“I am a newcomer to the Crowther and Westerman books, and when I realised that this was the third in the series I was concerned that I would have trouble getting into the story. This was far from the truth - Robertson provides enough back story to let you understand the characters, but not so much...”see full review » see other reviews »
“I am a newcomer to the Crowther and Westerman books, and when I realised that this was the third in the series I was concerned that I would have trouble getting into the story. This was far from the truth - Robertson provides enough back story to let you understand the characters, but not so much as to slow the pace of the story at hand. This is hard to achieve, and it's lovely to see it done well. This is typical of Robertson's style on the whole; she doesn't talk down to the reader, giving enough information to keep you engaged in the plot but not so much as to spell out the solution to you before the first chapter is over.
I thoroughly enjoyed Island of Bones, finding it to be good fun and very much in the spirit of Conan Doyle. The characters are well drawn, flaws and all, and it is refreshing to see a strong female character like Harriet Westerman. I thought the book was well paced and was satisfied by the conclusion, finding it neither obvious nor contrived - though I'm no detective myself, I must admit.
I will be ordering the first two books immediately on concluding this review. It has been a while since I had a book I hated to put down as much as this one, and I look forward to spending more time with the characters. ”
“In this installment we learn more of Crowther's past, not a happy tale. And of course there are mysteries to be solved by Mrs. Harriet Westerman and Gabriel Crowther.”Susie V wrote this review Wednesday, December 26, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Harriet Westerman and Gabriel Crowther have been requested to go the the Lake District to investigate an unforeseen body in a family crypt. This crypt is on the land that once belonged to Crother's family. He sold the land and gave up his title years earlier upon the murder of his father by his brother. We learn much about Crowther's past in this story.”Jaime Lire wrote this review Wednesday, November 14, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Against the backdrop of the glorious English Lake District, reclusive anatomist, Gabriel Crowther and his companion, Harriet Westerman meet again in a gothic story of intrigue, mystery and long dead secrets. The Island of Bones is the third book in the Crowther/ Westerman series of Gothic suspense novels, and is a fast and furious blend of history, deception and danger.
When an extra body is discovered in an ancient grave on the aptly named Island of Bones, Gabriel Crowther and Harriet Westerman are called upon to travel to Derwent Water, Cumberland, in order to investigate the mystery surrounding this unknown body. With added poignancy, Gabriel must return to what was once his family home in Keswick, which he abandoned during a scandal many years ago. The wild and untamed beauty of the area is richly juxtaposed alongside a story of disloyalty, disgrace and discredited honour. There are some really nice touches; Imogen Robertson has a nice way of writing, her characterisation is excellent, and her stunning description of the landscape, and superstition surrounding the Island of Bones, makes for interesting reading. The late Georgian era is captured to perfection, and the suspicion and superstition associated with this small Cumberland town is well explored.
With no prior knowledge of the previous two books in the series, it took me a little while to warm to the central characters, but once I understood a little more of their distinctive personalities, I found the narrative flowed very well, and I then became absorbed in the story. I particularly enjoyed reading the parts which involved Harriet’s young son Stephen, his relationship with the eccentric Casper Grace was by far my favourite part of the novel.
Overall, I thought that this was a fascinating and suspenseful murder mystery. I’m always happy to find a new author to follow, and it is now my intention to read the previous two books in the Crowther/ Westerman series.
My thanks to Real Readers for a review copy of Island of Bones.
“Island of Bones is the 3rd in the Westerman Crowther mystery series and like the others, it is sent in the 18th century. Gabriel Crowther and Harriet Westerman travel to Cumbria to investigate an extra body found in a tomb, and Crowther's history is revealed.
I have not read the previous two books and found I was able to read this without having previous knowledge of the series. The book is a mystery and keeps the reader guessing through most of it. When I did work out who the villain was, I was eager to get to the end to see if I was right.
This is a cleverly constructed book that mixes history with folk magic and paganism. There is an entertaining cast of characters and the story moves along at a reasonable pace. The story is well written and the author is very good at describing things, allowing the reader to build a clear image in the mind.
A criticism of this book and the reason I didn't give it 5 stars is that it is a bit confusing at times. I will be reading the previous novels and look forward to the next one, Circle of Shadows. Fans of Philippa Gregory will enjoy this.”
“This is a real historical gripper. Set in Cumbria. I found out by accident this is actually the third in the series, but only after reading this compelling crime novel. Although this is the third it does not deter the read. I would urge any reader to start with the first book, which I have just commenced.
