Monday, April 25, 2011
Instruments of Darkness
Instruments of Darkness is full missing heirs, hidden wills, unhinged trophy wives, absent husbands, headstrong women, shamed men, and more bodies to go with more murders. It's a fun and engrossing historical mystery that really has no dull moments. Even scenes away from the "action" had something to entertain: comedy in one story, grief and uncertainty in the other, drama and intrigue in both.
Ms. Robertson makes good use of the Georgian period in which she places her cast, using the Gordon riots heavily in one storyline and making the real John Hunter a connecting point between the two. For the most part, characters speak in that generic historical fiction kind of way that is unique to no period but "the past." This is good since real Georgian English would be a bit hard to follow, but I was a bit disappointed that there were a few phrases that stood out a modern. They weren't enough to pull me out of the story for long, but they stood out enough that I remember them. Additionally, though I loved Harriet, some of her boldness and forwardness seemed a bit too progressive for the time in which she lived. I don't know that I would have noticed, but put beside Susan, Miss Chase, and Harriet's own sister, Harriet is definitely a bit fiery.
Though this is an adult book, there is nothing in Instruments of Darkness to make it inappropriate for teen readers, though it is a bit light on the romance and heavy on the murder/mystery compared to comparable YA titles. Still, it is sure to be enjoyed by historical fiction and mystery readers and adored by those who revel in the combination of the two.
Book source: ARC provided by the publisher through the goodreads first reads program.
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