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4.4 out of 5 stars
Anatomy of Murder
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 26 March 2015
This is the second in a series (the first being Instruments of Darkness) featuring Harriet Westerman and Gabriel Crowther. The first book was brilliant, and it was a wee while since I had read it and got to the second one, but I needn’t have worried about not remembering the main characters. Within a few pages I felt like I was revisiting old friends. The author has a unique voice in writing, where the reader is drawn immediately into the story, and feels a complete empathy with the characters and ‘sees’ the narrative being played out.

In the Prologue of the story it is May 1781 and Harriet’s husband is involved in direct action as Captain of HMS Splendour off the coast of Newfoundland. The narrative then picks up in November 1781 and takes place over the course of a few days (from 15 to 23 November), with the Epilogue in December 1781. Harriet is in London tending to her now wounded husband, and is staying with family and friends. Gabriel Crowther has also found reason to be in London. The two of them are asked to investigate possible espionage, with vital war information being passed to the French. Is there a link to the body that has just been pulled from the Thames?

This is another great story; there is action aplenty, a wonderfully detailed and winding narrative of complex motives and devious machinations. Great characters populate the pages, and the lives of these individuals are reflected in the broader canvas of the nation’s security in time of war. Harriet Westerman and Gabriel Crowther are great fictional creations, and I look forward immensely to the next in the series, Island of Bones.
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on 30 September 2012
I enjoy these books (and have reviewed others on Amazon)

I by-passed the '50 shades' phenomenon because I was reading these. An historical murder mystery with enough twists, turns and intrigue to keep you reading. I like that the author doesn't go on and on trying to describe every stone, blade of grass and button cover, but gives you enough to feed your imagination. I have recommended this author to my bookworm friends and family members, and am yet to hear their opinions. There is a slight order to these books and I would suggest that you try to read them in order. This is the second book (so far there are 4) with 'Instruments of Darkness' being the first. I didn't read them in order and still managed to thoroughly enjoy them all.
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on 12 May 2013
I've just re-read Anatomy of Murder. I am a huge admirer of Imogen Robertson's writing so read it eagerly as soon as it was published. Loved it then - think it even better now. Robertson's writing is richly energetic and she has a large cast of characters. No speed-reading or skipping permissible (or desirable) in her stories. You've got to be awake and involved and the rewards are tremendous. It may be Robertson's sense of history or her feeling for c18th London or her knowledge of music or her complex plot or her vivid characters that make this book so very good. I don't cry easily over books but, towards the end of this book, I had as much trouble holding back the tears on this second reading as I did the first time round. That's the effect of outstanding writing and a deep emotional involvement by the author. Excellent.
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on 3 July 2010
This is the sequel to Imogen Robertson's debut novel, Instruments of Darkness. Both novels are set in the 18th century, this second one in London, and recount the murder investigations that the unlikely pairing of the two principal protagonists find themselves drawn into. Dr. Crowther, coloured darkly by a past stained with tragic events, is unequalled in his expertise in post-mortem investigations. Harriet Westerman is a strong, independent woman with a will to see justice done. Their relationship of friendship and mutual reliance is finely drawn. The host of subsidiary characters in both novels are wonderful cameos, with strong characterisations emerging from their phyiscal depictions and their dialogue. These novels are quality, well-researched, historical who-dunnit page-turners, written in elegant but highly-readable prose, describing lives in a range of social settings making the writing worthy of Dickens one moment and Jane Austen the next. Highly recommended, and can't wait for the third instalment!
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on 16 February 2012
... but still a good read. The story moves along at a good pace and there is intrigue aplenty for people to get their teeth into and try and work out who is behind the plots.

The characters are well written and again drive the story forward with their diametric approaches to the problems they have before them. I found it less exciting than the first, more complex plot lines and more depth of character seemed to slow the pace a little, but this was needed to bring out the story and the book didn't suffer because of it. The third in the series follows from this and I recommend that one too!
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on 30 January 2014
This is the second in a series about Gabriel Crowther and Mrs. Westerman in 18th Century England. The story takes places exclusively in London, and details the unlikely duo's attempts to unravel a ring of spies during England's war with the U.S. Colonies. The plot is much more elaborate than the preceding book, and the stakes are much higher, as well.
Unlike the first book in the series, the two main characters already know each other quite well, and the manner and means by which they accomodate one another is enjoyable for its own sake.
I am not a fan of historical novels, nor do I have any prior interest in the 18th century, but Mrs. Robertson's writing transports you back in time so thoroughly that you can easily imagine yourself being there, and reading the account as if in a magazine. Her book is full of colorful and unusual characters that beg for their own stories, and through all the seedy grime, and sordid oppression of the period, her characters shine with realism, grit and an indominable optimism.
Most authors have weaknesses. They have great skill but not a great story, or a great story with weak characters. Or perhaps their dialogue needs polish. Imogen Robertson displays no weaknesses. I stumbled on her first Crowther novel at a discount rack at B&N, and am now an avid fan of her work. She tells a great story, has invented truly noble characters, and her writing is excellent, the editing nearly flawless. (one typo in the whole book.) This is first class wordsmithing.
I was depressed when I reached the end of the book, and then realized that there is yet one more book in the series which I plan to purchase. If you have not read her first book in this series, "Instruments of Darkness," I suggest you read that one first; but I think its safe to recommend any book by this author, such is her skill and/or dedication to quality. I highly recommend this book and this author.
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on 11 February 2013
Just as the first one, this is a great book. Reading it is a pleasure not only for its flowing prose but mainly for how well the author has depicted her characters, even the secondary ones: they all have rich personalities, Robertson has focused both on their flaws and their strengths. Excellent historical detail. To fully appreciate this story I suggest reading the first book.
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on 20 July 2014
I can't recommend her enough! Really imaginative.
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on 20 October 2014
Really enjoyed this book, it's well written and fast moving. Very satisfying to have a strong female in the lead too! Can' t wait to read the others on this series!
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on 10 April 2015
I liked it!
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