Top positive review
Not a "detective" story, but a presentation of evidence.
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.