19 Jun 2013



July, 1858. London swelters, and trouble is brewing. Forensic scientist Adolphus Hatton and his trusty assistant Albert Roumande have a morgue full of cholera victims to attend to, and an eager apprentice to teach. But alongside the cholera outbreak, London is also home to a growing unrest. When a leading politician of the Irish Unionist movement is murdered, the flamboyant Inspector Grey calls on Hatton and Roumande to help solve the case.

But Inspector Grey proves difficult to deal with - callous and hot-headed, he is determined to catch his criminals using any method, no matter how corrupt. When it becomes clear that they are dealing with a series of violent killings, Hatton and Roumande must attempt to find the connection between the victims - at the same time unravelling a bombing campaign by a group of would-be terrorists and exploring the method of fingerprinting, their newest forensic tool.

And amongst all this, Professor Hatton finds himself dangerously distracted by a beautiful woman and painful memories from his past. As the kaleidoscope of outlandish characters, dockside strikes, bomb blasts and violent retribution reaches a crescendo, Hatton's skills are tested to the limit.
....... Inner front cover.

FIRST SENTENCE (Prologue: Highgate, 1858): Nothing but shadows and an eerie stillness in the heat of a simmering night as a figure stoops under a lintel and makes his way quickly, through a labyrinth of alleys, before finding Berry Street and heading north along the Farringdon Road.

MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 158): Flies were already thick in the air, the oilcloth on the floor swimming with guts, as Hatton reached the dissection slab where the new cadaver lay.

MY THOUGHTS: My first thoughts? Beautifully presented with a pretty dust-cover and ribbon-type bookmark. Perfect given the period in which the story is rooted. 

Though the second in a series of books this is a self contained story.

Set in Victorian London where a cholera outbreak is far from the only danger to be faced. The Devil's Ribbon is a rich and yet somewhat dark tapestry of a read. As educational as it is entertaining, it seamlessly combines a murder mystery with the story of the exciting and fairly new science of forensics in a novel which gives any contemporary Crime Scene Investigation style fiction a run for its money.  

Murder, dock strikes, riots, drug use, the growth of the Irish Nationalist movement, bombing campaigns, slums, fine tearooms. Then there's the wonderful relationship between Hatton and his assistant Roumande. Oh, and the 20 year old widow Mrs McCarthy who, with her womanly wiles, provides the romantic interest. It's all here in this remarkably descriptive novel and yet for some unknown reason I was left feeling oddly disappointed.

Disclaimer: Read and reviewed on behalf of NEWBOOKS magazine,  I was merely asked for my honest opinion, no financial compensation was asked for nor given.
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Betty Manousos said...

hi tracy, i'm sorry this book did not meet your expectations.
thank you for your beautifully written honest review!

big hugs~

Gina said...

Great review! Loving the presentation of the book (dust jackets and bookmarks...oh my!) and it sounds fairly interesting. Poo on the final disappointment though....I wonder why? Any ideas since the read?

Kelly said...

This sounds like exactly the kind of book I would enjoy. I may have to read it and see if I have the same feeling as you at the end. I'm sorry it disappointed you ultimately.

Felicity Grace Terry said...

I really have no idea why I found it to be a bit disappointing as I'm fascinated by anything to do with forensics and to read of them at there beginnings was tremendous. Perhaps I found the characters a little wanting but this wasn't something I was concious of.

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

Hi Tracy,

Sorry to hear that this book didn't excite you in perhaps the way it should have done, but I have to say that it sounds right up my street.

I don't generally read series stories, however I have already made up my mind that this series is one that I shall be reading from the beginning.

I love descriptive writing, so those first lines had me hooked straightaway. Add to that the gruesome early forensic activities and I'm good to go!

The author sounds so interesting as well, particularly her humanitarian work around the war zones of the world.

Thanks for the honest review and better luck with your next book.


Cherie Reich said...

It sounds like a great book, but the writing looks a bit dense with the descriptions. Sorry it was a bit disappointing. Thanks for the review.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Aw... the way it started I thought you were going to love this one. Sorry it left you with something to be desired. Hopefully the next will make up for it.

The Bookworm said...

Too bad it disappointed a bit. It does sound like a good read, I like that setting.
Sometimes I can't pinpoint what disappoints me in a read either.

Maude Lynn said...

Too bad it was disappointing. It sounds really good.

Brian Joseph said...

As other have remarked too bad that this was disappointing. The passages that you quoted seem well written.

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

Hi Tracy,

I just received a lovely e-mail from Denise Meredith, offering me a copy of 'The Devil's Ribbon'to read, so I am looking forward to checking out the story for myself.

I don't know about you, but I always love it when I know that an author has shown an active interest in a post I have published.

I hope that your current read is proving to be more to your satisfaction.


Jinky said...

Boy that last statement sure was a bummer! Thought you had found an awesome mystery book.

DMS said...

The presentation of the book sounds lovely. I liked the description of the story and am curious about it. It sounds like it is well written- but sorry to hear it left you lacking. I have put it on my list to pick up if I see it.