Death in the Valley of Shadows (John Rawlings Mysteries)

by Deryn Lake | Mystery & Thrillers |
ISBN: 0749006412 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 2/16/2017
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Thursday, February 16, 2017
I found this good-condition UK-edition hardcover at a local Salvation Army thrift shop. It's a surprisingly raucous and bouncy Georgian-England mystery, with main character John Rawlings based loosely on a real person about whom not that much is known. Other historical characters figure in the book as well, most notably the "Blind Beak" - he was actually called that in his day - Sir John Fielding, who, despite being blinded at age 19, went on to become a noted magistrate.

In this book, apothecary Rawlings finds himself drawn in to a wildly dysfunctional family when a desperate man seeks shelter in Rawlings' shop from his vitriolic ex-lover. Rawlings obliges, and has quite a squabble with the pursuing woman - indeed, by the time she stalks off, he's calling her a "Harridan!" So, yeah, not the gentile, polite-society kind of period story here {wry grin}.

To no mystery-reader's surprise, the hag-ridden man winds up dead, but that's just the first of an escalating series of deaths in his family and in that of his former and future flames. What's the connection, and can Rawlings help figure it out in time to spare the next victim? And can he do all this while looking after his very pregnant wife, who's due to give birth at any moment...

While the story features lots of fun elements, including secret corridors, hidden relationships, elopements, and poisonings, its pacing felt a bit clunky to me, and I never really felt caught up in it.

I did spot one tantalizing bit: Rawlings has his fortune told, after his wife's had hers, and the fortunes hint at a tragic fate for the wife in the not-too-distant future. I was relieved when she was still with us by end-of-book, but unless the whole thing was the author's idea of a prank on characters and readers both, I suspect the next book may be darker.

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Gale Park in Exeter, New Hampshire USA on Saturday, February 18, 2017

Released 1 yr ago (2/18/2017 UTC) at Gale Park in Exeter, New Hampshire USA


I plan to leave this book, bagged against the elements, on a bench in Gale Park near the war memorial statue (created by renowned sculptor Daniel Chester French). Alas, the photo came out too blurry to show the statue, and the park was too full of snow for me to get any closer. In any case, I hope the finder enjoys the book!

[See other recent releases in NH here.]

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