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Devoured (A Hatton and Roumande Mystery) Hardcover – October 26, 2010

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Product Details

  • Series: A Hatton and Roumande Mystery (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (October 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031255768X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312557683
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,024,778 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set in 1856, Meredith's so-so debut mixes murder with the growing anxiety in Victorian England about evolutionary theory. Insp. George Adams of Scotland Yard brings in St. Bart's professor Adolphus Hatton, who serves as adviser on medical jurisprudence to the London police, to consult on the murder of Lady Bessingham, who was bludgeoned to death with an ammonite fossil. The victim was a controversial figure in society because of her patronage of men of science unconstrained by the biblical account of the creation of humanity. More figures connected with the Bessingham inquiry die strange deaths. Meanwhile, Hatton and his morgue aide, Albert Roumande, also investigate the murders of several girls, all around 12 years old, whose skins bear curious pinpricks. The author fails to do her intriguing premise justice, nor does she bring Hatton and company sufficiently to life. (Nov.) (c)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Like the Victorian era that provides its setting, Meredith’s first novel is a carefully contrived surface, hiding dark things. For a while. The MacGuffin here is a series of letters the botanist Benjamin Broderig sends from steamy Borneo to his wealthy benefactress in London. She is murdered. The letters are stolen. The scientific establishment is even more desperate than the police to get back the letters because, we’re told, their contents would rock the known world. But excerpts will have readers scratching their heads. This is soft-core Darwinian stuff. Surely more is going on? There is, and fear of disclosure precipitates a series of murders whose details are comprehended only by the overworked pathologist Hatton and his assistant, Roumande. Their investigation goes from morgue to sweatshop to drawing room, all told in a polite, muted style that would seem to make this a lap-robe and pot-of-tea sort of novel despite the horrors that finally emerge. Its audience will comprise those who like to live in a book and are willing to let the author take her time. --Don Crinklaw

Customer Reviews

I will anxiously await the next installment.
Sophie Ottman
Denise has written an amazing mystery thriller that made me feel so engrossed with the story I forgot I was reading.
Tina Hewing
The author has a particular gift for nuanced descriptive detail, closely observed and powerfully evocative.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Devoured by D.E. Meredith is a Victorian era mystery with a splash of early forensic science thrown in for good measure. When Lady Bessingham is found brutally murdered in her home surrounded by her obsession of fossils and tribal masks, the new rising star at Scotland Yard, Inspector Adams is called into investigate the murder. He enlists the help of Professor Adolphus Hatton and his morgue assistant and close friend Albert Roumande who specialize in the new and suspicious world of autopsies and forensic science. As these men start their investigations into this gruesome murder more bodies begin to pile up and what they begin to discover starts to set the whole scientific community on edge.

The idea behind this story is very interesting and original. I can say that I have never read or heard of a Victorian era CSI type investigation so I was really looking forward to reading this book. I had also heard good things about it from others who had read it. For the most part, the plot takes many twists and turns and I found the story itself to be very different and original but the execution is awful. I found it very hard to follow because ideas are jumbled up and the transitions into new thoughts and storylines are not very clear. Also, at points it can be very confusing as to who us thinking what, and which ideas are important. In some instances it seems as if the story has jumped ahead of where the characters are and I found myself a little behind. Similarly, the character development is almost absent in this book. The main character is Professor Hatton for the most part but we never really get behind him, nor do we learn a lot about him we only get glimpses into his life and his background and mostly through other characters.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By DRRD on August 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Sounded good, but once started I found it very confusing. The plot-line was jumpled, without any real direction. The jumps from one character or scene to another was very confusing, and I had to read many passages twice or more to try to figure out what was going on. I don't mind waiting until the end to find out how all the scenes tie together, but each scene should tell us something important, and many times they just came across as random glimpses into people's lives.

Hatton and Roumonde were interesting characters, but there really wasn't that much of them. It was hard to really get a sense of who they were, what they were about, because we were told so much about them but didn't get to see them in action much. There were a lot of flowery descriptions that seemed out of place. And there seemed to be little help for the reader who didn't know some of the era-specific references. For example, when finding the body of a dead girl the 'reclamation men' labeled the young girl's body as 'Pork'. I understood that Reclamation Men must be those of the time to collect dead bodies found on the river shore and the streets, but I still have no idea what labeling her as 'Pork' meant to the body collectors, the Police or Hatton and Roumonde themselves.

I think the book really needs a deft hand at editing, to pull the story together better and improve the flow. It could use with more actual action, less descriptions of scenes and more concentration on character development. And once in a while a bit of that descriptive power to help the reader understand the era better, so that references aren't totally undecipherable to those new to the era.

There could have been a really good story in all this, but the slog through this one has put me off trying to wade through another.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By London Fog on May 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With all the outspoken reviews of how good this novel was supposed to be, I was hoping to add to its praise. In all fairness, Devoured is unusually well written with a fresh, clever plot. The story delves into the world of forensic pathology when it was in its infancy, and unlike most historical fiction set in the Victorian era, the underlying theme came through as one that also resonated in today's society - that of hypocrisy and backwards thinking in certain political arenas. I very much enjoyed the scientific aspects concerning the autopsies and the inferences made regarding cause of death based on the principles of forensics. The supposedly main characters, Hatton and Roumande, were likable and as I started out with this book, thought I could enthusiastically read more of these two.

That, however, is about all the positive points I can think of. Unfortunately, the author went on to break so many rules of mystery fiction I am astonished this was even published! It's not avant garde to deviate from basic plot structures... it's confusing, plain and simple. In many instances, Hatton sees clues that were hazy or invisible to the reader. I was left feeling very dimwitted at times, as the explanations towards the end of how Hatton pieced together the puzzle left me saying "Huh?" Events played out not through actions of the main characters, who should have used forensics to piece together the clues all throughout, but because the author just wrote them in. Things happened. Hatton and Roumande didn't do much of anything but follow along and watch as plot points occurred. Had they been extricated from the book, it felt as though any replacement character could have stepped in and taken over for them.
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Devoured (A Hatton and Roumande Mystery)
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