December Readathon – ROSETTA by Simon Cornish @UnforgivingMuse #Bookreview

Today we have another review from a reader taking part in my December Readathon.

December Readathon

Gordon has been reading Rosetta by Simon Cornish, Gordon blogs here


Rosetta – a great mystery


‘Rosella’ by Simon Cornish is a novella in six chapters in which Graham Chandlers attends the funeral of his former boss, Alan Hargreaves, a professor of Archaeology, and meets Alan’s adopted daughter, the mysterious Rosetta. She gives inquisitive Graham old notes and journals relating to Alan’s last dig. Inspection of these raises questions about Rosetta’s adoption, and also hints at a possible conspiracy. Looking for answers leads Graham and Rosetta into a mystery, aided by Graham’s old university mate Tim (Tinkerbell) Bell.


Cornish is a very good writer, who sprinkles his writing with some entertaining observations. The premise is very intriguing, and the university backdrop to the story feels natural and authentic. The story has such great potential but it is over and done before you know it, and that left me disappointed. Twelve or fifteen chapters would have done this brilliant story more justice but a full length novel would have been a wonderful read.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT ROSETTA by Simon Cornish @UnforgivingMuse

Today’s team book review comes from Alison, she blogs at

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Alison chose to read and review Rosetta by Simon Cornish


Rosetta by Simon Cornish

This is a novella that is packed full of potential. The author can write and write really well, and the idea behind the story is intriguing.

When his former professor dies, Dr Graham Chandlers is asked to read a eulogy at the funeral. He is shocked when the professor’s adopted daughter, the enigmatic Rosetta of the title, performs an ancient ritual over the coffin in a language that only a handful of experts would understand.

Chandlers becomes intrigued by the events that led to the adoption of Rosetta and by what happened on the professor’s final dig. His investigations lead him to develop feeling for Rosetta, and also to uncover the mystery surrounding her and the dig.

The writing is beautifully crafted at times but there are places where it felt a little overdone, as if the author was trying too hard. There were places also where there was too much unnecessary detail. Conversely, I also felt that there was so much here that could have been developed. It was all over far too quickly and far too easily. The investigation could have, and should have, taken longer, and Graham and Rosetta’s relationship deserved far more time to develop. I also found it hard to believe that Graham accepted what had happened quite so easily – without giving too much away, an academic would not be so easily convinced. The answers seemed to fall into his lap.

With a little more depth and development, the plot could be thicker and more involved. Having said that, the characters and the situation are really interesting and the writing is wonderful in places. This deserves to be developed into a full-length novel.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

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Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT Rosetta by Simon Cornish @UnforgivingMuse #TuesdayBookBlog

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

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Terry chose to read and review Rosetta by Simon Cornish


Rosetta by Simon Cornish

3.5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by me as part of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team

I quite liked this; it’s a terrific plot. Following the unexpected death of his old university professor, Graham Chandlers travels to Exeter for the funeral. He is bewildered by the strange ritual performed by the professor’s adopted daughter at the funeral service, a ritual delivered in an ancient language that only a handful of paleolinguists, Graham included, would have a hope of understanding. He is drawn in further when he studies the professor’s private journals that hint at a cover-up concerning the professor’s last dig.

This short novella is intelligently written and unusual. It’s a shame, though, that it wasn’t a bit longer with a less abrupt resolution; the story lends itself more to a full length novel, or at least a longer novella. I felt that it needed another redraft and perhaps a closer edit. Example: ‘they ate sitting at the table by the double sash windows’. Why ‘double sash’? Just ‘window’ would have been enough, or even ‘they ate at a table by the window’ (most people sit when eating, it’s not necessary to state it). I know that’s a little nit-picking, but it’s just one that jumped out at me. Novellas work best when they contain absolutely no superfluous information; some of it seemed to come directly from the research notes. Had the story been longer, such sections might have fitted in more smoothly. It could do with another proofread; there are a fair few punctuation errors.

I thought the characterisation of Tinkerbell, the jovial and hard drinking Dr Timothy Bell, was excellent, the exchanges between him and Graham spot on. I liked some of the observations very much: ‘there was a stillness to the place that was both restful and lonely’ (that gave possibly the best impression of the house), also: ‘Funerals are never nice, people say they are nice or that the service was lovely, but mostly funerals are just uncomfortable’, and the one with which the story begins: ‘There is a denial of finality that comes with the arrogance of youth.’

