Introducing a new historical crime series that The New York Times Book Review called "CSI: Georgian England" and Tess Gerritsen called "chillingly memorable"
A body in a field. A murder in a music shop. A missing heir to a great estate. These three seemingly separate mysteries prove to be intimately intertwined in Imogen Robertson's thrilling debut novel Instruments of Darkness, an engrossing blend of eighteenth-century history, forensic science, and classic suspense.
The year is 1780. Bold, unconventional navy wife Harriet Westerman finds the body of an unidentified man in the fields of her country manor. The only clues to his death lie in his hand: a torn slip of paper and a ring with the crest of Thornleigh Hall, the neighboring estate. Years ago, the heir to the hall ran away, never to be heard of again, and the family—now only a crippled father, his whorish new wife, and his drunkard son—slowly fell into disrepute. At the same time, London is seized by riots, but widower Alexander Adams has a happy home and a successful music shop. Then, without warning, Adams is murdered in broad daylight—in front of his two young children—and without any apparent motive. Hidden away in the safety of a friend's house, the two children mourn the loss of their father while living in fear that the murderer will return for them.
Determined to solve the murder, Harriet turns to the one person who can help her. Gabriel Crowther—anatomist and recluse—has exactly the scientific knowledge and disregard for the conventions of society needed to uncover the truth. Despite his solitary life, Crowther has an astute understanding of human nature and enjoys the intellectual challenge that the crime presents. This, combined with Harriet's keen empathy and sense of justice, makes them a formidable pair, unrelenting in their pursuit of the truth. Yet their dogged determination unearths more than even they anticipated, threatening to reveal Crowther's own dark secret and risking the security and happiness of Harriet's entire family.
From squires to scullery maids, the grime of London to grand estates, Imogen Robertson has created a world rich in period detail and rife with dramatic tension. She is a brilliant new voice in the world of historical suspense, and with Instruments of Darkness she offers a web of intrigue, false clues, and macabre science, and the novel's shocking final twist will leave readers talking—and clamoring for more.