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.

Goodreads | AmazonUS | AmazonUK | Twitter

THE WINNERS! #TuesdayBookBlog #RBRT Bookreview team presents: The Gold & Silver 2016 Book Awards

The Winners!#RBRT Rosie’s Book Review Team presents: The Gold & Silver Rose Awards 2016

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*Cough* … On behalf of my team, I’m delighted to announce the winners and runners-up in the #RBRT 2016 book awards!

Books were selected from the several hundred submitted to our team for review over the past year, with the 24 finalists voted for by the reviewing team. These finalists were then offered up to the public for voting. Congratulations to the 8 winners and runners up!

A click of the book’s title will take you to Goodreads, where you can see reviews, and also leads to the Amazon, etc, buy links.

 

Fantasy / SciFi/ Horror

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Winner: The Prince’s Man by Deborah Jay

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Runner-up: Passing Notes by D G Driver

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Historical Fiction

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Winner: The Elizabeth Papers by Jenetta James

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Runner-Up: Back Home by Tom Williams

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Mystery Thriller

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Winner: On Lucky Shores by Kerry J Donovan

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Runner-Up: Rack & Ruin (previously titled Murder & Mayhem) by Carol Hedges

Contemporary

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Winner: The Disobedient Wife by Annika M Stanley

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Runner-Up: Scotch On The Rocks by Lizzie Lamb

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Congratulations to all the following finalists:

The Black Orchid by Celine Jean-Jean

Blood Of The Sixth by K R Rowe

Flesh by Dylan J Morgan

The Final Virus by Carol Hedges

La Petite Boulain by G Lawrence

When Doves Fly by Lauren Gregory

Jasper by Tony Riches

The Code For Killing by William Savage

Trust Me I Lie by Louise Marley

Wings Of Mayhem by Sue Coletta

Murder at the Lighthouse by Frances Evesham

Trust Me by Earl Javorsky

What Jennifer Knows by Wendy Janes

The Bad Girl by L Donsky-Levine

Silent Water by Jan Ruth

The Brazilian Husband by Rebecca Powell

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

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs at http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

#RBRT Review Team

Terry has been reading A Shortcut to Murder by William Savage

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A Shortcut to Murder by William Savage

4.5 stars

The third murder mystery set in 18th century rural Norfolk, in which the now wealthy and ever inquisitive doctor, Adam Bascom, sets out to discover the truth behind evil doings.

As with the other books in this series, A Shortcut to Murder is filled with delightfully portrayed characters of the time: the chattering ladies seeking marriage for their offspring, girls either fashion conscious and empty-headed, or frustrated by how the society into which they are born places limits on their lives.  There are the village folk, the innkeepers and farmers, all aware of their station in life and suspicious of folk from elsewhere ~ not unlike the Norfolk of some 250 years later.

I do like reading about the history of a county I know well, within these books; only a few years ago I ate at The Three Pigs at Edgefield, mentioned in the book, though I think it is now just called The Pigs, and I daresay the decor has changed!  More interesting still, an innkeeper’s wife in Cley supplies Adam with information about the area in Tudor times.  Adam may have been eager to change the subject, but I wanted to know more!

Usually with Mr Savage’s books I feel that the plot is secondary to the characterisation and dialogue, but with this one I gave a silent round of applause to the clever plot, too ~ I am not much of a one for unravelling mysteries, but this one had me most intrigued and I thought it was artfully put together.  That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the characters as much as usual, particularly the wealthy and idle Scudamore twins.  The only downside I ever find with books by this author is the occasional over-egging of the plot detail, with every intricate detail discussed once too often, and in the middle there was a patch when I felt the dialogue was too information loaded and I wanted to say, ‘oh, get on with it’, but then it very swiftly did, and I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the book.

I think that this would be enjoyed by all lovers of the historical period, by anyone who respects a well thought out mystery, and, of course, by those like myself who love Norfolk.   

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

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? 

Find the author on Twitter

 

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

Today’s team review is from Noelle, she blogs here http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

#RBRT Review Team

Noelle has been reading A Shortcut To Murder by William Savage

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#Book Review: A Shortcut to Murder by William Savage @penandpension #RBRT #historical mystery

This review is for Rosie’s #Bookreview team. The book was purchased by the reviewer.

