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What darkness lies in mens' souls?
on 9 August 2012
Gabriel Crowther, a reclusive anatomist, is annoyed to be pulled from his bed, to attend the scene of a murder on a country property. In 1780, his work on anatomy is frowned upon and questioned, and he prefers to remain to himself. In London at the same time, Alexander Adams, a keen musician and quiet friend to Owen Graves is about to be murdered. Are the two incidents related? And if so, how? What secrets does Thornleigh Hall hold, where the Earl of Sussex lies in limbo between life and death. What happened to his heir? And what is Hugh, the second son, hiding? Crowther and Harriet Westerman, looking after her husband's estate while he is serving in the Navy for King George III, each have their own reasons for wanting to find out; while wanting to remain in their own private spheres.
Polite society, the common dregs of society, the Gordon Riots (which may be familiar to readers of Dickens' Barnaby Rudge), the backdrop of the American War of Independence; all are skilfully woven into a narrative which tells of secrets, skullduggery, love and attempts at redemption. The writing is witty and fully engaging to the reader; the nuances of Eighteenth Century society are wonderfully captured in drawing room scenes and in scenes in the King's Army; the author has a brilliant talent with the words and with her style of writing.
I look forward with eagerness to the next in the series.