I could not put this book down, I felt compelled to read this to its end and read it on a train journey, and it was a rare occasion to look forward to the journey home to complete this.
The book centres around scientist and anatomist Gabriel Crowther who is both puzzling and ambiguous. He has turned his back on the family tragedies- hoping he can ignore the past, but it catches up with him.
His estranged sister and her son are staying at the estate once owned by their family. whilst encouraging the owner to move the tomb of the first Earl of Greta from the Island of Bones to the local church. Another body is found within tomb. As a result Crowther and his friend, Mrs. Harriet Westerman are asked to attend in which crowther cannot resist. He has to then confront the past and that his brother may have been falsely (as the reader may have been thinking at the beginning of the book)
Each of the characters are real and Imogen Robertson spins a good compelling story.
“Gabriel Crowther changed his name and residence to get away from the bloody history his family left to him, but when a tomb left for 300 years is reopened in 1783 an extra body is found, and he is brought back to everything he had wanted to leave behind. With savvy Harriet Westerman to help him solve the mystery they find out there are a lot more secrets than only the mysterious body, including Gabriel's family. Mysteries like roots, held underground, and tangled together finally see the light of day in this can't-put-down book.
Imogen Robertson is great at drawing you into the story from the very beginning. Her characters are interesting, almost life-like. There are so many characters written in the book and yet she is able to write a rounded personality and history about each one of them, in a matter of a paragraph, and she does this without leaving you confused, or bored.
A mystery novel that takes place in 1783 is written with intelligence, adventure, intruigue. The more I read the more I wanted to know. She really seems to put so much work in everything she does, everything she creates, and I really love that about her.
I will be definitely looking out for more of her books. At the end of this book there is an excerpt for her new novel called: Circle of Shadows. Though I will miss the pairing of Gabriel Crowther and Harriet Westerman, at least I will be able to meet them again in her previous two novels.
Lucky to have read and found such a wonderful author and look forward to reading the rest of her creations.”
“An intriguing crime story set in 1783 where an extra body is discovered buried in a tomb. In an effort to find out what has happened Gabrield Crowther has to dredge up his family's history of murder after years of hiding who he really is.
A good historical crime novel although a bit of an anticlimax at the end. It was building up to an explosive ending but then fizzled out. A good read nonetheless.”
“I have immense admiration for the writers of historical fiction. There is no margin for error. One slip up, one anachronism, pounced upon by eagle-eyed readers can destroy the work’s credibility instantly. And so for the writers of historical crime fiction the admiration becomes immense. For faultless research of the period is not enough, the plot must be flawless and methods of detection sustained throughout. No forensic or DNA escape routes available.
For me the mark of a good crime novel is whether or not I can second-guess the outcome and at what point in the novel that occurs. Too many crime writers throw out red herrings like crumbs to the birds and the intricacies of the plot become so ravelled as to be implausible. It’s a pitfall an historic crime writer can’t afford to fall into and Imogen Robertson doesn’t. This is my first Imogen Robertson and as I begun the novel I feared it might be last. It was slow to start with a seeming over dependency on including every aspect of research undertaken to recreate the ambience of the era, some of it unnecessary.
Gabriel Crowther didn’t appear to be a particularly endearing protagonist but maybe be the age of the anti-hero is not dead. Harriet Westerham would seem to be the foil. And I have to say Carol Jordan and Tony Hill DID cross my mind but not for long. Crowther is less quirky, more scientific though no less sociable.
But there was no point where I suspected the perpetrator until he was named and yet the clues were all there. I will not succumb to the role of spoiler and identify those clues here, take my word for it they are subtly interspersed in the narrative. And such is the skill of Ms. Robertson’s writing that I shall actively seek out more of her work.
“A stand alone book in the series featuring Gabriel Crowther aka Charles, Baron of Keswick and his friend Harriet Westerman. It begins in The Tower of London with Charles awaiting the execution of his brother for the murder of their father in 1751. As an historical "Who done it?" it is very good and the atmosphere of the time and place seems right. I enjoyed the story but I was not all that keen on the main character who is a brooding scientist and loner who is very difficult to relate to. He just comes across as rather rude and unsociable which could be explained by his family history if the author had not told us that he was always so. His friend Harriet is easier to understand but is still a little irritating but quite likeable. All in all a good murder mystery with plenty of bodies, lovely scenery and good characters in the background. I will read the 2 previous books in the series which is a good sign that I enjoyed the read!”Pauline Evanson wrote this review Tuesday, May 1, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No