November 25th, 2013


Book 211: The Devil's Ribbon by D. E. Meredith

Book 211: The Devil's Ribbon (Hatton and Roumande #2).
Author: D. E. Meredith, 2011.
Genre: Historical Mystery. Victorian England. Forensics. Politics.
Other Details: Hardback. 335 pages.

July,1858. London swelters, and trouble is brewing. Forensic scientist Adolphus Hatton and his trusty assistant Albert Roumande have a morgue full of cholera victims to attend to, and an eager apprentice to teach. But alongside the cholera outbreak, London is also home to a growing unrest. When a leading politician of the Irish Unionist movement is murdered, the flamboyant Inspector Grey calls on Hatton and Roumande to help solve the case.

But Inspector Grey proves difficult to deal with – callous and hot-headed, he is determined to catch his criminals using any method, no matter how corrupt. When it becomes clear that they are dealing with a series of violent killings, Hatton and Roumande must attempt to find the connection between the victims – at the same time unravelling a bombing campaign by a group of would-be terrorists and exploring the method of fingerprinting, their newest forensic tool. And amongst all this, Professor Hatton finds himself dangerously distracted by a beautiful woman and painful memories from his past.
- synopsis from UK publishers' website.

Although I had some reservations about Devoured, the first in this series, I am glad that I borrowed the second as it was stronger in terms of its pacing while retaining a highly detailed sense of the period setting and a cast of fascinating characters.

Here Meredith tackles the thorny issue of the conflict between the British and Irish as played out in Victorian London with a series of deaths with seemingly political motives. The conclusion came as a real surprise, which is always a treat, and I found that I enjoyed it very much.

There is no sign of a third book as yet though I hope she continues with with the series that she says readers describe as “Think CSI meets Sherlock Holmes….”. I would agree with this, which also makes my icon a perfect choice!

D. E. Meredith's page on 'The Devil's Ribbon' - includes download of first chapter and material on the Irish in 19th Century London.


4. To Prussia with Love - Roger Boyes
Blurb: In a desperate attempt to save his relationship with girlfriend Lena and take a break from the world of journalism, Roger Boyes agrees to make a great escape from the easy urban lifestyle of Berlin and decamp to the countryside. He has hopes for Italy, but Lena has inherited a run-down schloss in deepest, darkest Brandenburg.
Needing a form of income, they decide to set up a B&B with a British theme. Enter unhelpful Harry and his Trinidadian chef cousin, an unhinged Scot to advise them on re-branding Brandenburg, some suicidal frogs and a posse of mad tourists. It all culminates, naturally, in a cricket match between the Brits and the Germans on an old Russian minefield. Farce meets romance in this hilarious romp through East Germany's very own Faulty Towers.
My View: I seem to have a habit of picking books which take a while to get going this year. At first, I wasn't enjoying this book too much. I often find Boyes can be a bit far-fetched in his re-telling of events, making them seem too unrealistic and unbelievable. However, they are funny which makes up for the potential porkies. I love Boyes' view on Germans, as he gets their little quirks perfectly. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a non-stereotypical insight into German like from a Brit. It is a simple read, great for relaxing.