A Shortcut To Murder is the third in The Dr. Adam Bascom Mysteries set in Georgian England. I’ve read the first two and was intrigued by the historical setting and, since I’m married to a physician and taught medical students for years, was drawn to the sleuth.

The main character, Dr. Adam Bascom, practices medicine in Aylsham, a small town in Norwich. His closest friend, and the person off of whom he bounces ideas, is Peter Lassimer, a pharmacist and a confirmed ladies’ man. Indeed, Dr. Bascom’s unmarried status is the subject of many of their interchanges and a thread running through this book, as in the first two, but with more intensity.

After solving the previous two murders, the good doctor is anxious to get back to treating patients, and his first is the nephew of Lady Alice, young widow of one of Bascom’s former patients. Bascom becomes progressively drawn into this family and drawn to Lady Alice as the story evolves. However, he is interrupted in his practice yet again, this time called by his brother, Giles, a magistrate, to confirm the findings of a local coroner in the death of Sir Jackman Wennard, a local landowner, debauching scoundrel, racehorse breeder and baronet. His son, now Sir Robert, is an equally repugnant character and refuses to accept that his father’s death was anything more than an accident.

Sir Jackman was killed by a blow to his body, which caused him to fall off his horse and break his neck. Bascom quickly confirms the injury he sustained could not have resulted from a simple fall, but rather from running into a rope, which flung him back and all but severed his head from his body. There are many unresolved questions and as some are answered, others emerge. How could the blow be delivered with such force? How could the killer have known where and when to lie in wait? – especially since no one could have foreseen Sir Jackman’s movements on the morning of his death.

Who is the woman who caused Sir Jackman to take the path he did that morning, and why is his son so determined to prevent the lawyers from assessing Jackman’s belongings in order to probate his will? Piling on to Bascom’s confusion is the kidnapping of Sir Robert. Is it related to the rash of highway robberies plaguing local roads?

This is the densest of the author’s mysteries yet, with many threads that as they are pulled, reveal others. It also adds more depth to the main character, his determination to find the answers, his insight, and also his confusion about himself – does he want to remain a country doctor and how does he truly feel about women? Add to that a wealth of detailed information about life in Georgian Norwich, all of which gives the reader a rich slice of life at that time.

There are some drawbacks to this novel: there are long dialogue dumps and there is repetition galore as Bascom goes over and over what he knows with various friends and family. As I result, I did skim some pages.

Overall, though, I enjoyed this book as much as the previous one and would recommend it to anyone who likes historical mysteries.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

 

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

Today’s team review is from Noelle, she blogs at http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

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.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

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

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs at http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Terry has been reading Dark Threads Of Vengeance by William Savage

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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.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

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

Today’s team review is from Noelle, she blogs at http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Noelle has been reading The Code For Killing By William Savage

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Book Review: The Code for Killing by William Savage

This review is for Rosie’s #Bookreview team. The book was purchased by the reviewer.

The Code for Killing is the second in a mystery series set in Georgian England. I read the first in the series and was intrigued by the historical setting and, since I’m married to a physician and taught medical students for years, was drawn to the sleuth, an MD and his closest friend, Peter Lassimer, a pharmacist and a confirmed ladies’ man.

I liked this book even better than the first. The main character, Dr. Adam Bascom, is written with more depth and angles to his character. He is highly intelligent with keen deductive skills, but as the story opens, he is bored with his rural practice and despairing of many of his patients – cantankerous wealthy people who do not pay their bills. He enjoyed his role as a novice detective in the first of his investigations, when he sussed out the murderer of man whose body was found in a graveyard, and longs for more excitement. He is also clueless about women, and his mother despairs he will ever form any attachment leading to marriage.

Bascom doesn’t have to endure his situation for long because he receives an urgent summons from Mr. Wicken, who had some interaction with Bascom on the previous case and heads up a clandestine department of the British government charged with finding spies. A young man has been attacked in Norwich. He is in a catatonic state, and Bascom is asked to treat him because this man is an important a code breaker for the government. In addition, the King’s Messenger who was bringing the young man documents to decode has been murdered, and the documents are missing. Before he can get to Norwich, however, Bascom is summoned by his brother to do a post-mortem on an unpopular miller and testify at the ensuing inquest. The way in which the author unravels all the threads of the story is compelling.

