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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.
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on 22 June 2017
This is the second book I have read in this series and have found them to be a satisfying and enjoyable experience. Setting is a country village..main character being the parson,ably assisted in his adventures by the doctor and a variety of colourful village residents .Well paced and interesting plots and various social issues aired.
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on 21 October 2014
Warwickshire 1811, and the second outing for the Rev. Tobias Campion, rector of the rural parish of Moreton St Jude. Despite a wealthy family background, Campion has chosen this relatively impecunious profession through personal commitment and with his good friend Dr Edward Hansard, are important members of the village and parish.
With the return to Moreton Hall of the widowed Lady Chase and subsequent discovery of a murdered stranger on her lands, Campion is involved in the search to uncover the truth, and also to find the truth about Lady Chase’s missing son and her to the title and estate. Matters are further complicated by the presence of the odious Sir Marcus Bramhall and family, Lady Chase’s nephew, and the heir to Moreton Hall if the son is indeed not alive. The author has a fine ear for the language and narrative of early 19th Century England, and together with an entertaining story and well-crafted plot, makes for excellent historical fiction – even though the identity of the murderer is rather flagged in advance of the denouement. My only negative observation is the unusually high number of printing errors and words repeated or missing in the text.
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on 9 November 2010
This was the second Tobias Campion novel and I preferred it to the first. I felt more involved with the characters, although this may partly be because it was the second time I met them. Also, there wasnt the gratuitous violence that reared its head in the first story - and proved that a story could be just as strong without that if it is well written.

In this book Tobias is settling into his parish when Lady Chase arrives in the area. She is still hoping that her missing son and heir may be alive although all around her have given up hope. We join her in this hope as her odious nephew arrives to start staking his claim to the inheritence which would be his if her son is indeed dead.

As various plots develop and start to come together the book becomes increasingly interesting. Coupled with Judith Culters elegant writing style this was an excellent read and I cant wait for future stories in this series.
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VINE VOICEon 6 September 2010
Excellent work from Judith Cutler, it takes you right back in time and describes the kind of life lived in that era the 1800's as well as being a murder mystery. You can't stop turning the pages, so be warned you will be up most of the night.
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on 24 January 2012
I was really disappointed. The editing deteriorates towards the end of the book and the errors are laughable. Don't know who should be more embarrassed the author or the editor!
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on 10 August 2012
In truth this is quite disappointing. The characters never really develop and the storyline is flat. I kept hoping it would come to life but I'm afraid id didn't.
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on 31 May 2015
A really unusual and intriguing detective story.
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on 31 October 2011
It's 1812 or thereabouts: a country parson is involved in a hunt for a murderer, an absconding governess and a missing heir.
As a lover of historical murder mysteries I'm always looking for a new series. This one sounded promising, but somehow it just refused to come to life.
Mostly because I found it hard to believe in or care about the dull and rather pompous Parson Campion and the fuss he makes about hiding the fact that he's really posh Lord Whatever. None of his relationships with his friends, parishioners and servants rings true - his attempted love affair with the beautiful Lady Dorothea is particularly unconvincing. And is he meant to be harbouring a secret passion for his beloved groom, Jem, or is that just me?
It could have been an interesting murder mystery but it's very slow, unfocussed and convoluted. There are too many dull conversations, and too much detail about hackney carriages, dinners and domestic arrangements to show that the author has done her research. The book would have been much better if she'd concentrated on developing some more believable characters and writing some decent dialogue instead.
But what put me off the most was the wholesale lifting of regency slang, cant terms and speech patterns from the novels of Georgette Heyer, which I thought was completely shameless. Or even 'idiotish', as we Heyer fans might say - did she think we wouldn't notice?
Worth a try, but I won't be reading any more of these.
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on 27 October 2014
Very enjoyable read
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