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All art is unstable. It's meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author, There is no authorative active voice. There are only multiple readings. David Bowie, 1995

Thursday, January 5, 2017

... silk doesn't maketh the man!

A Rustle of Silk: A new forensic mystery series set in Stuart England (A Gabriel Taverner Mystery #1) by Alys Clare

An exciting new protagonist for solving murders and mysteries set in early Stuart England times of the 17th century! Dr Gabriel Taverner is a navy surgeon now turned doctor who hails from Devon. He is endeavouring to set up practice back near his childhood neighbourhood.
The people we meet are fascinating. These are not surface figures. That these characters have a depth that will add to this and future stories is obvious from the get go. Black Carlotta, a wise woman and healer, midwife Judyth Penwarden, the coroner Theophilus Davey, and the local vicar Jonathan Carew are my special likes.
A man has killed himself and the coroner Theophilus, fetches Gabriel to assist him. Something about the  unknown dead man troubles Gabriel, but it's only sometime later that it becomes apparent that Gabriel was right to be troubled.
The dead man is his brother-in-law Jeromy Palfrey married to his sister Celia. And this is where everything turns on its tail and we find that Jeromy was a shallow supercilious man, agent for a wealthy silk merchant, one Nicolaus Quinlie. Although he supplies silk to the highest in the land, Quinlie is a vicious man of devious character and very few morals, up to his neck in all sorts of underhanded deals. Jeromy it seems was in thrall to Quinlie and complicit in some of Quinlie's more dubious dealings.
The tale goes on with believable intertwining coincidences, stretching from Plymouth to Venice and back, before coming to its quite complex conclusion, with some threads tied up tightly and more than a few left somewhat tantalizingly hanging.  Relationships are forged with a nice easy touch by Clare. I definitely want to read more about this erstwhile, forward thinking doctor, Gabriel Taverner and his friends.

A NetGalley ARC


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