Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Dark Waters
A Cragg and Fidelis Mystery – Book II
Robin Blake

Constable (Constable and Robinson)
8 January 2015 / ISBN 9781472115911

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde


Preston 1741 and election fever is in full swing. The fun has barely started when drunken publican Anthony Egan is found drowned in the river. As he was hardly ever sober this is not a big surprise, but did he fall or was he pushed? Soon the body count is rising and it begins to look as if politics can be deadly?

I recently reviewed the first in this series A Dark Anatomy (also reviewed on this site) and continue to be impressed with the author’s masterly depiction of early 18th century life. Historical mysteries set in the 1740s are not common, and I would give higher marks for not setting it in London but in the more remote Lancashire. Titus Cragg the coroner tells the story, a practical lawyer with a loving, intelligent wife and a fellow sleuth who is usefully a doctor. The characters are all drawn with warmth and wit so it is easy to care about what happens to them. It is also easy to get sucked in immediately to this turbulent tale of political machinations and there is always something going on to interest, amuse or excite the reader. This is a time when elections were a cause for merriment but also serious concerns such as Jacobites and the real threat of ?the king over the water? as well as people’s views of Britain’s first prime minister. 18th century daily life comes alive here as Titus gets a book made up at a bookbinder, organizes inquests and hears Rule Britannia sung for the first time. Much as I enjoyed the first book and wanted to read more I felt the plot was rather far-fetched. This book is even more exciting but more rooted in real life and the concerns of the times. A series to read slowly and savor; more please.
Reviewed 2015