3 Feb 2012



London 1670: Commissioned to design a new house for the merchant Francis Polegate, Christopher Redmayne is pleased that everything has gone without a hitch. To celebrate the success of the venture, Polegate throws a party, but it comes to an abrupt end when one of the guests is murdered on leaving the house ....... With blood staining the doorstep of his new creation, Redmayne can't help but feel involved, and with the help of his good friend, the Puritan Constable Jonathan Bale and his dissolute brother Henry, Redmayne vows to find the killer and bring him to justice.
......... Outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1): The shot came out of nowhere.

MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 38): She was a short compact Irish-woman with a surging bosom that made her seem much bigger than she really was, and a tongue sharp enough to cut through timber. Talking to the constable, she had a soft, melodious, Irish lilt. Raised in anger, however, the voice of Bridget McCoy, hardened by years in the trade and seasoned with the ripest language, could quell any affray.

KEEP IT OR NOT?: Shelf space decreasing rapidly, I'm being very harsh here by saying this isn't one I'll be keeping - perhaps if it had been a better all-rounder I may have done.

As I'm sure you'll all agree this is the perfect read for the What's In A name 5 Reading Challenge: A book with a type of house in the title category.

The very first novel I've read by this author (its number five in the Christopher Redmayne series but don't let that put you off as it read perfectly well as a novel in its own right), I'm sure it will not be the last.

Set in the London of the late 1600's, The Parliament House is a gripping, often wryly funny, historical novel, a whodunit with a smattering of political intrigue and a dash of romance I found myself totally engrossed.

Multi faceted, I don't know how much research went into the writing of the book but I can't say it worked too well as a historical novel for me as it somehow or other did not always ring true and at times lacked any real sense of authenticity. As for it being a whodunit ..... I can't say it fared much better in this respect either. Oh there were 'red herrings' a plenty but even I worked it out way before the big reveal.

No, for me it was the wonderful array of characters that made this such a special read. Beautifully penned, all of the players, both minor as well as major, were a total joy to read, the interaction between them second to none. I loved the personal and professional relationships that existed between Christopher Redmayne and Constable Jonathan Bale and as for the Serle's, husband and wife, the somewhat overbearing Brilliana and the henpecked Lancelot? They were superb and so, so humorous. My only complaint - I wish we had seen a little bit more of down-to-earth landlady Bridget McCoy and her 'dim witted' son Patrick.

Highly recommend if characters play an important role in your reading, you may not enjoy this as much if you are expecting a great historical whodunit.


animewookie said...

I actually am a big character person, so this might work for me ;)

Mary (Bookfan) said...

I'm now very curious about this book and will look for it. Loved your review!

joan said...

hi how are you? i'm handing out awards its a good feeling pop over to my blog to collect it, thanks

joan said...

oh btw forgot to tell you, i've just read Jodi Picoult's Keeping Faith, very compelling, Have you read this ? i would be interested in your review of it ( can't seem to access your link to Jodie Picoult reviews)

....Petty Witter said...

Joan: No, I haven't read the Jodi Picoult you mention though it is on my list. To read the reviews of the JP books I have read try here


Patti said...

Awesome review. I love how you read books new and old.

Betty Manousos@ Cut and Dry said...

i thoroughly enjoyed your review, tracy. thank you.
i think i'll look for this book. actually, i am a huge character person so i might enjoy reading this one.

have a great weekend, dearest!


p.s. stay warm!

Nikki-ann said...

I've nearly picked up some of Edward Marston's books on several occassions, but the ones I've seen have been very similar to another series I've been reading.

Kelly said...

Good choice for the challenge, Tracy!

I love the Memoriable Moment you shared here. I can just picture her!!

Amrit said...

Sorry . I've been traveling and out of action for two weeks. Hope to catch up this weekend. I head home for the weekend

naida said...

The characters sound great even if the historical aspect of the book didn't seem like it was well researched.
Nice review!

The Golden Eagle said...

Well-rounded characters are always a plus--thanks for the review!

Mama Zen said...

This sounds like a lot of fun!

Suko said...

I thought I'd left a comment on this post--perhaps it was lost in cyberspace? Hmmm.... Characters in books are generally very important to me, so I wouldn't hesitate to pick this one up.

To Joan: I'd love to read your thoughts on Keeping Faith. I hope you will consider joining The Jodi Picoult Project, a reading challenge (requirement: 1 or more books by JP).

Brandileigh2003 (Blkosiner's Book Blog) said...

I'm a character person, but not historiacal fiction.
Thanks for review.

Jinky said...

The characters sounds fascinating. Not a big historical fan so I wouldn't miss much. ;)Bummer that this isn't in my library though!