~EBOOK ♊ Circle Of Shadows ♖ Death At The Carnival Riddle, Ritual And MurderShrove Tuesday, While The Nobility Dance At A Masked Ball, Beautiful Lady Martesen Is Murdered Daniel Clode Is Found By Her Body, His Wrists Slit And His Memories Nightmarish What Has He Done Harriet Westerman And Gabriel Crowther Race To The Duchy Of Maulberg To Save Daniel From The Executioner S Axe There They Find A Capricious Duke On The Point Of Marriage, A Court Consumed By Luxury And Intrigue, And A Bitter Enemy From The Past After Another Cruel Death, They Must Discover The Truth, No Matter How Horrific It Is Does The Answer Lie With The Alchemist Seeking The Elixir Of Life With The Automata Makers In The Duke S Fake Rural Idyll Or In The Poisonous Lies Oozing Around The Court As The Elite Strive For Power
These books only keep getting better and better In this fourth in the series it is 1784, and English gentlewoman Harriet Westerman and anatomist Gabriel Crowther receive news that Harriet s sister s new made husband, Daniel Clode, has been arrested for murder in the Duchy of Maulberg Harriet and Gabriel decamp there forthwith and plunge into an investigation that is less about the bodies piling up than it is a conspiracy infesting not only the highest levels of the duchy but reaching into all the courts of Europe as well.The true test of any novel, as I know I say over and over again, is how thoroughly the reader is drawn into the novel s world, and here you can hear the swish of Harriet s skirts over parquet as she prowls the gilt encrusted halls of the Palace of Ulrichsberg There are some great characters, like Daniel s engaging jailer, who says of his prisoner If you whip him away I shall have to hope the duke finds some scribbler of seditious pamphlets to lock up here for a few months, or I shall be deprived of civilized company No doubt some young man will publish something insulting for the wedding I trust in that.I m not sure Robertson meant me to love the Duke as much as I do, but who wouldn tSwann, the lovely Mrs Westerman recommends mercy Is your heart still of stone Harriet saw a flash of irritation cross Swann s face Crime against a husband is a manner of treason, sire If you will be merciful, do not agree to her breaking on the wheel, but she must certainly die The duke smiled lazily One would think after all these years, Swann, you would have learned not to say must to me When Krall, the local district officer, and Crowther go to interview an alchemist, who is reluctant to admit them into his inner sanctum, Crowther is moved to admiration of the alchemist s ability to articulate his displeasure He had always thought German a pleasing language to swear in It had the proper supply of consonants.And then of course the adorable and acute spy Jacob Pegel, agent of Harriet s arch enemy or is he Manzerotti They did what everyone with power does in my experience, Mrs Westerman They spend most of their energies trying to hang onto it.In this season of sequestration and government shutdown, Congress, please note Not that most people in power are given to self examination or even rational thought, for that matter, as this novel underscores.There are some great descriptive lines, thrown away in a single sentence just to make sure we are paying attention the door to the duke s study was opened again, and a gentleman almost smothered by the splendor of his cravat beckoned her inside.There are some what I can only describe as very creepy automata, also known as Robots 1.0, secret societies bent on revolution, or so they tell themselves, and a serial killer as selfish and self absorbed as he is insane, although I must say the first victim who initiates the entire cascade of events is entirely deserving of revenge Trying to be as obscure as possible so as not to give anything away Highly recommended. First Sentence The room is dark, lit by only a single candle on the surface of a rough wooden table.Widow Harriet Westerman receives a letter from her newly married sister, Rachel In Germany, where they are touring, Rachel s husband, Daniel Clode, was found in a locked room with the body of Lady Martesen Although very confused, seeming to have attempted suicide and having no memory, Daniel is imprisoned and awaiting execution for murder Harriet, with her friends anatomist Gabriel Crowther, Daniel s employer Owen Graves and Michaels, landlord of the local inn who insists on overseeing their travels, travels to the Duchy of Maulbery There they find a Duke preparing for his wedding, an enemy, intrigue and several deaths.Robertson has a very intriguing style The prologue both compels and slightly baffles us The wonderfully evocative descriptions of the story s first chapter informs us that a crime has occurred so that the intrigue is presented, possible ramifications established, and many of the characters introduced with an overview of their backgrounds established It is a very satisfying beginning.The characters drive the story, and they are characters about who we very much care For those of us who are Jane Austen fans, one sees shades of Mrs Croft Persuasion and Colonel Brandon Sense and Sensibility and the characters of Harriet and Crowther Harriet is very much a person one would like to be She has strength, but not false courage She is intelligent, traveled and capable Harriet tilted her head to one side I was going