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on 27 March 2017
Not as keen on this one of this series as many of the others.
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on 4 June 2017
Hard work to read(It's not modern writing).and couldn't hold my interest for long. My wife finished it.... Wasn't impressed. Of scholarly interest though.
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on 18 May 2017
Of its time. Quite good considering when it was first written.
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on 23 June 2015
I thought this was a wonderful book but that is probably because I am a fan of the older mysteries and enjoy seeing how authors approached the genre in its young days. In this case, not just an infant but practically it's birth day. You might appreciate this novel more if you forget about it being billed as a detective novel because it definitely is not that. Instead you have an investigation presented from the point of view of an investigator for an insurance company into the death of someone the company he works for insured. As you read more and more of the letters, journal entries, statements and reports compiled by Mr. Henderson you watch his case build up.

The first of the letters concerning the characters were dated in the 1830s and the story concludes in about 1856. Watching Mr. Henderson line up his evidence regarding Baron R** and the mysterious happenings going on with those whose lives he touched was fascinating for me. Granted, this style of novel can be rather bland and dry but if you appreciate watching an expert gather his evidence you will be more likely to enjoy this novel. Knowing this story was published in 1865 gives readers a wonderful example of how the genre has evolved over time and how remarkable it was for Charles Warren Adams to have written this "first" so well. This is a novel for the reader who enjoys the language of the Victorian era and the meticulous gathering of evidence and presentation of that evidence in summary form. Quite an interesting curiosity and I'm very glad I had the chance to read it.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley.
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on 1 September 2017
This is the first detective story written and, although it contains many elements that are recognisable in modern-day mysteries, it is definitely of its time. The prose is quite dry in parts and the story does get bogged down in somewhat unnecessary detail - but it is still a good read. The characters are fairly well-written but the main narrator is very dull at times. However, you can see the makings of the modern-day detective novel within these pages. So, not a bad read.
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on 16 July 2015
The structure is very different and possibly even unique compared to other detective/crime fiction I’ve read. As it’s told through insurance investigator Henderson’s perspective layered over the facts, it comes across as very clinical in its approach. I know that sounds boring, but I actually really liked it. I also liked that parts were told from different witness’ perspectives because that made it sound much more like a real, genuine crime case rather than a work of fiction.

It also took me quite a while to figure out what was actually going on. The beginning wasn’t difficult to understand, on the flipside it was actually pretty involving, but it just jumped straight in with loads of characters at once. That made me get a bit lost, but soon enough I managed to start figuring out what happened even before Henderson did. I’m not sure if that was intentional and the reader is supposed to know the twist already, but I did and it didn’t detract from the rest of the story for me.

The Notting Hill Mystery was a good, involving read, and was definitely unique. I’m glad I got the chance to read it!
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on 18 February 2013
I bought this book because of the claim to be the first detective novel. It's a very decent read and there is a well argued introduction to support the claim. Since the main character is an insurance agent rather than a detective, it could be argued that it is the first novel of detection but not a detective novel since it contains no detective but I suppose that depends on whether the word detective is understood as a noun or a verb. The epistolary style might put some people off but I found the letters and documents interesting though it doesn't do too much for characterisation. As for the first detective novel with a detective? I guess that we are back to Wilkie Collins' Sergeant Cuff. Good for anoraks like me rather than a general read.
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on 20 January 2013
I downloaded this book after a recommendation from The Guardian.
it originally appeared as instalments in a nineteenth century magazine, and the story is a pretty standard "penny dreadful" shocker, but what makes it interesting is the style, as the story is told though letters and reports, in what we would consider to be a very modern way.
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on 25 July 2014
Very, very odd. You have to get through a lot of tosh, so it is really for people interested in the history of the detective novel or into the weirdness of the Victorians, rather than for mystery fans. But if you are interested in the period aspects, it is something you need to read. Mesmerism is a major plot mover. There is also hideous childbirth and other gratuitous female suffering, abduction by Gypsies and a sinister foreign Baron. And more.
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on 27 January 2013
Very good story well told, but lots of typos - whoever proof-read it didn't do a very good job. The format of statements from different witnesses worked well.
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