Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT DARK THREADS OF VENGEANCE by William Savage @penandpension

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

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Noelle has been reading Dark Threads Of Vengeance by William Savage


This is book two in the Ashmole Foxe Georgian Mysteries. I didn’t read the first but didn’t have to, since this is a self-contained story. I looked forward to the read, because I have read and reviewed two other books by William Savage in the Dr. Adam Bascom Georgian Mystery series and found both of them intensely interesting from both the historical and mystery perspectives.

This series is set in Norwich, England, in the 1760s. Its main character, Ashmole Foxe, is an enigma – a bookstore owner whose store in seldom open for business, and a man who dresses in a dandified fashion. He is taken by many to be somewhat of a fop, visiting the theater and prostitutes alike, but in fact is well-educated and is at ease in the company of both peers and merchants. This positions him to take on investigations that would be awkward for others.

This time, the mayor of Norwich is demanding Foxe find the murderer of a prominent merchant and banker, Joseph Morrow, who body is found in the hold of a wherry, reeking of alcohol and feces. The mayor is afraid the city will be crippled by a financial panic when Morrow’s murder is revealed and sends Alderman Halloran to run interference for him with Foxe. Before Foxe can even find clues in his investigation, the Alderman demands that he drop his inquiries into the murder to solve the problem of the apparent theft of some of his favorite books.

Complicating the investigation is the fact that Joseph Morrow was Bible-thumping, holier-than-thou teetotaler, who treated his servants badly and beat his wife. The number of possible murderers increases exponentially as the tale unfolds.

Foxe soon realizes he has no clues and few ideas, and without his much-loved companions, the Catt sisters (two ladies of pleasure), he has lost his ability to gather information from the streets. He hires the widow of a bookstore owner, Susannah Crombie, to run his shop, and she soon has the place stocked and jumping with sales, which makes him a prosperous merchant. How can he restore his reputation for high fashion and low morals? Surprisingly, Susannah proves a bottomless source of ideas and help.

Despite a riveting opening chapter, it took me a bit longer to enjoy this book, compared to the Adam Bascom mysteries. Perhaps it was because my medical background related to Bascom or the fact Foxe is not an immediately sympathetic character. However, the witty dialogue and the humor of Foxe’s appearance soon won me to him. How can one not snicker at a man dressed in a plum-colored velvet coat, matching breeches, and a pink silk waistcoat and stockings, all heavily embroidered? Foxe believes himself to be the height of fashion!

As usual, the author pays incredible attention to the details of 18th century Norwich, its society and social and domestic norms. The plight of the single or widowed women, of orphans, and of unlucky servants is carefully told, and the value of the historical information counters the fact that this book is somewhat overheavy with telling. I also enjoyed the details of bookselling.

In short, I recommend this book and feel certain that readers of history, mystery, and general fiction will find it engaging and enjoyable.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT DARK THREADS OF VENGEANCE by William Savage @penandpension

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

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Terry has been reading Dark Threads Of Vengeance by William Savage


Dark Threads of Vengeance by William Savage

4.5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by me as a member of Rosie Amber’s Review Team

The second book, a stand alone, in the Ashmole Foxe series. Foxe is an charismatic and witty businessman living in 18th century Norwich, a sociable and inquisitive chap with his finger in many pies, who is often called upon by those in power in the city to help solve crimes. This time, it is the murder of Joseph Morrow, a devoutly religious and widely disliked banker, and owner of a yarn business.

The story begins with his murder, an excellent start. This is the fourth book I have read by William Savage, and, as before, I enjoyed the descriptions of the Norfolk of 250 years ago; the domestic detail is well-placed, and of interest to anyone who wishes to know more about how people lived in this time. The author’s strength is his witty dialogue and characterisation, and in this book both lived up to my expectations. There is a marvellous part when Foxe, recently depressed by circumstances in his private life, dresses extravagantly one morning to lift his spirits. On entering his bookshop, he imagines his business partner’s surprised expression to be one of awe at his fine appearance, though the reader learns that the reason for her raised eyebrows is that she wonders if he has taken leave of his senses, to be dressed in such ridiculous finery at this time in the morning. Later, another associate described him as a ‘strutting popinjay’. I loved that!

I found the beginning of the book a little exposition-heavy, as Foxe’s circumstances are explained to the reader; although this book is a stand alone, better description is given about him in his first book, The Fabric of Murder, but it is not necessary to read it first. On occasion I found the intricacies of the plot a little repetitive and long-winded, but, as always with this author’s books, I am just thinking ‘hmm, this is going on a bit’ when it perks up. When this happens, it’s great; the good in his books is very, very good indeed.

Recommended for all who like clever, light mystery fiction of this period, and who like to learn something of the history, too.

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