The Hangman's Daughter hooked me and I listened, engaged, to the end. It has everything I like in historical mystery - compelling characters, fascinating time period, fast-paced plot. The thing to know, though, is it also has torture. The author has not shied away from graphic depictions of the Hangman's trade and atrocities committed by mercenaries and soldiers of the time. For example, an infant is ripped from its mother and swung by its foot... I'll leave the rest out, suffice to say, it doesn't end well for the baby. But the book doesn't celebrate or in anyway glorify violence. It's just part of the world of 1658. So, it's up to each reader to decide. For myself, I'll be downloading the next book in the series.
I don't know how I missed Ruth Downie and the Russo series, but since the first book was published in 2007, it must be true which is a bummer for me. But, on the good side, there are now four more novels in the series ready to download without any waiting. Discovering a new series is one of the best things that I spend my credits on!
I realize that people who are very particular about historical accuracy might find Medicus trying, but I have no such standards. I thought it was great! There is a strain of sentimentality in the work that is more common is "cozy" mysteries, but that charmed me right away.
I hope the next book holds to the same tone and builds the momentum so well done in Medicus. I'm going to download book two now. Fingers crossed.
I was reminded of this classic in my audio library when I read about the news that the remains of Richard III had been found. This is one of the books that made me a fan of historical fiction. It's a great plot device to have all the evidence examined from a modern perspective by a police detective who is confined to hospital bed and working on the "cold case of Richard III" to stop himself from dying of boredom as he recuperates. I was convinced by the conclusion he reached and this is the version of the princes in the tower that has stayed with me. Also, this is also the book that sent me looking for more works by Josephine Tay. It was worth the credit. I recommend it.
When a new book in a series I read is about to come out, I frequently reread the last entry (or even the entire series) so that I will have all the events leading up to the new entry clear in my mind. I wasn't sure I wanted to reread "Pirate King," but since Garment of Shadows didn't appear on Audible the same day that it appeared on Amazon in hardback, I was feeling I might explode with anticipation. So I thought to myself, "Maybe Pirate King wasn't really as bad as I remember. I'll re-listen to it while I'm waiting for 'Garment.'" Well, Pirate King WAS as bad as I had remembered it. I listened for about an hour and then turned it off again. So I was a little worried. I mean, I never would have believed that Laurie R. King could have written anything as bad as PK. Did she have a stroke? Is she on some new and horrible cholesterol drug that has destroyed her mind?
I was worried.
Well, put your minds at rest. I still don't know what happened with Pirate King, but it was apparently just temporary. Garment of Shadows is back in the groove. The plot is good and there is plenty of mystery. Mary gets to exercise her considerable tenacity and ingenuity. There is plenty of Holmes. There are subsidiary characters in this book that we can actually like. Danger abounds.
One strange thing. In some of the Mary Russell books, we get sections written from Holmes's point of view. That is true in this book too. In previous books, Jenny Sterlin narrated both those parts of the book from Mary's POV and those from Holmes's POV. But in this book, they chose to get a second narrator to narrate those sections which are from Holmes's point of view. I've gotten used to Holmes's voice the way Jenny Sterlin does it, and the new narrator's voice for him is quite different, so it was sort of a shock. Even more strange is the fact that when the story is told from Mary's point of view, there is still dialog in which Holmes speaks, and this is still spoken by Sterlin. So we have two very different voices for Holmes in the same recording. I suspect many people are going to hate this. I didn't hate it, but I did think it was entirely unnecessary. We've gotten used to Sterlin's performance of Holmes's voice over many books. It wasn't broken. It didn't need to be fixed.
So finally: I recommend this book highly. Thanks Mrs. King. I loved your new book.