5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
The Ruth Version,
This review is from: The James Version (Paperback)
Although not normally a reader of historical or crime genres, I bought this at Ruth's signing at Windsor, and started on it immediately, interrupting my reading of Beckett's Trilogy to do so. Once started, I couldn't leave it. It is beautifully worked, the atmosphere, the historical period, the characters, all fictitious (nothing seems known about the real characters, I guess) but entirely believable. I liked the way the modish interest in Phrenology was used, and the ironic use of the later abandonment of the theory by the medical world. And the reliance of the narrator on drugs (laudanum) to the point of dependence is lightly done. Above all, the way every character in the book is drawn into the web of sins, unrelated, but drawing all into associated guilt, that of Original Sin.
The great thing about Ruth Dugdall is that, like Conrad for example, she has lived, then written; she draws on her experience in the Prison Service, which gives her writing the strength of authenticity as well as imagination.
I'm looking forward to reading more of her work.