The Butchered Man (The Northminster Mysteries Book 1) Kindle Edition
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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We first meet Felix. He is a young doctor who has been hired to be a police surgeon. His duties will include taking care of policemen, their families and other people referred by certain city leaders. Felix is the “natural” son of a nobleman, Lord Rothborough, who wants to become more involved in Felix's life. Felix is resisting that relationship because he has adopted parents whom he loves. Felix also wants to create a life for himself by using his skill and knowledge. Felix likes to solve puzzles and he has come to the right place for that.
The Chief Constable is Giles Vernon. He is forward thinking and feels strongly that having a physician available to do what today would be an autopsy as well as giving care to the police staff and others is important. Giles has a difficult personal life which colors his view of the world.
Giles and Felix make an excellent team. They both are men of integrity and both feel strongly that justice is important no matter the cost.
Each of them run into a matter of conscience and when that happens both of them try to support the other because of their mutual admiration.
There is a dead body found. It is a man who has been assaulted in a terrible way. The body is found in a bag by the side of the road with no clothing nor anything which will help identify him. It is evident that someone hated this man.
As the story moves forward, we find there are a number of people who had reason to murder this man. He was a man whose true character was not at all what it appeared.
The reader is taken step by step through the process of talking to people and finding different views of who this man was. At the same time, we are finding out a great deal about the witnesses.
This story is about a murder and finding the solution, but it is also about human beings. Since this is during the Victorian Era, the normal relationships of the time are much different than what we see in the 21st century. The expectations in lives at the time were set at birth. The hopes of women were very limited by their class and the amount of their education. One of the repeating themes of this book – no one is exactly who they seem.
This is the first book by Ms Smart that I have read. I intend to read more of her books because she is a very talented author.
The plot keeps the reader involved. Each new turn in the book brings another portion of the story to light. As each layer is peeled back, the reader is immersed in the world of Victorian England.
The character development is terrific. Felix and Giles are very devoted to trying to do the right thing and at the same time dealing with life as it truly is. Secondary characters are well done. I admit I was pretty sure I knew who was a villain – but that may have been because I simply did not like that person.
If you want a really well written mystery that takes you back to a time when life could be very hard and people could be very human, this is a book for you.
Harriet Smart knows how to tell a story. She also knows how to get into the heads of her characters. She isn't a romance novelist, and so the `boy meets girl' aspect of so many books is not the centerpiece. Instead, in "The Butchered Man," we get a troubled young doctor, trying to make a way for himself in a world dominated by his noble father--who wants to make amends for fathering Felix Carswell out of wedlock. There is a thrilling murder for Felix to solve. In addition are squalor, prostitution, politics, manners and morals, and even the occasional card shark.
Smart has also perfected the art of description. Her filthy pubs, school for wayward `girls,' and the boudoir of Mrs. Hilliard, the mysterious beauty who rules over her charges with an iron determination to save them, are as clear to the reader as the scenes from a movie. I hope this one becomes a movie. I think it would be a smash.
Part of Smart's fiction comes from a love of Victorian art, which she has studied since childhood. Many of her characters begin from work that fascinates the author. On her web site, harrietsmart.com, she shares with her readers some of the Victorian paintings that have captured her. We see the hero of "The Butchered Man," Felix Carswell, as he peers out of a murky canvas, his hand shading his handsome forehead.
No spoilers here. It's a mystery, and the ending has a satisfying twist. Harriet Smart is a gifted writer who takes her readers back with her into a time when women wore stays, men could easily ruin lives with one careless flirtation, and when revenge often ended in murder. Read all of Harriet Smart's books. There is a world of romance, Victorian intrigue, and fascinating people awaiting you.