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on 23 November 2010
DEVOURED sounded to me at first like yet another vampire novel, but how wrong I was ... it's far more gripping, far more sophisticated than just another take on the bloodsucker bodice-ripper. Gothic novels may have been conceived as 18thC sensationalism - and D. E. Meredith is gratifyingly true to the genre, with plenty of gloomy architecture, wicked and twisted characters, defenceless females - though NB they are by no means ALL defenceless, and not all the corpses are female, either - and there's a gruesomely mangled body to stumble over round every dark corner. However, as the story leads the reader deeper into the mysterious underworld of its setting (from a snowclad, fog-swirled London out to the jungles of Borneo) it is clear that this is no Victorian Aga-saga: behind this plot there's a mind like a steel trap. With scientific precision, Meredith takes on the birth of forensics against a backdrop of times shaken by Darwin and awash with the controversy surrounding evolutionary theory...a neat parallel is drawn between a baby Orang Utan shot by a Dutch explorer (with a 'gentleman's gun') and the abuse of class privilege as a member (*cough*) of the aristocracy is suspected of being involved in less than humane practices towards females of his own species...I don't want to say too much, for this is a pageturner of a book and is well worth a read.
The characters Roumande and Hatton survive to tell the tale, however, so here's hoping a sequel's on the cards....Devoured (A Hatton & Roumonde Mystery)
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on 21 August 2011
Denise E. Meredith writes a murder mystery that grabs you right at the beginning and you can't let go. Her language, a deft touch and eye for detail brings to life the story and you soon feel like being part of the book and witnessing the story yourself.
You will find yourself in London, 1856, in the middle of The Victorian era. Professor Hatton and his assistant Roumonde are called to the crime scene at Lady Bessinghams bedroom to assist Scotland Yard in finding the solution of the criminal case. These two belong to the very first individuals to apply the methods of forensic scientists and through their discoveries it becomes more and more obvious that this is not a simple murder.
It is far more shocking than that. With many twists and surprises in the plot you will witness a time when scientists are on their mission to discover, describe and classify the entire natural world while others strongly oppose the idea of evolution as it conflicts with their theological and sociological convictions and try anything to keep their own order of the world.
Denise has written an amazing mystery thriller that made me feel so engrossed with the story I forgot I was reading.
I cannot wait to read Denise's next book THE DEVIL'S RIBBON.
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on 12 January 2011
D E Meredith's Devoured is an engrossing read set in both Victorian London and the jungles of Borneo.
It is a Victorian mystery with a very complex but absorbing plot... an unputdownable read.
I was immediately drawn into the world of Victorian England and felt immersed in the plot from the first page.
I loved the beautiful prose, descriptions and meeting intriguing and likeable characters as well as the wicked and twisted ones.
A gripping, absorbing page turner that I can't recommend enough......Brilliant.
Looking forward to not only more in the series but a television/film adaptation.
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on 25 November 2010
Unfamiliar with this genre, I thought I'd have a go and what a treat! Sumptuous in its description, I felt transported back into the mid 19th century and hugely pleased to be living now! The grime and poverty of Victorian England is vividly depicted, along with the tensions between the established authorities and the oppressed. A great backdrop to a tale of intrigue and shame that winds its way through the heart of London's powerbrokers to the least of her inhabitants. And all this carefully dissected and evaluated by the embryonic new science of forensics. A really enjoyable read. I hope there is more where this came from.
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on 18 November 2010
Having worked for both The Natural History Museum and The Royal College of Pathologists (odd combination I know!) this booked immediately ticked the right boxes so when I realised it was gripping read too - all the better! I loved the pace of the novel and the evocative portrayal of Victorian life around the time of the emergence of new thinking on evolution. The characters were well formed but at the end the book left me wanting to know more about them - perhaps this is a good thing in that it will encourage me to read the next novel by this author and the further adventures of Dr Hatton. Great stuff.
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on 25 November 2010
Loved this. A gripping story that twists and turns through the dark streets of Victorian London and way, way beyond. Meredith manages to keep each strand of this deeply textured novel pulled taut while allowing everything room to breathe. A hugely satisfying read. How often do you get epic and exciting combined with subtle and nuanced? Good bet if you like dark and gothic; good bet if you like detective thriller; good bet if you like rich, unexpected prose.
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on 8 May 2011
As a big fan of the historical mystery genre, I am a critical reader but this does not disappoint. I had just finished working my way through the complete set of Sherlock Holmes mysteries so this made a really interesting contrast - stuffed with all the period detail but with a style to appeal to a modern audience. The central characters of Hatton and Roumande are nicely drawn with plenty of scope for development. Well written and lots of fun - next instalment please!
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on 1 March 2011
This pacey crime novel grabs you by the throat and pulls you through it pages, taking you by turns on a dark journey through Victorian London via the jungles of Borneo. D E Meredith manages to deliver a beautifully written complex tale, plenty of grisly murders, and an extraordinary insight into early forensics and the rise of the Men of Science. This is no mean feat for a first novel. I eagerly await the next Hatton and Roumande mystery.
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on 19 November 2010
I couldn't put this book down. The foggy streets of Victorian London really came alive through the clever descriptions of the fashions and the characters. The research into early forensics was fascinating and the jungles of Borneo were an excellent backdrop for the intrigue surrounding the early naturalists.In addition to the historical drama it is also a page turning thriller. It would make a fantastic film.
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on 15 October 2012
I quite liked this book, especially the pathologist and his assistant. I felt the book became less convincing when it focused on the sexual plot line... It seems to many mysteries instead of developing plots and characters veer towards sensationalism .
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