Characters are one of Savage’s fortes. He introduces us to several women who attract Bascom’s attention: the delightful and intelligent Sophie LaSalle, his mother’s companion, who insists on helping him with his investigations; the flirtatious Phoebe Farnsworth, an actress who introduces Bascom to the London stage; and the young and faithful wife of the elderly and wise Sir Daniel Fouchard, who requests the skills and company of Bascom to manage his pain while he is dying. Even more colorful are Captain Mimms, an old friends of Bascom’s, whose help he enlists in the investigation; two of Mimms’ former crew, the amusing scoundrels Peg and Dobbin; and Molly, a young prostitute with a heart of gold.

Beyond the characters, what I particularly enjoy about these books is the history of the politics of time (food riots, possible war with France, privateers and spying) and descriptions of the practice of medicine and pharmacy. Savage also gives the reader a fine-tuned description of Georgian society and manners and lively dialog in the manner of the times. The conversations drive the story.

I was decidedly kept guessing about where the various threads of the story would lead and how they would come together as they twisted and turned around Bascom’s detecting. This is story telling at its best. I give The Code for Killing five stars and highly recommend this series. Is it obvious I’m looking forward to reading the next book?

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT THE CODE FOR KILLING by William Savage @penandpension #HistFic

Today’s team review is from Jenny, she blogs at http://jennyworstall.wordpress.com

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Jenny has been reading The Code For Killing by William Savage

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

The Code for Killing is a fascinating historical mystery set in Georgian England. It is the second novel in a series and there are fairly frequent references to the previous mystery, but the novel can be read and enjoyed without any previous knowledge of the first book..

The main character is Dr Adam Boscom – a man who, for all his intellect and skills, has very little understanding of women, much to his mother’s despair and also amusement. Adam relies on quite a few women to help him solve the mystery, including the delightful and spirited Miss Sophia LaSalle. I do hope there will be a sequel as I would love to hear more from this character in particular.

The mystery is set in the turbulent times of the late 1700s and there are many details about the political situations of the period, such as the riots in Norfolk, that add greatly to the vividness of the storytelling. The characters come from all walks of life – we meet the wise Sir Daniel Fouchard, Miss Phoebe Farnsworth the actress and the wonderfully named pair of sailors, Peg and Dobbin, to mention a few among many gems. The details of medical conditions and treatments at that time are described in interesting detail and I was very amused when London was described as ‘noisy and crowded’ by Adam on his welcome return to Aylsham – some things don’t change!

All in all, a really good, well-written story, with great richness of detail. Thoroughly recommended!

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT THE CODE FOR KILLING by William Savage @penandpension #FridayReads

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

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Liz has been reading The Code For Killing by William Savage

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The Code for Killing opens on a damp miserable day in 18th century Norfolk, where young Dr Adam Bascom is in a foul mood.  Fed up with traipsing through the muddy tracks to visit cantankerous wealthy patients, who are reluctant to pay his bills, he is in need of a change and perhaps some excitement.  But soon his life is taken over by murder investigations and constant travel from his small north Norfolk village to Norwich and also to London.

In An Unlamented Death, William Savage’s previous novel about Dr Bascom, Adam discovered a body in a country churchyard, but this time his help is sought by Mr Wicken, an important government official, who sends a King’s Messenger asking him to treat an injured man in Norwich, who has been attacked in suspicious circumstances.  Adam becomes embroiled in investigating the young man’s predicament, partly because he is in a catatonic state but also because he had been employed in secret work for the country.  The murder of a King’s Messenger in the same city adds urgency to his task.  There are further complications when Adam has to testify at the inquest of an unpopular miller who also appears to have been murdered.

The investigations do not prevent us from becoming well acquainted with Adam and his friends and family.  Unlike his pleasure seeking friend, the apothecary, Peter Lassimer, Adam is awkward and tactless when engaging with women, even though he appreciates their charms.  His encounters with an actress, a whore and his mother’s educated lady companion are all rich in wit and humour.  Other interesting characters such as the two appropriately named seamen Peg and Dobbin add to the richness of the narrative.

All this against the background of Georgian society and historical details of worries about French privateers and food shortages make this novel a fascinating visit into the past, combined with an intriguing mystery solved by an empathetic hero, aided by several lively women.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk  or Amazon.com

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

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs at http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Terry has been reading The Code For Killing by William Savage

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THE CODE FOR KILLING by William Savage

5 out of 5 stars

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

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.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com