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Publisher's Summary

In the year 1780, Harriet Westerman, the willful mistress of a country manor in Sussex, finds a dead man on her grounds with a ring bearing the crest of Thornleigh Hall in his pocket. Not one to be bound by convention or to shy away from adventure, she recruits a reclusive local anatomist named Gabriel Crowther to help her find the murderer, and historical suspense's newest investigative duo is born. For years, Mrs. Westerman has sensed the menace of neighboring Thornleigh Hall, seat of the Earl of Sussex. It is the home of a once-great family that has been reduced to an ailing invalid, his whorish wife, and his alcoholic second son, a man haunted by his years spent as a redcoat in the Revolutionary War. The same day, Alexander Adams is slain by an unknown killer in his London music shop, leaving his children orphaned. His death will lead back to Sussex and to an explosive secret that has already destroyed one family and threatens many others.
Instruments of Darkness combines the brooding atmosphere of Anne Perry with the complex, compelling detail of Tess Gerritsen, moving from drawing room to dissecting room, from coffee house to country inn. Mrs. Westerman and Mr. Crowther are both razor-sharp minds, and their personalities breathe spirit into this gripping historical mystery.
©2011 Imogen Robertson (P)2011 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"The book works splendidly as a period thriller, with complicated leads and informative details that illuminate 18th-century England for modern readers." ( Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Martha on 01-13-13

Not The Best, But Not Too Bad...

Yes, I know my title isn't the greatest, but it was the best I could think of to describe my opinion of this book. That said, I may even continue with the series someday. The story was not bad. It held my interest. I have listened to Wanda McCaddon's narration many times and I think she is a fine reader, although at times she seems to be rushing through the story a bit too quickly. This book is a perfect example of that. Another reviewer commented that it is often hard to tell when the story switches between characters and places. This makes it hard to tell where you are in the story and confuses the listener. I found myself hitting the 30-second rewind button frequently. Another reviewer commented that her childrens' voices are irritating; however, I did not find that to be the case. To each their own, I guess. I believe that Ms McCaddon is a more mature woman, but (IMHO) she does a fine job voicing various characters, including men and younger women. She can also give voice to various dialects, which I REALLY appreciate in a narrator. There are many narrators who cannot (it's not easy!). Bad accents can really ruin an audiobook listening experience for me.

I would hope, since this is the first of a series, that the subsequent books get better. The author writes well. This story is interesting, to a point. There are twists that make it suspenseful enough to hold one's attention (I found the manner in which the "yellow man" is dispatched to be quite creative). The characters are fairly well developed and the author does an admirable job of giving just enough information about her characters' backstories to leave listeners wanting to know more. This is a good way to set-up a series.

I would not say it was a waste of time, but neither was it so good that I couldn't put it down. I would urge others to listen for themselves and then share their thoughts with the rest of us. I'd like to hear more opinions about this author/book/narrator.

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9 of 11 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Sara on 03-15-11

What fun

Great combination of manners and murder. I can't wait for the next in the series. Wanda McCaddon is a very good narrator, though her children's voices are irritating. If there were more kids in the book, I don't think I'd be able to listen.

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4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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