Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT THE CODE FOR KILLING by William Savage @penandpension #SundayBlogShare

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs at

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Terry has been reading The Code For Killing by William Savage


The Code for Killing (The Dr Adam Bascom Mysteries Book 2) by [William Savage]


5 out of 5 stars

I loved William Savage’s debut novel, An Unlamented Death, so was eager to read the next in the series. The Code for Killing re-acquaints us with 18th century Norfolk doctor Adam Bascom, who has, once more, become involved in a murder mystery, this time to do with a possible spy passing information to the French. I enjoyed this book even more than the first; it was one of those I was disappointed to finish.

As with the previous book, the murder mystery itself plays a second part, for me, though it’s well thought out, intriguing and not predictable. What keeps me turning the pages is the prose itself, a joy to read. The main body of the novel is conversation, and the characters are so beautifully illustrated by their dialogue alone that they need little else to bring them to life. I was pleased to renew my acquaintance with Adam’s apothecary friend Peter Lassimer, a cheerful ladies’s man, with the eccentric Captain Mimms, and his mother’s sparky companion, Sophia LaSalle. New characters are introduced, too: the lovely Daniel Foucard, an aristocrat on his deathbed who befriends Adam, and delightful incidentals such as ‘lady of the night’ Molly Hawkins, and sailors Peg and Dobbin. Forming the backdrop of the story is the unrest amongst the common people of Norfolk due to the greedy and illegal practices of a certain miller, and the dissatisfaction that results from the war with France. Times were as uncertain and dangerous then as now…

When reading this book I became completely absorbed in the time and the characters; however, I did find myself wishing for more descriptive detail. I am familiar with some of the landmarks, such as the Maid’s Head Hotel, Gentleman’s Walk and Cow Tower in Norwich, and also the Black Boys in Aylsham, so I could imagine the settings, but for anyone who doesn’t know Norfolk it might not be so easy to do so. For instance, on Adam’s journeys to London I was looking forward to reading about what the landscape was actually like between Norwich and London. What was the inside of a Drury Lane theatre like? A London Inn? The inside of the seedy Lampson’s cafe? How about the road from Norwich out to the coast? Historical fiction addicts like me love to read about times gone by because we want to immerse ourselves in the past—so we want to know what these people of over 200 years ago would have seen! The same with the insides of the houses, the day to day activities. There was more description as the book went on, but I yearned for yet more! I am not a one for pages and pages of description of soft furnishings and clothes, but a little more creation of atmosphere would have made me enjoy this book even more.

Despite this very minor complaint (which I am sure would not be an issue for many), I have no hesitation in giving the book 5 stars; I think more description would take William Savage from being an extremely good writer of historical fiction into a truly great one.

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12 thoughts on “Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT THE CODE FOR KILLING by William Savage @penandpension #SundayBlogShare

  1. I’m not very big for reading descriptions, but that’s one of the beauties of historical fiction… Thanks, Terry, it sounds fantastic.


    • Nor am I, Olga – I want to get on with what’s happening. But with this one I just wanted to be more IMMERSED in the time. I don’t mean endless detailed description (yawn!), just a few words here and there ~ because you can be descriptive without being wordy! It’s a terrific book, though – the best indication of this is that afterwards I bought and read his only other one I hadn’t read, because I needed to read more by him 🙂


    • It is, I’ve read all three of his books and loved them all. I think I like his second, The Fabric of Murder, best, but I’d recommend them all. They don’t have to be read in any order, and TFOM is completely separate.

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    • Well said, Noelle! Thanks for all comments – this is some of the best historical fiction I’ve read, and I do hope some of you take up the recommendation! 😀


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