Sentence: Standing in the doorway, with medical bag in hand,
Luke Fidelis peered into the shadowed room until its main features
had resolved themselves: the outline of the low pallet bed;
the man's gaunt, ghostly face looking steadily upwards; the
pale hand resting motionless outside the covering blanket.
the very beginning, Blake transports us to 1742 England, and
it's not a particularly pleasant place to be. Life can be
hard; particularly for women.
of Preston are looking forward to the celebration of the Preston
Guild, until Phillip Pimbo, the pawnbroker and man responsible
for keeping the event funds secure is found shot behind the
locked door of his office. For Coroner Cragg, all evidence
points to suicide; Doctor Fidelis isn't as certain. To learn
the truth, and even to open Pimbo's safe, Cragg must learn
the secrets of Pimbo's life, including facts about the African
slave trade and missing Civil War treasure.
is incredibly clever about aligning his two characters, even
down to how it can be possible for Coroner Titus Cragg to
set down, in third person, the events and dialogue of Doctor
Luke Fedelis without Cragg being present, while events occurring
to Cragg are written in first person. It is the complete attention
to detail that makes Blake's writing so impressive.
who seamlessly educates and informs, while entertaining and
intriguing their audience, is one of real skill. To learn
about banking in the 1700s is fascinating.
are the two main characters interesting and a good balance
to one another, but one cannot help but like Titus' wife,
Elizabeth. She is wonderfully clever. However, her winning
point comes with the words, "Titus, dearest, I'm reading."
Some will also appreciate Titus' issues with his in-laws.
for a moment be concerned that this is a slow read. Whilst
some may find the level of detail overwhelming, it is the
details that make the story completely fascinating, thanks
to the pacing of the story that picks up as one reads. It
is fascinating to see who they weave together form the whole
presents the different views and attitudes of the time toward
the slave trade. It is sad that, although now that the focus
of present-day concerns is different, many of the attitudes
remain the same: "
it is conducted by evil men.
Why is there no outcry?" "Because people are making
money." Blake's writing occasionally causes one to pause
"Death is all around us, yet we will
never treat it as commonplace. I suppose it is because we
don't know the manner of our own deaths that we are so powerfully
drawn to discover how others have died."
Hidden Man is a very good read with an excellent plot
twist, captivating characters, and a compelling plot. It is
also part of a series well worth reading.