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The Scent of Death
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on 20 April 2014
Edward Savill has married a woman for her family connections and, whilst he loves their daughter, the marriage is stale. He uses his family connections within Government to secure a posting to New York as part of the American Office dealing with loyalist refugees. On arrival in New York he is billeted with a retired judge and his family including the beautiful but distant Arabella. During the War of Independence Arabella's family home was attacked and she lost her child. Arabella's husband was lost in battle and the family is poor. Edward comes across the body of murdered Englishman and is charged with investigating his death. There are links to both the judges family and also to a renegade slave with a scarred face. Edward is not sure who to trust and the complex plot involves slavery, loyalty and honour.

Andrew Taylor is an assured writer of historical fiction. His work is supremely researched and his plots buzz. This book is fascinating and engaging, heavy with detail yet the story races along.
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on 24 June 2016
This is the first book I've read by Andrew Taylor, and it won't be the last! Set in New York at the time of the American Revolutionary War, it gives a gritty and realistic account of what life was like set in a historical mystery thriller. You can feel the biting cold of the severe winter, smell the poor sanitation and be gripped by the violence of the time. Savill, the main protagonist, is a British civil servant drawn into an illicit affair with an American femme fatale who has to resort to extreme violence to surviive. A very readable and gripping tale.
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on 11 November 2013
I really enjoyed this book. As a veiwer of the excellent Bradley Walsh's Crime writers programme, I was aware of the book as it was ome of their featured new releases. Briefly, the action takes place at the time immediately before the American War of Independance. New York is a very small settlement on the tip of the area which it now covers. Mistrust is rife and our hero is sent to America to represent British interests. It covers a period which I suspect many of us are unfamiliar. We know that the Americans colonists finally evicted Britain as their ruler, but whta was life like at the time. This book helps to set the scene and exposes us to the atmosphere of the time. A thoroughly enjoyable and interesting, if not to say educational (without being at all dry) read.
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on 25 February 2015
A well written and gripping historical novel
The American war of Independence forms a backdrop to this tale of murder intrigue and slavery in the New York of 1778.
A good chance to brush up on your American history as well as enjoy a rollicking good yarn of multiple murders and hidden gold with sprinkling of sexual passion.
A refreshing change from the usual formulaic murder mystery.
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on 20 April 2015
Very enjoyable. Andrew Taylor deals with a period of history that is new to me - America in the 18th century just after the Declaration of Independence - his description of the ensuing war and the early days of New York was genuinely interesting. The denouement of a main plot strand involving the heroine was really obvious from an early stage and the final scenes on the packed ice were a little confusing, but all in all, this novel kept me gripped. There is a lot of quite gruesome violence in the novel;, some of it perpetrated by the chief protagonist, Savill, but he is a multi layered character and I am eager to see what Taylor will do with him in the next novel in which he features. Bleeding Heart Square stillremains my favourite Taylor, however.
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on 17 August 2015
As ever, Andrew Taylor's writing is compelling and informative. 18th C America is not much written about, which is surprising, given the political dynamics of the time. Mr T's research is impeccable and he brings the period to life. I found the pace a bit uneven - long slow passages interspersed with shorter bursts of frantic action.
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on 3 September 2014
A brilliant read from an author whose work never fails to grab me. The plot is set in an interesting historical period about which I knew very little - New York during the American War of Independence - and the setting is so well described that you can practically smell it; the book has a real feel of the period without ever resorting to the irritating clichés of historical fiction or airing 'research' in a heavy-handed way. The plot kept me so glued to the page that the battery on my Kindle ran out! Excellent from every point of view.
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on 13 November 2013
Odd how one reviewer's experience of the same story can be 'dull' while another's is 'brilliant'! Mine is in the latter category of course. The setting is New York during the period of the American War of Independence and provides an unusual and atmospheric glimpse in to what life might have been during those times combined with an intriguing murder mystery. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and had great difficulty putting it down although at the same time didn't want it to end! I was so engrossed reading on the train to London recently that the 2 hour journey went in a flash! I have now read and enjoyed most of the books by Andrew Taylor, although not in any chronological order and I am very much hoping it won't be long before his next novel is published!
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on 5 April 2013
Another great read from Taylor, exciting, touching, totally believable. As usual with him, I was sorry when it ended. A most interesting riff on the varieties of loyalty.
My problem is that I am always hoping he will return to his wonderful Lydford series. Maybe he's right not to, but they were so mesmerisingly good that I pine for another.
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on 24 September 2013
I have always been an Andrew Taylor fan and this book ranks with The American Boy as one of his best. It is well written and the storyline evolves cleverly and in gradual steps leading to a full blown mystery and whodunnit. I got to the stage where I found it difficult to put down as it builds up pace to the climax. There is an amazing sense of time and place throughout and the characters are cleverly crafted leading you to continually question who is trustworthy and who is not. The main female character is certainly an enigma, but all is revealed as the book moves to its conclusion.

A great read which I was sad to finish.
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