Thursday, 20 August 2015


5 out of 5 stars

18th Century murder mystery

On Amazon UK HERE

Reviewed by me as part of Rosie Amber's Book Review Team 

I wasn't sure about this book at first; it's written in the style of literature of its time, which took me a while to settle into.  Then, at around 10%, it began to 'click'.

Young doctor Adam Bascom comes across a body in a churchyard, which he soon finds out to be that of a person of some importance.  A verdict of accidental death is given swiftly, but Adam believes that the truth is being covered up.  Much of the story is about his unravelling of the mystery, but this is far from all there is to it.

Aylsham, Norfok, where Adam lived

I loved reading this book, it's beautifully written.  Some of the phrases and sentences were so delightful I lingered over them; the charm of the novel is as much in the prose as in the plot, if not more so.  Its real strength is in the subtle yet acute characterisation; the entertaining apothecary and ladies' man Lassimer, garrulous old seafarer Captain Mimms, the society ladies who took tea with Adam's mother.  Witty and entertaining asides are made, clever observations about human nature.  The 18th century is not one of 'my' eras, so it was good to learn more about it, too, in particular the social structure and pretensions, the problems resulting from religious prejudices, the criminal element and corruption within the higher echelons of society and the church.

The story takes place in North Norfolk, an area I know well - I used to work in Holt, and recognised the names of all the pubs, and also The Black Boys in Aylsham.  The domestic descriptions and those of the problems of travel were most interesting to read about, too.

The Feathers, Holt, as mentioned near the end of the book.

If I have any complaint it's that on occasion I felt that the solving of the case was a little lengthy and repetitive, and there is one section with lots of backwards apostrophes that did not make for easy reading and could so easily be remedied, but on the whole I'd recommend this book to anyone whose preferences lie in this direction, and I am pleased to award it 5 stars, something I do not do lightly.  If you find it a little slow to start with, do stick with it—it's worth it.  I will most definitely read another book by this author.

The Black Boys, Aylsham

The Code for Killing by William Savage reviewed HERE


  1. So glad you enjoyed this and found a personal connection to the places mentioned as well.

  2. I have been meaning to read this book for some time as I follow William on Twitter. I really must get round to it.

    1. Liz, I hope you like it as much as I did, the dialogue and characterisation is some of the best I've read.

  3. This sounds really interesting. I’m making a note for future reference.

    1. It is! It wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea, but I think if you appreciate the use of language in, for instance, Dickens or Jane Austen, you will love this :)