to stab him with one of Mr Al Said s files, but he provided a pistol so I almost shot him instead I hate to say it, but I think having the opportunity to do so, and not killing him, has done me a great deal of good Each of the characters is memorable and significant to the story and it s hard to say enough about them without this review becoming as long as the book itself There isn t a cameo player among them, even if their role is small.Robertson s voice and style are very special There is elegance to her writing Her descriptions are evocative her ability to convey emotion is visceral Her voice is neither modern yet doesn t focus on being of the period It is conveyed through scenes and narrative, such as Harriet her musing on the comparison of her beginning an intimate with her late husband, as opposed to what may possibly have been her sister s experience Her dialogue is always to be appreciated Are you encouraging me to speculate, Crowther I suppose I am to a degree I will try not to do so again The plot is not a simple one Beginning from the first page, we are uncertain as to the road on which we travel One must pay attention to the details, and it is very well worth so doing As with the characters, every aspect is significant This isn t a story to skim, but neither is one tempted so to do as each page is engrossing Circle of Shadows is an excellent read For me, it is the best book, so far, in the series That is saying quite a lot as this is a series I truly love CIRCLE OF SHADOWS Hist Mys Harriet Westerman Gabriel Crowther Germany 1784 ExRobertson, ImogenPamela Dorman Books Viking, 2013 I really enjoyed the first three books in the series, but this one just didn t work for me. This is the fourth in a series of historical suspense novels by this author and it s quite unusual It involves two sleuths who are British and here attempt to solve their first criminal mystery outside of England, in Germany in 1782 Harriet Westerman is an intelligent, fearless gal whose past history with murder has left some pain and a bit of shadow about her public image Gabriel Crowther is a bit of a recluse who speaks his mind at all times, no matter how offensively it is taken, but he is also bright and an anatomist, fascinated with the scientific properties of the body for criminal analysis and healing as well Now they learn that a good friend, Daniel Clode, is accused of murdering Lady Martesen They immediately leave for the Duchy of Maulberg in German First, they discovered that Daniel Clode has been acting like someone who is insane and then they are shocked to find that Lady Martesen was probably killed not by smothering, as originally thought, but by drowning But how can someone be drowned and have no sign of water anywhere on the clothing or body Westerman and Crowther are surprised by the fairness of the investigation in Maulberg, a place that is rather an enigma since it is ruled by an absolute dictator who allows them room for investigation perhaps with a slightly hidden financial motive.Meanwhile other characters such as the brilliant mathematician Pegel appear on the scene and discover the presence of a secret group that is equated with the Free Masons but is not anything like them in reality in fact, the plot that begins to unfold turns out to be one that could change the face of European governments, one country at a time and not in a healthy productive way As the murder took place during the annual Shrove Tuesday celebrations, Daniel Clode was like all other celebrants wearing a mask, one that is part of the plot to undo him as he will be executed if found guilty But there s much to this mystery and the above summary is only a tad of all the clues that are gradually revealed with just the right amount of tension and intrigue, including a notable amount of period description and detail that is very interesting as well as the investigation.Imogen Robertson is a talented writer who has penned a mystery others have compared to Anne Perry for detail and Tess Gerritsen for forensic evidence This reviewer couldn t agree Mystery fans and historical fiction fans will love this novel for sure Very well done and highly recommended A must read for lovers of intelligent historical mysteriesImogen Robertson s historical mystery series featuring Harriet Westerman and anatomist Gabriel Crowther constitutes one of the most intelligent examples of the genre out there Circle of Shadows contains all of the features that make this series so rich and rewarding a complicated plot a well researched, detailed 18th century setting and a well drawn cast of characters that feel true to the period In this fourth installment of the series, Harriet and Crowther travel outside of England for the first time, when they are called to one of the German states to investigate a murder Harriet s sister Rachel and her new husband, Daniel, had been touring Europe for their honeymoon when Daniel was arrested for killing a woman Harriet and Crowther have to identify the murderer in order to free Daniel, but what they discover during their investigation is political intrigue and the handiwork of a madman.One of the things that I love about Robertson s novels as a whole is how detailed her 18th century world is She s obviously researched the period deeply It pays off in the realistic feel of her descriptions of the physical setting of the