Harriet Westerman spent the early years of her marriage traveling
with her husband, Commodore Westerman.
Those years aboard his sailing vessel honed her independence, intelligence
and sense of adventure. These days she
is mistress of Cavely Park in West Sussex, mother to Stephen and Anne, and
guardian of her younger sister Rachel while her husband is sailing half a world away. Probably not a bad place for him as he surely
would not approve of the actions she is about to undertake. In the shrubbery of Cavely Park a body is
found. Harriet heads to the abode of the
newest member of their community, Gabriel Crowther. He is an anatomist, a man versed in the art
of death. Harriet wants justice, she
feels the dead man is connected to the powerful family at Thornleigh Hall, her
nearest neighbor, and his murder will be swept under the rugs rather than
challenge the wealthy landowners. Being
aware of Gabriel’s reputation as a man of science, she wants him to examine the
body and determine if it was murder. There is something unsavory going on at
Thornleigh Hall, the Earl’s firstborn son left many years past and has not been
heard from since. Captain Hugh
Thornleigh, the second son, returned from fighting the upstart Americans in the
Revolutionary War with grave injuries. Crowther stays away from society and out
of public scrutiny. Still he is intrigued
by his intelligent headstrong neighbor, finds her friendship intellectually
stimulating, and is soon involved in solving the puzzle.
March 2011 Indie Next List
“Shades of Jane Eyre meets Sherlock Holmes, circa 1776: two murders near a country manor in West Sussex; a Lord accused; and insanity, fire, orphans. Attempting to solve the mystery are an early forensic doctor, Gabriel Crowther, and his neighbor, Mrs. Westerman, the unconventional mistress of Caveley Park. This is the first in what I hope will be a long series featuring two fabulously appealing detectives.”
— Karen Corvello, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, CT
In the year 1780, Harriet Westerman, the willful mistress of a country manor in Sussex, finds a dead man on her grounds with a ring bearing the crest of Thornleigh Hall in his pocket. Not one to be bound by convention or to shy away from adventure, she recruits a reclusive local anatomist named Gabriel Crowther to help her find the murderer, and historical suspense's newest investigative duo is born. For years, Mrs. Westerman has sensed the menace of neighboring Thornleigh Hall, seat of the Earl of Sussex. It is the home of a once-great family that has been reduced to an ailing invalid, his whorish wife, and his alcoholic second son, a man haunted by his years spent as a redcoat in the Revolutionary War. The same day, Alexander Adams is slain by an unknown killer in his London music shop, leaving his children orphaned. His death will lead back to Sussex and to an explosive secret that has already destroyed one family and threatens many others. Instruments of Darkness combines the brooding atmosphere of Anne Perry with the complex, compelling detail of Tess Gerritsen, moving from drawing room to dissecting room, from coffee house to country inn. Mrs. Westerman and Mr. Crowther are both razor-sharp minds, and their personalities breathe spirit into this gripping historical mystery.
About the Author
Imogen Robertson is a former television, film, and radio director and the author of "Instruments of Darkness" and "The Anatomy of Murder."
Wanda McCaddon has narrated well over six hundred titles for major audio publishers and has earned more than twenty-five Earphones Awards from "AudioFile" magazine. She has also won a coveted Audie Award, and "AudioFile" has named her one of recording's Golden Voices.
"The book works splendidly as a period thriller, with complicated leads and informative details that illuminate 18th-century England for modern readers." ---Publishers Weekly