(2011, Pamela Dorman Books, Viking)
I suppose it is probably pretty obvious that I am a fan of historical Mysteries, and if they are in a series-well that is even better. INSTRUMENTS OF DARKNESS is the first book in a new series that now numbers three books. The heroine is a ship captain’s wife; a woman who spent many years at sea with her husband but , since the arrival of children, she has been running the family estate; a stay at home mom circa 1780 with wet nurses and servants. She is a no-nonsense person who has run this estate profitably. Her neighbour is a gentleman recluse, a man who has rejected his own noble title and instead he stays at home and studies human anatomy among other things. His name is Gabriel Crowther and he is more at home with the company of dead things.
The sea captain’s wife (Mrs. Harriet Westerman) discovers a dead body on her property and she immediately seeks the assistance of her reclusive neighbour. They become a team as they try to unravel this mystery. Along the way they encounter a misplaced heir. The American war of Independence figures in to the plot and the action moves between a country estate and London. Harriet and Gabriel make an interesting pair of amateur sleuths and the murder mystery is satisfying. We see small glimpses into Gabriel’s past that hints at why he is such a hermit.
The second book in the series is called ANATOMY OF MURDER and there is also a third book called ISLAND OF BONES. The third book is available at bookstores but it is not yet available at my library. I am in queue and look forward to receiving it to read.