story, as well as her descriptions of the manners and s of the characters The 18th century is not a period that is used often in historical mysteries, so it has benefit of novelty, too.Another plus for me is the deep cast of characters Harriet and Crowther show up in every novel, of course, as do their friends and family, but so do other people that they meet during their investigations Individuals that other authors might treat as minor characters come to life in Robertson s novels For example, an important character in the second book in the series is Jocasta Bligh, who plays a key role in the mystery of that book her background then gets explored in Robertson s third novel Manzerotti, the spymaster who drove the plot of Book 2, makes a return appearance in this book and becomes a fully rounded character For me, the net effect of these recurring characters is to enhance the feeling that this is a completely realized world where characters have an existence that lives on beyond the pages of any particular novel I hope that Pegel, who appears in this book as a young recruit into Manzarotti s spy ring, will show up again in another book in the series He s just too potentially rich a character not to make a return The one drawback of this approach is that Robertson s novels have to be read as a series to most fully appreciate them I wouldn t recommend starting with this book for readers who are new to Robertson s work They should start at the beginning and enjoy the series as it develops Really, anyone who enjoys a well written historical mystery should read Circle of Shadows and the other books in the series I m pretty sure you ll be glad you did An ARC of Circle of Shadows was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I had written a long for me review of this but it seems to have vanished, so I briefly add a comment I really enjoyed this one having also enjoyed the other books in the Crowther and Westerman series This felt slightly detached than the others with the lead characters taking of a back seat and other characters coming to the fore The setting was also interesting letting the characters experience life on the continent Will continue to look forward to additions to this series. I never get tired of Crowther and Westerman and their band of friends and family It wasn t until I finished this book that I looked back and thought, hmmmm, I wouldn t have minded a little focus on the main characters But Robertson s supporting cast never disappoints, and in this volume we learn about diamond in the rough Michaels and sinister songbird spy Manzerotti I also really enjoyed a new character, the youthful codebreaker math genius Jacob Pegel, and I hope we see a bit of him in the future In short brilliant, as usual. I cannot believe how disappointing this Crowther Westerman was CW has been a pretty reliable series solid historical fiction, an appealing detective duo, and interesting mysteries But this one was awful if it wasn t for my lingering CW fondness, it would have received an even lower grade There was very little of either Crowther or Westerman and especially both of them together in this book I think CW are the best parts they are individually bright and fierce and together they have real sparks I m still waiting for any romantic subplot though I think Robertson actually wanted to write about young mathematician spy Pegel, since he s really the focus here It s not clear at all for a long time what purpose his subplot serves And then by the end it s clear that he has an entirely unnecessary subplot, showing the uncovering of this Minerval conspiracy parallel to CW s investigation He could ve been cut Seriously He was not needed And yet there he was Manzerotti, who had a hand in the murder of Westerman s husband in an earlier book, shows up Robertson also seems much interested in him than CW Manzerotti is a charming, manipulative snake He s a eunuch and a famous opera singer and a spy Robertson, I think, REALLY wants a series around Manzerotti and his protegee Pegel But she had to throw CW in for name recognition Even though it feels like they re barely in it Also, I can t remember if this was the case in the previous books, but what s up with the random mini POV from random characters Like some murder victim s servant gets a couple pages I DON T CARE Give me CW Not randoms The mystery itself was also subpar In this small German kingdom duchy , a group of noble folk are part of the Minervals, an Illuminati esque society There s seven of them, and they claim some kind of socialist message but seem to actually just want power and influence for themselves And then there s a wider range of sympathizers, but it s unclear what their roles are I don t feel like any part of this was well defined The mystery is basically solved for CW Seriously, Manzerotti and his prot g did all the heavy lifting I want to mutiny Bring back full use of CW Downsize Manerotti, Pegel, and the other minor characters CW are truly the heart of this series and it s painful to have their use be so limited. She should have stopped at three.This book was disappointing Harriet is in a major funk, Crowther s role was seriously reduced, too many other characters to keep track of, and the whole murder mystery was too convoluted for me I just wasn t interested Loved the first three books, but don t bother with the fourth.