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Devil's Ribbon, The (Hatton and Roumande) Paperback – 28 Feb 2014

4.3 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Allison & Busby (28 Feb. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749014903
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749014902
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 496,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'You'll devour this brilliant, classy Victorian crime novel in hours. It will stay with you a lot longer, though, thanks to the extraordinary atmosphere and detail, as the first days of forensics are brought to life. 5 stars!' DAILY MIRROR 'The detailed description of their primitive mortuary and newly invented methods of dissection and analysis make a fascinating contrast with the numerous contemporary novels by and about forensic pathologists...It is full of interesting ideas, neat phrases and vivid images - an enjoyable read.' --Literary Review

Review

Praise for D. E. Meredith and Devoured:

“Devoured steeps us in the danger of Victorian London and the discovery of modern forensics, combining classic storytelling with a finely-executed historical moment. Meredith packs her debut with charm and wit enough to carry us into any adventures to come with these sparkling characters.” -- Matthew Pearl, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Dickens



"Devoured is an absorbing mystery, with an atmosphere that captures wonderfully the contrasts of science and superstition, of domesticity and imperial exoticism, that made the Victorian era so richly interesting.  Hopefully a sequel is already on the way!" -- Charles Finch, author of The Fleet Street Murders




“Lovers of Victorian mystery will delight in Denise Meredith's terrific debut, where murder, the science of specimen collecting, and early forensic medicine combine into a riveting adventure.” -- Stefanie Pintoff, Edgar Award-winning author of In the Shadow of Gotham 

"Meredith’s debut novel delves into the ugly secrets of that straight-laced time and believably renders life among the different social strata.... Think Michael Cox (The Meaning of Night) meets Jonathan Barnes (The Somnambulist). Strongly recommended for fans of historicals. -- Library Journal, starred review

"Meredith’s research is superb. The smallest details show the interior life of the characters and the conditions they lived in. This is a dark story, but fascinating and brilliantly executed." -- RT BookReviews, 4 and a half stars

"Something special. And then some.... Meredith, an Englishwoman with a degree from Cambridge University, has a fertile mind, from which springs a shocking conclusion that, in retrospect, is perfectly apparent. She fills this story of unbridled evil and immense sorrow with memorable characters and graceful prose, and her portrait of a world at an intellectual crossroads is powerful and evocative." -- Richmond Times Dispatch

“Cleverly plotted… charming and convincing—very well done, and this likable and brainy team of detectives probably has a future.” -- Sullivan County Democrat

“If this debut is any indication, we are in for a long run of entertaining and thoughtful books.… Dark, creepy and fascinating Devoured is a book that lingers long after the reading is done.” -- Crime Spree magazine

"This debut novel by Denise Meredith is an entertaining read. It reminded me of Masterpiece Mystery... The author does a good job of bringing the wintry streets of Victorian London and the steamy jungles of Borneo to life as she tells her story." -- Historical Novel Society

"Fans of historical mysteries, especially those set in Victorian Europe, will definitely want to read D.E. Meredith's Devoured. A high body count, creative death scenes, cruel villains, beloved heroes, intriguing plots and subplots, and an exotic setting make this novel an enjoyable read." -- GumshoeReview

“Devoured is a fascinating and sinister mystery set in Victorian London—in a time when a person could be killed for believing in something other than what was accepted.” -- Nightandweekends

“A complex amalgam of mystery and bloody terror, Devoured ties new and sacrilegious theories of evolution to the mysteries of nineteenth-century forensic techniques.… From the series of gruesome murders to the exotic delights of Broderig’s letters to Hatton’s burgeoning science, Meredith’s tale is filled with dissenters and religious bigots, devious villains and buried animosities. The ultimate truths of men is lit by a microscope and a lamp, and it appears that all is ripe for Hatton and Adams to return in another outing, their vibrant partnership already taken to the brink as they walk the streets of a violent London, determined to protect the innocent against the deadliest schemes of men.” -- Curledup --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Read the first one and enjoyed it. This second one was good too. I wish I was able to give it a 5 star though. It's flaw lies in the fact that I found the characters a bit distant. Awaiting the third.
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Format: Hardcover
The Devil's Ribbon is a dark, page-turning mystery of epic proportions. It's written with such masterful authority that one questions if reading a work of fiction. Meredith's Victorian London is brought to life with all it's squalor and casual atrocities as viewed by the fabulously paired forensic duo Hatton and Roumande. I adore the sensitive Hatton, the genuine kindness of Roumande and their ever-evolving 'who's the teacher, who's the student?' relationship. Bring on the next book!!
As a quick aside, my daughter came home from school the other day after learning about the famine and I was able to answer her questions about the Irish cholera boats to North America with what I had gleaned from this book. Result!!
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Format: Kindle Edition
D.E. Meredith's Devoured (A Hatton and Roumande Mystery) was a fine introduction to Victorian forensic scientist Professor Adolphus Hatton and his assistant in the morgue Albert Roumande. This second novel, The Devil's Ribbon, however, is superb.

