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Robertson, Imogen - 'Circle of Shadows'
Paperback: 416 pages (Nov. 2012) Publisher: Headline Review ISBN: 0755372085

CIRCLE OF SHADOWS by Imogen Robertson, detailing the life and times of Gabriel Crowther and his friend Harriet Westerman, is a very charming historical detective novel set in 1784. Mrs Westerman is a particularly attractive character in the novel. She is not exactly a textbook conventional lady of that time and her exploits, solving murders and handling dead bodies, mean that her reputation precedes her in most of the places that she goes.

This time she is summoned to help her sister and brother-in-law. Newly married, Rachel and Clode are spending a year travelling abroad and Clode has been framed for murder. More precisely, while visiting the Duchy of Maulberg he has been found in a highly confused state, hallucinating and not knowing where he is, in a locked room with a young woman who has been murdered. Clode is the only suspect and he is imprisoned, awaiting trial and certain execution. Crowther and Mrs. Westerman rush to the rescue and are soon caught up in the mystery. Convinced of Clode's innocence, they dig deep into the murky depths of the Duke of Maulberg's court and manage to uncover some very nasty secrets, not least of which involve the castratti singer Manzerotti who ordered the murder of Mrs Westerman's husband and appears to have got away with it.

This is the fourth book in this series and the second book by Imogen Robertson that I have read. While it is entertaining reading, I didn't enjoy it as much as the previous one, ISLAND OF BONES. This was mainly caused by some confusion with names in several places. In one scene, for example, there are two people speaking alone and then a third name is introduced out of nowhere leaving me wondering if I have missed something. This happened several times and left me feeling confused and a bit annoyed. No other reviewers have mentioned this, though, so maybe I am missing something. That aside, the main characters, Crowther and Mrs Westerman, are as pleasant and interesting as before and I greatly enjoyed dipping further into their lives.

Read another review of CIRCLE OF SHADOWS.

Amanda C M Gillies, Scotland
December 2012

Amanda blogs at Old Dogs and New Tricks.

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 6/01/2013 15:08