*WINNER of the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger Award 2013*
‘Andrew Taylor wrote superb historical fiction long before Hilary Mantel was popular’ Daily Telegraph
From the No.1 bestselling author of THE AMERICAN BOY comes a new historical thriller set during the American War of Independence.
‘This is the story of a woman and a city. I saw the city first, shimmering from afar like the new Jerusalem in the setting sun. It was Sunday, 2nd August 1778.’
Edward Savill, a London clerk from the American Department, is assigned to New York to investigate the claims of dispossessed loyalists caught on the wrong side of the American War of Independence.
Surrounded by its enemies, British Manhattan is a melting pot of soldiers, profiteers, double agents and a swelling tide of refugees seeking justice from the Crown.
Savill lodges with the respected Wintour family: the old Judge, his ailing wife and their enigmatic daughter-in-law Arabella. The family lives in limbo, praying for the safe return of Jack Wintour, Arabella's husband, who is missing behind rebel lines.
The discovery of a body in the notorious slums of Canvas Town thrusts Savill into a murder inquiry. But in the escalating violence of a desperate city, why does one death matter? Because the secret this killing hides could be the key to power for whoever uncovers it…
‘An absolutely gripping, absorbing historical crime thriller … If you like CJ Sansom, or Hilary Mantel or Philippa Gregory, I think you’d absolutely love Andrew Taylor’s The Scent of Death’ PETER JAMES
‘If you’re wondering “what should I read next?” try it – because it opens up a whole new world for you’ LEE CHILD
‘The key to what makes this book work is that Taylor contrives a brilliant mystery plot, and yet the historical detail is just so compelling … The language is interesting, the historical detail is fascinating and the central mystery is absolutely gripping … The Scent of Death is a perfect read for anyone who likes a mystery that’s as finely crafted as a Swiss watch – Andrew Taylor is at the top of his game’ MARK BILLINGHAM
‘Andrew Taylor has built this beautiful and exquisite stage set, so everything we need to know about Manhattan in the 1770s is right there … What makes a crime novel work – you’ve got to have a cracking good story, you’ve got to want to know what happened. And here, you’ve got all of it’ KATE MOSSE
‘Andrew Taylor is arguably the most consummate writer of historical fiction today. He achieves to perfection the crucial balance between the mystery to be solved and the historical context surrounding it. A mesmeric read’ The Times
‘An absorbing and harrowing epic historical detective novel … Taylor is as good at this period as C. J. Sansom is at Tudor England, and like him pulls off novels that work both as literary fiction and detective stories’ Independent
‘Andrew Taylor has been producing superb historical fiction since long before Hilary Mantel’s Man Booker wins bestowed literary respectability on the genre’ Daily Telegraph
‘Taylor once again shows how skilful a historical novelist he is’ The Sunday Times
Set in 1778, this excellent series opener from Diamond Dagger Award winner Taylor (The Anatomy of Ghosts) introduces Edward Savill, an employee of the British government's American Department. The day Savill's ship docks in New York harbor, he observes a man's corpse dragging from a dinghy in the water. Later the same day, Savill gets involved in investigating the stabbing death of Roger Pickett, a gentleman newly arrived in the city. Under the terms of his commission, Savill is supposed to report to his masters in London on the "administration of justice in the city in all its aspects," which puts him at odds with British military officers, who regard a murder inquiry as a low priority in wartime. Taylor plants clues to the murderer's identity early on in a fair-play plot whose fiendish cleverness becomes apparent only at the end. His depiction of the plight of American Loyalists adds another facet to this superior whodunit.
No Heroes Here
Andrew Taylor is a great storyteller, but in my opinion, presents an uncomfortable perspective on the Revolutionary War and slavery.