Another Review at MyShelf.Com

The Scrivener / The Hidden Man
A Cragg and Fidelis Mystery - Book III
Robin Blake

Constable (Constable and Robinson)
5 March 2015 / ISBN 9781472115959

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde


Every twenty years in Preston they hold the Preston Guild, a festival where everybody has a good time and the organizers try and outdo previous years. But it looks as though this Guild might be very thin indeed as the man holding the money has been found dead, presumably by his own hand. Philip Pimbo was a pawnbroker and moneylender who wanted to set up his own bank, but his strongroom is locked and the key has vanished.

If you haven’t read A Dark Anatomy and Dark Waters (both also reviewed on this site) do so before reading this. It will give you the opportunity to find out important things about the characters and setting, and also to be entertained by a couple of good books. This is another such, filled with the author’s trademark evocative descriptions of everyday life in the 1740s in a rural town. Titus Cragg the coroner tells the story as in the others, a pragmatic lawyer who is blessed with a clever wife and lively friend in the shape of Luke Fidelis, doctor and sleuth. As the pair (aided by Elizabeth’s observances) try and discover more about the mysterious co-investor and partner Zadok Moon they uncover facts about the slave trade, a strange hidden hoard buried a century earlier, the last scion of a once great local family and deal with more than one body. Cragg knows nothing about the slave trade and sensibly reads up on it and investigates in person to discover more, making his final disgust at it an informed decision. This and everything else rings true about the age, making this a historical novel that won’t only interest whodunit fans but anybody wanting to immerse themselves in the period. There are no time travellers in here but characters that have the authentic ambience of people from the 1740s. This and the ingenious plot make it a novel to savor. More please!

Reviewed 2015