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Theft of Life (Crowther & Westerman Book 5) by [Robertson, Imogen]
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Theft of Life (Crowther & Westerman Book 5) Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Length: 354 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

From the first Robertson's books have combined intricate plotting with vivid reconstruction of Georgian society. This one is no exception (The Sunday Times)

[A] gripping blend of the Georgian gothic and the forensic thriller (Independent)

A true force in historical fiction (Daily Mail)

The pleasure lies in the steady unfurling of a period crime series (1871) that doesn't rely on declamatory villains and rhubarbing local colour (Christopher Fowler)

Stylish, enigmatic and wonderfully atmospheric. It's a story of secrecy and shame, reason and passion, that resonates long after you reach the final page (Francis Wheen)

Deliciously chilling and dangerous. The plot and characters are absolutely mesmerising, drawing you in to their world like the opium itself (Karen Maitland, author of Company of Liars)

The Paris Winter is in another class altogether... The vivid description of life in the Belle Époque - whether of the rich upper classes and their servants; or students, artists and members of the Parisian underworld - the plausible plot, and a sensitive understanding of art and artists make this a fascinating novel that I read in a single sitting and admired greatly (Literary Review)

Robertson makes a welcome return to 18th Century England and the historical mystery genre... The author does an especially terrific job with day-to-day detail... a juicy read (Herald, Dublin)

Book Description

Shortlisted for the CWA Endeavour Historical Dagger, 2014 the electrifying new historical thriller from the acclaimed author of The Paris Winter

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2084 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Review (22 May 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00IJZRUGA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #39,575 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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By Mr. D. L. Rees TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 July 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
1785. By St. Paul's Cathedral, a former plantation owner is found dead, his face in a mask used for punishing slaves. Revenge by one he had abused? Tensions rise, cries that the country has too many coloured immigrants, they posing an ever-increasing threat. Anatomist Gabriel Crowther's forensic skills soon reveal all is not as it seems, his friend wealthy widow Harriet Westerman helping him unravel the truth. Unlikely couple they may be, but together they get results.

Fifth in a series. Clearly it helps to have read the others. I had not, at once almost overwhelmed by all the names in the first few pages. No need to worry! The novel stands up well on its own, I very soon engrossed in an impressively constructed murder mystery. Grim details emerge of shameful times in the country's history: the wealth that made Britain great owing so much to the exploitation of slaves.

Evocatively set in the period, the novel boasts many strengths - full blooded characters and great dialogue particularly. Crowther and Westerman appeal as a couple, both credible individuals in their own right - often at odds but each respecting the other, despite provocations. Indeed the pages abound with people one can believe in, some rising most movingly from appalling pasts - Harriet's trusted manservant William Geddings, coloured bookseller Francis Glass, runaway slave Tobias Christopher, even young Eustache whose family history alarms (to put it mildly). Villains? Naming them here would represent spoilers, but astute readers will never be in doubt who they are. Likeable villains include the seemingly thoroughly disreputable Molloy, but he has his standards and is good to have on one's side. Who would have expected Bounder and Creech inadvertently to be such a comedy double act!
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By D. Elliott TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Jun. 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Apart from an ‘Epilogue’ to record how the main characters in ‘Theft of Life’ made out, the setting is all in London and narrative covers just a week from 7th to 13th May 1785. This was when Britain was at the hub of the slave trade, and at one level the book is an indictment on the brutality and barbarity of slavers and slave masters as they pursued prosperity at the expense of human suffering. At a higher level it brings a message of hope that cultural attitudes can change and slavery must be abolished. At yet another level ‘Theft of Life’ is a gripping tale switching between two deaths (or three, or more) and involving distinct sets of players that inevitably become intertwined.

‘Theft of Life’ is one of a series of novels by Imogen Robertson featuring Harriet Westerman as an amateur sleuth and Gabriel Crowther as an anatomist who are determined to uncover dark secrets, to expose wrongs, and to seek justice. It is fast-paced with multiple strands and it reads well as a stand-alone book, but it also provides different levels at which readers may react. As a forceful historical thriller ‘Theft of Life’ deserves 5-star rating for its well-drawn characters and credibly crafted plot dealing with suspicion, ignorance, hypocrisy, atonement, revenge etc., but also it deserves 5-stars for its insights to the evil of enslavement and it provides much in the way of uncomfortable truths on which to ponder.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Absolutely loved all 5 Westerman and Crowther books. Please Ms Robertson do not make this the last book featuring Mrs Westerman and Mr Crowther.... I'd be bereft! Absolutely loved all 5 books so far. These books have kept me up later than I should have been for weeks (i am a slow reader!) total page turners! Tackling head on issues such as sexism, classism; racism, abuse- all of these are written about from a historical fiction lense but are so thought provoking and relevant today. Equally strong female and male protagonists without a love interest/relationship is refreshing in the period fiction genre. Love it!
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Ms Robertson has produced another clever, well written mystery, developing her main characters and their relationships in new ways, and introducing very interesting new players. The underlying historical theme of slavery makes the whole more emotional as the horror of it is hinted at and revealed throughout. Near the end Harriet Westerman says something like "Crowther we have been investigating the wrong murder", and the pace suddenly picks up, with danger to our heroes, and several threads come together and the whole becomes known, linking what seemed like separate crimes. Any more than that will reveal too much of the intriguing plot. I enjoyed Eustache's role and his developing character in this novel. All in all a very satisfying read, difficult to put down.
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Have read all Imogen Robertson`s books and enjoyed them. This one I was less keen on. I found it a bit muddly and even a tad tedious in places. Also there were quite a few "typos" and even a wrong character name used in one passage! Proof reader??? I was glad when it finished to be truthful!
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I had no idea this was the fifth book in a series. I read it as a stand alone, one off, and had no problems diving right into the plot. The author provides plenty of back history to help explain her characters and smooth out any gaps. Obviously it's best to read a series in the proper order but if you haven't then don't worry. You shouldn't have too many problems.

The plot revolves around the relationship, professional and personal, of two central characters, Gabriel Crowther and Harriet Westerman, as they find themselves drawn into a murder mystery which seems to point directly into Britain's involvement in the slave trade. There's plenty of darkness worked into those angles and some strong characters emerge to carry the plot along. I don't know how much research Imogen Robertson did before she wrote 'Theft of Life' but she certainly packs a punch when dealing with those dreadful chapters in British history. She makes her fiction very real and easy to believe in.

The era, London 1785, is nicely evoked and the historical scene setting good without becoming overwhelming. The mix of amateur sleuth and anatomist working through a politically sensitive case is well handled while the attraction between them adds another level of intrigue.

There are plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader interested and the plot is intelligently put together. My only 'niggle' would be how little time Gabriel Crowther spends in the story. I found the novel generally better when Crowther and Westerman were kept together. Having said that; I'd happily read more in this series.
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