good feeling it would be right up my alley. I was not wrong! Victorian etiquette, clandestine meetings, mountains of petticoats and something sinister stalking the shadows; this book has it all and more. It depicts the glories and guttersnipes of Victorian London as well as taking the reader on an adventure filled rollercoaster of mystery and murder. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and became charmed by its characters... well some of them ;-) Others I could have merrily strangled! But that is precisely the power of Ms Hedges writing. She captures each character so vividly and writes with such pace and flair that the reader is immediately transported into her world.
I cannot wait to start reading another of her novels!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What's not to like?, 20 Jun. 2014
This review is from: Diamonds & Dust: A Victorian Murder Mystery (Kindle Edition)
Given to me by my husband, I had no expectations of this book. I was taken up early on by the fast-paced, compelling storytelling. This is not my genre, and I'm sure I missed out on many subtle references, but it didn't detract from my experience. The writing is economical and witty, and you will be hooked until the end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable, 25 May 2014
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This review is from: Diamonds & Dust: A Victorian Murder Mystery (Kindle Edition)
I loved the unusual present tense omniscient-narrator style of this book. It feels as though the author is leading you by the hand on a tour of Victorian London, homing in on people and events which move this story along. Rarely done these days, but when done well (as it is here) it's a great way to tell a story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding! I'm a convert!, 15 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Diamonds & Dust: A Victorian Murder Mystery (Kindle Edition)
I cannot praise this book highly enough!
It is not the sort of book I would read at all but having read the blurb it planted a seed and Diamonds & Dust went onto my Amazon wish list.

It didn't feel like a novel at all - I thought I was there in Victorian London. It had the right balance of everything and I really hope Carol's next book will be out soon!
I have only one complaint - I read it in one sitting as I couldn't put it down so am extremely tired now!

HIGHLY recommend and for me to enjoy a novel that is high praise indeed!
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