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Instruments of Darkness: A Novel Hardcover – February 17, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Praise for INSTRUMENTS OF DARKNESS:
“Robertson’s enjoyment of the period and her characters is infectious.”
—The New York Times Book Review (Editor’s Choice)
“Every so often I encounter a book that makes me think with envy: ‘How I wish I could have written this story!’ Instruments of Darkness is just that book—poetic, enchanting, and chillingly memorable. Imogen Robertson is an exquisite writer, and this is an extraordinary novel.”
—Tess Gerritsen, bestselling author of Last to Die
“Mayhem runs amok in this period thriller. [Robertson] pulls out all the stops . . . [a] roaring soap opera of a novel.”
—The Washington Times
“Impressive . . . Robertson has a wicked way with suspense. A ripping homage to Dickens, Austen, and Conan Doyle, Instruments of Darkness will keep you up at night, and then, like me, waiting for the sequel.”
Top Customer Reviews
Harriet Westerman, wife of a navy commander, has given up sailing with her husband to raise their family and provide a home for her sister at Caverly Park in West Sussex. When she finds the body of a man whose throat has been slit, she summons help from anatomist Gabriel Crowther. The victim has a ring bearing the crest of neighboring Thornleigh Hall. Was the man Alexander Thornleigh, the missing heir to the Earl of Sussex?
London music shop owner Alexander Adams is murdered. Before dying, he tells his daughter to find a box hidden under the counter. Was Alexander the missing heir and how can his children be removed from the city in spite of a killer and the anti-Catholic Gordon Riots?
Wonderful characters make this book a treat to read. Jane Austin fans will quickly associate Harriet Westerman with Mrs. Croft, the captain's wife from "Pursuasion." She has traveled, seen war, is outspoken and not to be put off. Her younger sister, Rachel Trench, is "Jane Eyre," in her attraction to the war-wounded Hugh Thornleigh, younger brother of the missing Alexander and the Mr. Rochester of our story. Gabriel Crowther is a scientist, and something of a recluse until being pulled into the investigation by Harriet and his own curious mind.
There are a lot of characters, including some real historical figures. It was occasionally is difficult to keep track of who is whom. However, they each played their part and added to the overall Gothic feel of the story.
Ms. Robertson convincingly transported me to Georgian England in sight, sound, dialogue appropriate to the period and historical fact. I had not known of the Gordon Riots until now.Read more ›
The scene shifts to Tichfield Street near Soho Square in London. Residing there are a music store proprietor, Alexander Adams, and his two children, nine-year old Susan and six-year old Jonathan. Alexander is a widower who has broken off contact with his birth family for reasons that will later become clear. He ruefully states "that the past must be looked at squarely or it will chase you down," but he fails to follow this sound advice. Adams has the support of close friends, including a writer, Owen Graves, and Mr. and Mrs. Chase, whose single daughter, Verity, has caught Graves's eye.
How do all these characters fit together? Readers will need to be patient while the author presents us with puzzling scenarios that initially make little sense. Although Crowther and Harriet are not romantically involved (she is happily married to a commodore, James, who is at sea), the two collaborate in trying to learn the identity of the dead man as well as his killer. Harriet suspects that there is a connection between the murder and the well-to-do inhabitants of Thornleigh Hall. She insists, "There is something wrong in that house. Something wounded and rotten. I am sure of it.Read more ›
I finished, despite it being many hours past my bedtime. The relationship
between the two main characters is compelling, and the scenes with the children
in London are believable and touching.
Now for the less good news. The writing is mostly serviceable, but occasionally
goes off the rails. A reference to Caravaggio in a scene description is jarring
and inappropriate. The main character has seen the "Parthenon in Rome," which is
a neat trick. (She must mean the Pantheon.) Worst of all is an episode in which
a man who is meant to be a sympathetic character offers his dog, whom he obviously
cares for, to be used to test a poison. The dog's death is not graphic, but it
seems completely unnecessary. Weren't there any rats or mice around? This is
important in a book which otherwise stages a battle between good and evil in
a pretty unsubtle way.
I also agree with other reviewers who find the ending unbelievable and melodramatic.
Imogen Robertson weaves a lively and engaging tale, handling the story and its events well at many levels, evoking the customs, habits and foibles of the period with a deftness that is delightful and easy to read. The plot is nicely involved but never overly complex, while the solution to the mystery itself is neither obscure nor yet totally clear until the very end.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is my first time reading Imogene Roberts. I bought her book based on the recommendation of a reviewer who was not all that crazy about another mystery writer but does like... Read morePublished 4 days ago by Amazon Customer
The usual "meet cute fall in love find the killer" formula of historical mysteries is turned on its head in this novel, which begins a continuing series. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Carolina reader
This is the first of the Westerman and Crowther mysteries (so far Imogen Robertson has put out four) that sets the scenes and begins to develop the main characters. Read morePublished 1 month ago by David Yeater
Well done. Interesting plot and thoughtful multi-dimensional characters.Published 1 month ago by Betty S. Deckard
A promising book with far too convoluted a structure for its own good. The attempt to interleave the various stories was a failure and only served to confuse the narrative and... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Walter Tingle
I was happily surprised by what an enjoyable read this book was. The plot, characters, and settings were totally believable and the pace picked up throughout the story, making it... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Carol M
Beautifully written, nicely researched. Would have given it 5 stars but the f-word and an a bit of grammar "where we're at" felt anachronistic to me. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Desert Crone
Wonderful! If you love British 'who-done-it's', this is a real winner. Set in the late 1700's, Ms Robertson includes bits of historical flavor along with a well woven mystery. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Agatha
An enjoyable read. I am looking forward to the next on the series.Published 6 months ago by Marcy McDonald