The third novel in the critically acclaimed Westerman and Crowther historical mystery series reveals the dark secrets of Crowther’s past
England, 1783. For years, reclusive anatomist Gabriel Crowther has pursued his forensic studies—and the occasional murder investigation—far from his family estate. But an ancient tomb there will reveal a wealth of secrets. When laborers discover an extra body inside the tomb, the lure of the mystery brings Crowther home at last, accompanied by his partner in crime, the forthright Mrs. Harriet Westerman. What Crowther learns will rewrite his family’s past—and spill new blood in a land torn between old magic and modern justice.
The next installment in a series described as “CSI: Georgian England” (The New York Times Book Review), Island of Bones is a riveting tale that will captivate fans of Jacqueline Winspear and Charles Finch.
Robertson's superior third historical featuring anatomist Gabriel Crowther and widow Harriet Westerman (after 2012's Anatomy of Murder) makes the most of its revelations about Crowther's backstory. The powerful opening, set in 1751 London, shows Crowther (whose real name is Charles Penhaligon) on the eve of his brother Adair's execution for the stabbing murder of their father. Despite his sibling's denials, Crowther cannot credit them, given the circumstances Adair was found with the fatal weapon in his hand and initially confessed. After the hanging, the action flashes forward to 1783 Cumberland, where an extra corpse has been found in a tomb on the Penhaligon family estate. That discovery comes to the attention of Crowther, who, in the interim, has studied anatomy abroad and tried unsuccessfully to live out his days as a recluse. His investigation into the cadaver's provenance turns up a wealth of secrets that may shed new light on his family's dark history. First-rate prose and the deepening relationship between the two leads bode well for the longevity of this series.
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Interesting 18th century mystery series with well-drawn characters and complex plots. If you like historical detective novels including strong women and intelligent men, this is the series to read. Even the fascinating villain deserves a series of his own!
Not poorly written but a bit slow for me. It was hard to stay interested. I don't understand the excellent ratings, but perhaps it just isn't my kind of story.