Saturday, February 12, 2011

Gothic Mystery Meets CSI

Instruments of Darkness
by Imogen Robertson

Set in late 18th century England, Instruments of Darkness is a wonderfully intriguing novel. Robertson successfully manages to intertwine gothic suspense with period forensics, a concept that has never before been so charmingly presented.

The story follows Harriet Westerman, the strong-minded wife of a sea captain and Gabriel Crowther, a crusty and secretive anatomist. The two are drawn into an unlikely team after Harriet finds a dead man on her property with ties to Thornleigh Hall, the rather menacing home of the invalid Earl of Sussex. As Harriet and Crowther begin their partnership a man is murdered in front of his children in his London music shop. While it is no great leap to see that the two events are thoroughly connected, or who it is that set the events in motion the story unfolds compellingly.

Roberton’s characters each have their own hidden depths and secrets, many of which are not answered within this first novel (it will become a series), these multi-layered beings entice readers to stay with the plot, despite the rather obvious conclusion. Yet, don’t let the ease of the plot throw you off, the book is well-written and entertaining, it’s enough of a mystery to keep you hooked, if only to see how the characters will react to the outcome. It is these characters that will bring readers back for future sequels.

In all, this is a good period mystery, sure to entertain fans of writers like Alan Bradley and Anne Perry.

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