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Pale As The Dead Paperback – 18 Jul 2002

3.8 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (18 July 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752841114
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752841113
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 2.6 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 874,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


REVIEWS 'A haunting tale' GOOD HOUSEKEEPING 'an intriguing and atmospheric plot...' MIDWEEK magazine 'Mountain's brilliantly original take on the whodunnit is compelling, atmospheric, eerie and above all intelligent' GOOD BOOK GUIDE MAGAZINESGOOD HOUSEKEEPING - ReviewWRITING MAGAZINE - InterviewCRIME TIME - author article about the book and review (issue 29)PRACTICAL FAMILY HISTORY- mention in Sept issueFAMILY HISTORY MONTHLY - review and competition in Sept issueMYSTERY WOMEN MAGAZINE - reviewTHE LADY - reviewGOOD BOOK GUIDE - review PRESSDAILY MIRROR - reviewOXFORD TIMES - author article about researchingyour own family historyHAMPSTEAD & HIGHGATE EXPRESS - reviewBIRMINGHAM SUNDAY MERCURY - reviewCOTSWOLD JOURNAL - interviewCOTSWOLD LIFE - interviewMORETON-IN-MARSH HISTORY SOCIETY NEWSLETTER - reviewOXFORDSHIRE LOCAL HISTORY ASSOCIATION - review in newsletter - piece on author - author article about writing the book and reviewFamily History News, online newsletter - lead article about the book RADIOBBC RADIO SCOTLAND, Brian Morton Show - interviewRADIO CLYDE - reviewBBC RADIO OXFORD - interviewBBC RADIO GLOUCESTER - interviewBBC RADIO SOLENT - interviewBBCTHREE COUNTIES RADIO - interviewBBC HEREFORD & WORCESTER - interview EVENTSBodies in The Bookshop, Heffers Cambridge BOOKSHOP SIGNINGSChipping Norton

Book Description

First in a series of mysteries with a difference from the author of ISABELLA ¿ the only first novel ever to have been shortlisted for the Romantic Novel of the Year Award.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I was immediately attracted to this book for two reasons. The first is that the main character is a genealogist, and poking around into people's family trees and history (even fictional) is very interesting to me. The second reason is the mix of fact and fiction, and one of the character's links and fascination with Lizzie Siddal, the well-known Pre-Raphaelite model, painter and poet.

The story itself didn't disappoint and I found myself completely drawn into it, wanting to find out more about the missing girl (Bethany) at the heart of the story, and follow Natasha Blake, the genealogist, as she tries to make sense of her disappearance.

This is an easy and enjoyable read and I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on the sequel, Bloodlines. I know that Fiona Mountain has gone back to writing more historical novels, but I'd love to read more genealogical mysteries as they're quite unique.
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Format: Paperback
As soon as I saw this book advertised, I was intrigued by what it proposed to offer. Not being one to spend time with a novel, preferring more the factual, historical text books I have become accustomed to, I waited in somewhat reluctant anticipation for this book to arrive.
What a revelation the book proved to be! The author has taken a classic detective/mystery storyline and applied it to an area of history that is becoming increasingly popular, genealogy. The result is a compelling compilation of twists and unexpected revelations, which kept me enthralled from the first chapter.
The book is arranged in manageable chunks, so that the more hesitant novel reader does not have to set out to "eat the elephant whole", although once started it was difficult not to attempt to do so! The author has obviously researched the topic of genealogy before hand and the various historical themes are expertly applied to the plot, providing a refreshing window into the process of historical research. This is history in the 21st century.
My only concern is that readers who are not "tuned in" to the joys of history may avoid the book and consequently missed out on a truly amazing read. Excellent!
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By Damaskcat HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 July 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Natasha Blake is intrigued when Bethany Marshall consults her about tracing her family history. She is even more intrigued when Bethany disappears without telling her exactly what she wants her to research. Natasha is approached by Bethany's boyfriend - Adam - a photographer. He gives her a handwritten 19th century diary which Bethany was convinced contained the clue to her ancestry.

Working against time and threatened by mysterious phone calls, a break in and someone following her whenever she goes out, Natasha has to try and find out who Bethany is and where she's disappeared to. I found the background of Natasha's work as a genealogist absolutely fascinating as was the insight into the Pre Raphaelite Brotherhood. The plot is fast paced and keeps you guessing to the end. The only reason why I haven't given it 5 stars is because I thought the ending was a little too neat and tidy.

The book is an excellent read if you like your mysteries a little different. There is little violence and bad language and the book is well written. It is the start of a series about Natasha Blake though the book will stand on its own. I read 'Bloodline' before I read this one but it didn't spoil my enjoyment of either book. I look forward to reading more in this series.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an unusual mix of genealogy mystery and history, centred on the glamorous Pre-Raphaelite artists and Lizzie Siddal, the girl in the famous ‘Ophelia’ painting. Ancestry detective Natasha Blake meets a mysterious, beautiful young woman, Bethany, who is re-enacting the Lizzie Siddal scene for a photographer. Bethany confides in Natasha her fear that her family is cursed following the deaths of her sister and mother. After asking Natasha to research her family tree, Bethany goes missing. Has she run from a failing love affair, committed suicide, or has she been murdered?
The trail is cold. Natasha must turn detective in two senses: she searches the birth, marriage and death records, census returns and wills, to find Natasha’s ancestors; at the same time, she is being followed by someone driving a red Celica. Adam, the photographer, is also Bethany’s boyfriend but Natasha feels there is more to his story than he is telling.
The narrative wandered rather from the central story, complicated unnecessarily by Natasha’s own history and love life which added little. Perhaps this could have been avoided by telling part of the story from Lizzie Siddal’s point of view. There were so many peripheral characters, both in the present time and the historical story, that at times I lost my way. I was also unconvinced by the threat to Natasha - the red car, the break-in. These jarred, almost as if added as an afterthought to appeal to lovers of crime fiction which I think was unnecessary. The kernel of the story about Bethany and Lizzie is fascinating in its own right.
‘Pale as the Dead’ is the first of two Natasha Blake novels.
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Format: Paperback
This novel is intriguing and atmospheric. Lizzie Siddal is a tragically luminous figure who haunts the pages of this story as she haunts the minds of the main characters. If you fear family history may be a little fusty this book will prove you wrong. Genetics and the echoes of our dead ancestors upon our lives are just two of the thought-provoking concepts covered in this wonderful novel. The Cotswold setting is beautifully portrayed too, and I fell in love with Natasha.
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