To sum up: a great idea, nicely written, needs a bit of tidying up and perhaps a tad more punch. Graham Chandlers is a quietly appealing character who could be taken further, I think, and I am sure that people who enjoy stories of cover-ups and mysteries will like it.

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Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT ROSETTA by Simon Cornish @UnforgivingMuse #Bookreview

Today’s team review comes from Liz, she blogs at

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Liz chose to read and review Rosetta by Simon Cornish


Simon Cornish’s novella is about the mysterious Rosetta whom we first encounter at the funeral of her father, Professor of archaeology, Alan Hargreaves.  The other protagonist in the story, Dr Graham Chandlers has been invited to give the eulogy, due to their shared professional background and he is fascinated by Alan’s adopted daughter whom he has never met before.

Rosetta is a beautiful woman, who needs a stick to help her walk and has “a rough silk” voice with an accent impossible to place.  Graham has been left Alan’s notes about his last “dig” in Turkey, many years ago, where Professor Hargreaves adopted Rosetta.  Unfortunately, another former colleague, bearded Tinkerbell (Dr Tim Bell) also tags along, acting rather strangely.

Graham is a specialist in ancient writing and he is intrigued to discover that Rosetta can speak and write the language of Hattic.  He returns to Cambridge, determined to discover all he can about Alan’s time in Turkey.  The notes reveal that an exciting discovery had been made during the dig, but it had suddenly terminated and Alan retired.  To find out more, Graham arranges to meet another ex-colleague who had been present at the time.  Meanwhile, Rosetta has disappeared.

The mystery is built up in an intriguing manner so I was looking forward to his discoveries but I was slightly disappointed that the story ended so quickly.  I believe this could have been a full length novel with an extended denouement including more tension and complications.  At times the vocabulary is a little contrived.  Graham receives “an ursine hug” from Tinkerbell when a bear hug would have been quite sufficient.  But more natural comments such as, “Graham’s alarm went off at the usual time, but after trying out consciousness, he decided it wasn’t a good idea and slept in late,” are more endearing.

There is potential for further stories about Dr Graham Chandlers, with or without Rosetta, and this is a promising first novella.

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The #MysteryNovember Book Tour Day 12 – Simon Cornish @unforgivingmuse

Climb on board the Mystery Tour bus and enjoy the ride.

Mystery Book Tour Bus copyright

Today our guest is Simon Cornish and his book Rosetta.


Book Blurb:

Damaged, enigmatic and beautiful, Rosetta could prove to be the key to unlocking a three-thousand-year-old mystery that would shake modern science to its roots.
With the unexpected death of his old university professor, Graham Chandlers travels to Exeter for the funeral. He is surprised to learn the professor had a daughter, Rosetta. He is even more surprised when she performs a strange ritual at the funeral service. A ritual delivered in an ancient language that only a handful of paleolinguists, Graham included, would have a hope of understanding.
Already intrigued by Rosetta, he is drawn in further when he is left the professor’s journals. Journals that hint at a cover up concerning the professor’s last dig and a mystery for which Rosetta holds the key. But the more he learns, the more fascinated he becomes with her.
A highly readable novella woven from the thread of both romance and mystery.
Simon Cavendish

Where is your home town? 

Ottery St. Mary, Devon, UK

What do you like about writing in the mystery genre?

I like a mystery that is not, at first, obviously so. I don’t buy into the mainstream crime fiction side, it’s the journey that gets me excited. In the case of Rosetta, it was a thrill to write a story that involved a mystery that appeared to be less and less rational the more the main protagonist learned.

What sub-genre of mystery does your book fit?

It skirts romance and even speculative fiction.

Where is your book set?

Largely around Exeter, the University campus and other locations in and around the city. Also Cambridge, London and central Turkey.

Can you introduce us to the main characters?

Dr Graham Chandlers is an archaeologist at Cambridge. A man in his early thirties, who has principles when it comes to young attractive women the same age as the postgrad students he takes for seminars. A man who has travelled to some of the most fascinating ancient sites in the world and touched markings pressed into clay by hands thousands of years before. An academic at the top of his field studying ancient languages, their origins and how they would have been spoken. One of only a handful who could hope to recognise ancient Hattic were it spoken out loud.

Where can readers find out more about you and your writing?

My website:


Where can readers find your book? (Currently FREE for a short time only)