Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT A SHORTCUT TO MURDER by William Savage @penandpension #HistFic

Today’s team review is from Liz, she blogs here https://lizannelloyd.wordpress.com/

#RBRT Review Team

Liz has been reading A Shortcut To Murder by William Savage

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This was my third foray into the world of young Doctor Adam Bascom and I feel quite at home now in rural, Georgian Norfolk. Although suitable to read as a stand-alone novel, loyal followers of his earlier adventures will understand the distress he is causing to his erstwhile admirer, Sophia LaSalle, by constantly visiting the charming widow, Lady Alice.

Once again Adam must solve a challenging murder mystery, but on this occasion, he precipitates action in order to flush out the culprit. He is maturing in skill and confidence. If only he could understand women and his own feelings, his life might be less complicated!

We meet some new characters in this book, the highlight being newly qualified lawyer, Charles Scudamore, who could easily be given his own novel. Exuberant but sometimes lacking direction, he and his twin sister, Ruth, are severely reprimanded by their aunt, Lady Alice, even though she is only a few years older than they are.

The victim is thoroughly unpleasant landowner, Sir Jackman Wennard, who may have died by accident after falling from his horse, but Adam’s brother Giles, the local Magistrate, suspects foul play. Adam’s investigations are hindered by lack of cooperation from Sir Jackman’s son, Robert and the case is further complicated by the arrival of Sir Jackman’s first wife, Sarah.

At times, Adam’s deliberations are rather long-winded but it is a complex plot which requires explanation. There is certainly plenty of action and emotional outbursts and the late autumn context allows for portentous description such as, “The air had been full of the smell of decay and the decline of another year.”
Another enjoyable read about a very likeable hero.

Book Description

After helping solve two murders, 18th-century Norfolk physician Dr Adam Bascom just wants to get back to his medical work. Fate, however, seems determined to keep him off-balance. His brother, Giles, is called upon as magistrate to investigate the death of Sir Jackman Wennard, rake, racehorse breeder and baronet. 

The man’s son insists his father died by falling from his horse in a hunting accident. The coroner’s medical examiner has other ideas. He says the baronet died from a single blow to the neck hard enough to snap his spine in two—a blow that came from the front. To Giles, Adam is the perfect choice to give a second opinion and resolve the disagreement. 

Adam is soon convinced it was murder, so agrees to help his brother find the killer. This is going to be no easy task. For a start, the crime appears impossible. How could the blow be delivered with such force when the man was on the back of a large horse? How could the killer have known where and when to lie in wait? No one could have foreseen Sir Jackman’s movements on the morning of his death—not even the man himself. If some kind of trap was used, how did it kill so cleanly, then disappear within moments? 

The unresolved questions keep piling up. Why did Sir Jackman Wennard abruptly ride off on his own in the opposite direction to everyone else? Why was he returning from yet another direction? Where had he been? Did the gunshots some say they heard have anything to do with what happened? Did they even exist? 

Faced with an impossible crime, conflicting evidence and the hostility of the dead man’s son, who refuses even to discuss his father’s death, Adam turns once more to his friends and contacts. Along the way, he faces growing emotional conflicts as well as factual ones. His mother is determined to find him a wife; he doesn’t want to marry; and he hasn’t yet come close to understanding his real feelings. 

In the midst of these uncertainties, drama turns into crisis. Everything known about Sir Jackman Wennard and his family is thrown into confusion by an event from the man’s past. The Wennard family fragments, his son is reported kidnapped and the whole neighbourhood is suddenly plagued by a rash of highway robberies. As events plunge out-of-control towards the inevitable confrontation between past and present, can Adam pull his ideas together and move fast enough to prevent more lives being put at risk? 

About the author

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William started to write fiction as a way of keeping his mind active in retirement. He had always lectured and written extensively on business topics, including three books, many articles and a successful leadership blog which garnered more than 5000 regular followers. He has no intention of letting his mind stagnate or his creativity wither. This means finding new sources of interest and inspiration.

Throughout his life, William has read and enjoyed hundreds of detective stories and mystery novels. One of his other loves is history, especially the local history of the many places where he has lived. It seemed natural to put the two together. Thus began two series of murder mystery books set in Norfolk. Four books have appeared so far and he is currently at work on a fifth.

William’s books are set between 1760 and around 1800. This was a period of turmoil in Britain, with constant wars, the revolutions in America and France and finally the titanic, 22-year struggle with Napoleon. The Ashmole Foxe series takes place at the start of this time and is located in Norwich. Mr Foxe is a dandy, a bookseller and, unknown to most around him, the mayor’s immediate choice to deal with anything likely to upset the peace or economic security of the city. The series featuring Dr Adam Bascom, a young gentleman-physician caught up in the beginning of the Napoleonic wars, takes place in a variety of locations nearer to the North Norfolk coast. Adam tries to build a successful medical practice, but his insatiable curiosity and a knack for unravelling intrigue constantly involve him in mysteries large and small.

William has spent a good deal of his life travelling in Britain and overseas. After obtaining his degree at Cambridge, he set out on a business career, during which he lived in most parts of the UK, as well as spending eleven years in the USA. He has been a senior executive, an academic and a consultant to many multinational companies. Now he is more than content to write stories and he has a superb blog, devoted to the world of Georgian England, which you can find at http://www.penandpension.com.

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