Top positive review
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A wonderful story, but poor editing in 2009 paperback.
on 3 October 2011
Judith Cutler's second book in her historical mysteries is every bit as wonderful as the first, The Keeper of Secrets. Tobias Campion has settled in and made his place secure as the rector of Moreton St. Jude. Even though his life had previously been one of wealth and privilege Tobias felt a sincere calling to become a servant of his Maker. The poor are always on his mind and he spends his days trying to make their lives more comfortable. Lady Chase is now widowed and she returns to Moreton Hall to await word of the search she is conducting to find her son, Hugo, Viscount Wombourn, who has been missing since the battle of Talavera in 1808. No word has been heard from him since he went missing from the battlefield, but his mother is sure he is still alive. Into this scene comes a stranger who is found dead in a swollen stream. No identification is possible and there are no clues as to why he was in the area until a newspaper advertisement regarding a reward for information about Viscount Wombourn is found in the man's boot. There are plots and sub-plots aplenty in this very well written mystery taking place in 1811 in this rural English neighborhood.
I really enjoy the way Judith Cutler writes her historical novels. I like seeing how the society is divided and the extremes that each level goes to to keep it that way. It is obvious that the author had done much research so she not only puts the characters in their proper historical positions, but she also gives them life so they become people, not simply characters. This novel has several different mysteries going on at once but by the ending of the book they have all been made to dovetail into one complete story.
The only reason I have not given this novel a full five star rating is because of the editing. I thought at first that some type of regional method of speaking was taking place when I would struggle so much with particular sentences. No, it turned out that it was simply very poor editing. Many, many words are omitted, there are many times when singular words should have been plural, and several times when the wrong character name was used. It made for a distraction which took me away from what was happening in the book and made me focus on something which should never have been a factor. My copy is the paperback edition published in 2009. It really is a shame that something which could have been so easily corrected had to interfere with my enjoyment of this novel.