Early “CSI”

Instruments of Darkness by Imogen Robertson is a brilliant and unusual crime novel. Picture a forensic crime investigation back in 1780. Robertson has created an eccentric early forensic investigator named Gabriel Crowther, a self-described “natural scientist and anatomist.” He dissects and studies dead bodies.

When she finds a mysteriously murdered body on her property, Mrs.Westerman goes looking for Mr. Crowther to help her solve the crime. A recluse, for his own reasons, Mr. Crowther is soon drawn into the mystery by the intellectually-curious and persistent Mrs. Westerman, and her lovely sister.
Soon bodies are piling up in the small village. It becomes clear that if Mr. Crowther and Mrs.Westerman are not successful more innocents will die.
This book is fascinating for many reasons. The plot is intricate and suitably diabolical to hold the attention of true mystery buffs. But, its real charm lies in the deft way Robertson weaves early scientific methods and prejudices through the story. It is illumining as well as entertaining. Her characters are quirky and engaging as they draw you in. The pace of the plot is as fast and furious as any modern police drama. If you are a fan of shows such as CSI you’ll adore this book. I found it thoroughly engaging.