I recently read the prepub of Instruments of Darkness by Imogen Robertson (due out Feb. 2011) and found it to be a solid piece of writing. It is the first in a historical mystery series, previously published in the UK and just coming to the US, featuring an eccentric 18th Century proto-pathologist and his wealthy, head-strong neighbor. In Instruments of Darkness, the two meet for the first time when Harriet Westerman approaches Dr. Crowther about a murder victim she finds near her property.
The setting is both in London and in the country and switches back and forth effortlessly. The tone is appropriate to the time period but is not too heavy and the characters have just enough depth to keep from being stereotypical. The novel has Gothic elements but keeps away from the trite or the cheesy.
It is an enjoyable read and worth pursuing and I am looking forward to reading the other books in the series.
-submitted by staffer Shannon Baker