Set in the heart of hot, steamy and diseased London, Hatton and Roumande don't just have the sad choleric remains of the poor to deal with, they are also faced with a series of brutal murders. The victims are all very different, both poor and old, but Hatton and Roumande are pioneers of forensic science, including the latest technique of all - fingerprinting. Uniquely and originally, they have the method to put the pieces together. The intellectual detachment of science, though, is more of a goal than a reality - our two heroes are never far removed from the horrific reality of it all.

There are complications. The case tests Hatton's heart as much as his mind. Mrs McCarthy, the beautiful young widow of one of the victims, adds a sense of urgency to Hatton's efforts, reminding him of another time in his life while enriching our knowledge of this very likable scientist detective.

London in the mid 19th century had dangers quite apart from the regular outbreaks of cholera. The Irish nationalist movement was growing in vigour and violence, asserting itself among the factories and slums of London, largely due to the huge numbers of Irish refugees concentrated in the poorest parts of the city, the human aftermath of one of the great disasters of the century, the Irish Potato Famine.
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Format: Kindle Edition
CSI: Smithfield returns with The Devil's Ribbon, the second mystery featuring forensics pioneer Professor Adolphus Hatton and his trusty [and iron-stomached] morgue assistant Albert Roumande. It's July1858 and the morgue at St. Bart's Hospital is still one of the least desirable medical postings available. Despite the strides that scientists like Professor Hatton have made within the field of forensic detection, the cadaver cutting business is still seen as the purview of social pariahs, blasphemers and other undesirable dinner party guests. The money's lousy as well, especially since Professor Hatton fell out of favour with the relatively well-paying police force.

That's not to say that business isn't booming. In the sweltering London summer disease stalks the filthy streets, leaving Professor Hatton with a morgue overflowing with cholera victims. Cholera is not the only peril facing the citizens of London though; civil unrest is also in the air and the perplexing murder of Gabriel McCarthy, a leading politician in the Irish Unionist movement, causes Inspector Grey to once more call upon the services of Hatton and Roumande.

The Devil's Ribbon is another finely crafted mystery from D.E. Meredith. The murder of Gabriel McCarthy is complex in itself but also leads Hatton and Roumande on a twisting path through the poverty and disease-riddled streets of London as they attempt to track down the murderer while stopping a band of would-be terrorists and quelling escalating violence. Although the dynamic forensic detecting duo are working with the police, their progress is often thwarted by the hot-headed Inspector Grey and his desire to find a guilty party (yes, anyone plausible will do) whatever the cost.
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Format: Paperback
A difficult read, slightly plodding, with dialogue that fails to add flesh and blood to the characters. It picks up splendidly in the final quarter, however, and makes for a tense and gripping plot.
Worth persevering with. Hatton and Roumande are thoroughly admirable, and I hope there will be a third in the series.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Following straight on from Devoured, I waded with great excitement into Meredith's second book. Devil's Ribbon is a slightly different proposition from Devoured. With less exotic retrospective (Lovecraft-style) it is a much more immediate story.

Based a couple of years after the first book, Devil's Ribbon introduces new characters that are fun, fascinating and thoroughly well-crafted. Moreover, the protagonists (Hatton and Roumande) have acquired a great deal more depth and character and have moved from being principal characters to good and familiar friends. There seems to be stronger characterisation in this novel that really makes the reader see and understand the characters.

Style-wise there is little change from the first book (which is a blessing.) Devoured carried a deep atmosphere and graceful writing that I would hate to have surrendered.

But much as with Devoured, what really fascinates me is the plot and the intricacy of it. Devoured had a complex and incredible well-thought out plot. The Devil's ribbon moves a step up the ladder from that. Some third- to half-way through TDR I formed an opinion of whodunnit, and even some basic theories as to how and why. I could see even then that there was more than one thread running throughout, and they would need examining separately, in the way Hatton does in his mortuary. One thread is a somewhat socio-political plot based around the dreadful history of the Irish potato famine and the Anglo-Irish troubles. The other - the central one - is somewhat more personal. I thought I had nailed it, though I could not work out as I read how all the loose ends tied in. I was, needless to say, wrong. Dammit!
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