18 Mar 2014



SOURCE: A Readers Group read.

Thornleigh Hall, seat of the Earl of Sussex, dominates its surroundings. Its heir is missing, and the once vigorous family is reduced to a cripple, his whore and his alcoholic second son, but its power endures.

Impulsive Harriet Westerman has felt the Hall's menace long before she happens upon a dead man bearing the Thornleigh arms. The grim discovery cries out for justice, and she persuades reclusive anatomist Gabriel Crowther to her cause, much against his better judgement; he knows a dark path lies before those who stray from society's expectations. That same day, Alexander Adams is killed in a London music shop, leaving his young children orphaned. His death will lead back to Sussex, and an explosive secret that has already destroyed one family and threatens many others.
..... Outer back cover

FIRST SENTENCE {Part 1: 1.1: Friday, 2 June 1780, West Sussex, England}: Gabriel Crowther opened his eyes.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 26}: "Well, at least, sir, this gentleman had the consideration to be murdered relatively close to your home. So the inconvenience is kept to a minimum."

MY THOUGHTS: What started out as a thousand word entry to a writing competition four years ago we now have the published book that is part one in the Crowther and Westerman series.

The story of anatomist Gabriel Crowther, 'to the educated, he was a man of science cursed with an appalling lack of manners; to everyone under ten he was a devil doctor who cut the souls from the living bodies of naughty children and ate them', and his sidekick Harriet Westerman. I was hoping for an Olde Worlde Crime Scene Investigation type of read instead of which I got this old fashioned farce in the form of a murder mystery where talk at the 'Big House' turns rather unfathomably from murder to the weather in the blink of an eye.

With more strands (and probably more cheesy) than a packet of cheese strings I found the novel a rambling read that jumped from one event to another. Full of similes, lacking in atmosphere and positively dripping with cliches not to mention the bland, unbelievable characters (I personally thought it rather incredulous that an 18th century matron was to be heard ruminating on breast feeding) , I'm afraid Instruments Of Darkness just wasn't my kind of book.

Copyright: Tracy Terry @ Pen and Paper. All original content on http://pettywitter.blogspot.co.uk/ is created by the website owner, including but not limited to text, design, code, images, photographs and videos are considered to be the Intellectual Property of the website owner, whether copyrighted or not, and are protected by DMCA Protection Services using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act Title 17 Chapter 512 (c)(3). Reproduction or re-publication of this content is prohibited without permission. In addition I would also urge that if you are reading this on any other page you contact the original blog owner/reviewer.


Charlie (The Worm Hole) said...

It sounded good at the start, but the murder-to-weather thing you talk of - having read books like that before I can't say I'd want to try this one.

Kelly said...

What a shame! I was thinking how good it all sounded until you got down to the nitty-gritty on what the novel was actually like.

I appreciate your review and believe I'll pass on this one.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Sorry this didn't work for you. I'm not sure I would enjoy it either!

Literary Feline said...

But the cover is so pretty! It's a shame the book didn't live up to it. :-(

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Love the cover, but I don't think the book is for me either. I don't like things that jump in that fashion nor have something to keep it together.

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

I am sorry that this book just didn't do it for you, but I have to say that I quite like the sound of, not only 'Instruments Of Darkness', but also the other books in the Crowther and Westerman series.

I think it would be a series which you would have to be in on right from the start and for those who liked the cover art of this featured story, if you check out all the books together on the same page at Fantastic Fiction, they are certainly quite atmospheric and paint a picture of mystery and intrigue.

I am definitely going to give this one a go, but will bear your thoughts in mind as I do so.

Hope your next book is a winner for you!


Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

Sorry you didn't enjoy this one more. I think the cover is mysterious, but it sounds like some things missed the mark. Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts!

Brian Joseph said...

I think that a satire like this could work very well. However if it goes too far over the top such a book can be disaster. Lack of restraint is often fatal.

Too bad that it seems that has happened here.

Naida said...

That's too bad this was a letdown.
I loved this: "With more strands (and probably more cheesy) than a packet of cheese strings"

Barbara Fisher said...

What a shame, it all sounded good at the start. I always trust your reviews so will be giving this one a miss..

Lindsay said...

I've heard about this series but I've never yet tried one of the books. Sorry to read it was a disappointing read for you.