Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Rough Magic

Rough Magic is the newest book in the Cragg & Fidelis historical mystery series by Robin Blake. Due out 1st April 2019 from Severn House, it's 304 pages and will be available in first release in hardback format (presumably also ebook format soon after).

Historical mystery is probably my favorite genre, and this one, set in 1744, is a fine example. Coroner Cragg and his wife lease a house in a remote village to avoid an outbreak of polio which threatens their infant son.  The trip is anything but a peaceful retreat. Immediately after their arrival, Cragg is called on in his official duty to investigate the accident/murder of an unpopular harridan.

The custom of charivari (or rough music) was a form of public shaming which was on the way out in most areas of England in the time period, but this particular 'ride' ended with the woman's death.  Dr. Fidelis is soon involved as well and his overdeveloped sense of chivalry gets a workout as there are damsels aplenty.

There is so much richness in the period detail in these books.  I also appreciated the author's deft touch. The reader isn't clubbed over the head with historical accuracy, it's inserted into the narrative seamlessly.

These are well written, well plotted books. While some of the major plot points (no spoilers) are telegraphed fairly clearly, there were enough other twists to keep the narrative interesting and engaging.

Really well written and plotted.  The other books certainly enhance this one, but it works well as a standalone.

Four stars. Highly recommended. Would make a fine mystery book club selection.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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