Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Murder at Rosamund's Gate

Title: A Murder at Rosamund's Gate

Author: Susanna Calkins

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Series: Lucy Campion, Bk 1

ISBN: 9781250007902

Pages: 338 + Historic Note

Obtained: Library copy

Why this book?:

I can't remember when I first saw this and decided to request it.  But I decided to read it now because it fit the Historical Mystery Reading Challenge 2013.


I enjoyed this book.  Lucy is a very likeable character.  She's a servant, but intelligent and part of a very good household so she has more opportunity than many other servants might have.  The book is very clear that servants and the lower classes can live very grim lives.

In fact, that's one of the things I appreciated about this book - the historical detail.  The author takes a couple privileges, which she addresses in her historical note at the end, but overall you can tell a lot of attention was paid to the detail and accuracy of the history and time being portrayed - without being preachy or stilted.  Perhaps that is in large part due to the author's doctorate in British History?

Speaking of which, this book is set in Restoration London (1665 or thereabouts).  This is a period I know VERY little about.  But issues addressed include:

London Fire
Treatment of lower classes and women
Prisoner/Criminal treatment
England's legal and court system
Public Society's interest in murder and gruesome tales (there's a word for these and I'm blanking)

Now, I would say this is very clearly a historical mystery.  Except I do need to point out that at one point the book seemed to forget it was supposed to be a mystery and turned into a (sweet) romance ... but it recalled itself by the end.  Seriously, though, there was some genre confusion.  As I happen to like romances as well as mysteries I was fine with that, but it was a little strange.  Especially considering the hints at the end (which I will not further address so as not to give things away).

For the mystery part of things.  I wondered about the bad dude off and on.  Then about 3/5 of the way through, I thought the whole situation was hinky and settled on him... hesitantly.  It wasn't smack my head obvious (or at least no to me), more of a gut thing.

I hope to read the next book, expected out in April 2014 with a working title of From the Charred Remains.

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