Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Mount TBR 2017

The Scent of Murder – Felicity Young

Historical Fiction
4*s

The more I read of this historical crime fiction series featuring autopsy surgeon Dodi McCleland, the more I enjoy the sheer brilliance of the author carefully weaving historical details and behaviours into a well-plotted crime novel.

In this episode, Dodi is chaperoning her younger sister Florence to a weekend stay at Fitzgibbon Hall a country house near the hamlet of Piltdown. Also at the house is Florence’s love interest Tristram and his ghastly uncle Desmond. When a set of bones is found on a dried out waterbed in the grounds, Tristram hopes that this find will rival those of the Piltdown Man. With hunting with hounds not really Dodi’s idea of a good time she offers to take a look and it soon becomes clear the bones are of a young female, possibly a resident of the nearby workhouse.

The mystery is who is the girl and why was she shot in the back of the head and of course, who shot her? There really is only one way to proceed and that is to call on a detective to complement her medical knowledge. Yes, followers of the series will be delighted to hear that Inspector Matthew Pike makes an appearance even though Dodi is not at home. The pair’s relationship has matured although the sensibilities of the times means that it is still one of a clandestine nature. This lends a somewhat farcical scene when they come to meet in public yet are unable to act with anything beyond the professional façade.

The Scent of Murder is jam-packed with characters of all descriptions which means that some of them are pretty awful, some of them do awful things and some of them are outright baddies, oh and there are a few wise and kind souls but you have to look harder for them! In all seriousness I really do admire the way Felicity Young balances the fairly unlikeable characters with small gestures of kindness whilst never stooping to sentimentalise the realities of life at this time, particularly if you were a girl from the workhouse hoping for a permanent job as an under maid.

This series of books feel a lot more measured than contemporary crime fiction, but that doesn’t mean that they are without action, in each of the three books I’ve read there is plenty to keep you biting your nails as danger stalks the victims of this tale from all directions as the multiple strands pull together to expose all the dastardly goings on.

As in the other books in the series the victims are those that you would naturally choose from this era of history, women, children and the poor but the author is careful not to overdo the issues she is addressing. The focus in this book is the poor, particularly those who inhabit the nearby workhouse run by the Master and Mistress, who are as vile as any you might meet in a Dickens novel. This in contrast the opulent Fitzgibbon Hall with its hunting and well-stocked kitchen says all that needs to be said about the divide between rich and poor at this time.

The Scent of Murder is another book rich with detail for any lover of historical crime fiction.

The Scent of Murder was my twelfth read in my Mount TBR Challenge 2017, so I’m still on target to hit 36 books purchased before 1 January 2017. I purchased this book in September 2015.

mount-tbr-2017

 

 

First Published UK: 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins
No of Pages: 243
Genre: Historical Fiction – Crime 
Amazon UK

Dodi McCleland Series

The Anatomy of Death
Antidote to Murder
The Scent of Murder
An Insanity of Murder

Posted in Weekly Posts

This Week in Books (April 19)

This Week In Books
Hosted by Lipsy Lost & Found my Wednesday post gives you a taste of what I am reading this week. A similar meme is run by Taking on a World of Words

My current read is another from my own bookshelf; The Scent of Murder by Felicity Young which is the third in the Dr Dody McCleland series set in London during the Edwardian era.

Blurb

‘If a black dog appears along the old corpse way, the route a funeral procession takes to the churchyard, it is thought to be escorting the dead soul to the afterlife. A black dog sighting without a funeral procession, however, is supposed to foreshadow death.’

For Doctor Dody McCleland, the unearthing of an ancient skeleton in a dry riverbed is a welcome break from the monotony of chaperoning her younger sister at a country house near the isolated hamlet of Piltdown. But when she begins her analysis of the bones, Britain’s first female autopsy surgeon discovers they are much more recent – and they are the result of murder. With Chief Inspector Matthew Pike’s help Dody begins to investigate.
Soon she finds herself pitted against ugly traditionalism, exploitation, spectral dogs, a ghostly hunt and a series of events that not only threaten her belief in scientific rationalism, but threaten her life itself. Amazon

The last book I finished was Mother Knows Best by Netta Newbound, a contemporary psychological thriller of novella length.

Blurb

All her life twenty-two-year-old Ruby Fitzroy’s annoyingly over protective mother has believed the worst will befall one of her two daughters. Sick and tired of living in fear, Ruby arranges a date without her mother’s knowledge.

On first impressions, charming and sensitive Cody Strong seems perfect. When they visit his home overlooking the Welsh coast, she meets his delightful father Steve and brother Kyle. But it isn’t long before she discovers all is not as it seems.

After a shocking turn of events, Ruby’s world is blown apart. Terrified and desperate, she prepares to face her darkest hour yet.

Will she ever escape this nightmare? Amazon

Next up is a book that I have been eagerly anticipating for some time, See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt which was inspired by the infamous Lizzie Borden


Blurb

In this riveting debut novel, See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt recasts one of the most fascinating murder cases of all time into an intimate story of a volatile household and a family devoid of love.

On the morning of August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden calls out to her maid: Someone’s killed Father. The brutal ax-murder of Andrew and Abby Borden in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts, leaves little evidence and many unanswered questions. While neighbours struggle to understand why anyone would want to harm the respected Bordens, those close to the family have a different tale to tell—of a father with an explosive temper; a spiteful stepmother; and two spinster sisters, with a bond even stronger than blood, desperate for their independence.

As the police search for clues, Emma comforts an increasingly distraught Lizzie whose memories of that morning flash in scattered fragments. Had she been in the barn or the pear arbor to escape the stifling heat of the house? When did she last speak to her stepmother? Were they really gone and would everything be better now? Shifting among the perspectives of the unreliable Lizzie, her older sister Emma, the housemaid Bridget, and the enigmatic stranger Benjamin, the events of that fateful day are slowly revealed through a high-wire feat of storytelling. NetGalley

So I have a reading week full of murder and I’d love to know what are you reading?