Instruments of Darkness (Crowther and Westerman, #1) by Imogen Robertson

Instruments of Darkness (Crowther and Westerman, #1)

An intricate historical page-turner about a forbidding country estate and the unlikely forensic duo who set out to uncover its deadly secrets. In the year 1780, Harriet Westerman, the willful mistress of a country manor in Sussex, finds a dead man on her grounds with a ring bearing the crest of Thornleigh Hall in his pocket. Not one to be bound by convention or to shy away from adventure, she recruits a reclusive local anatomist named Gabriel Cr...

Details Instruments of Darkness (Crowther and Westerman, #1)

TitleInstruments of Darkness (Crowther and Westerman, #1)
Release DateFeb 17th, 2011
PublisherPamela Dorman Books
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Historical Mystery, Fiction, Crime

Reviews Instruments of Darkness (Crowther and Westerman, #1)

  • Melissa McShane
    6/9/15: Edited to mark spoilers, just in case.Meh.It should have been interesting. The plot elements were all there. It's set in 1780, so you have the backdrop of England fighting the colonial upstarts as well as unrest at home--specifically the Gordon Riots, which I hadn't heard of before, and normally that grabs me. But...meh. It didn't help that the introductory chapter interwove the two plots in a moderately confusing way and then continued j...
  • Lisa
    This was a very enjoyable debut novel from a clearly talented new author, one which introduces a great new 'detective' duo in Gabriel Crowther and Harriet Westerman.Set in England in the year 1780, the novel begins with the forward-thinking and feisty Westerman securing the help of the reclusive anatomist Crowther after discovering a murder victim on her lands. She suspects that someone at the neighbouring Thornleigh Hall estate has something to ...
  • Richard Derus
    Tension builds from the moment Mrs Westerman, genteel proprietress of Caveley Park, forces her acquaintance on reclusive anatomist Gabriel Crowther, wealthy man of secrets and possessor of many strange and distasteful objects, in search of his help in dealing with the death of a stranger in her copse.It doesn't let up. It ratchets up every time Mrs Westerman or Mr Crowther are on stage. There are flashbacks to Mrs Westerman's neighbor, Lord Hugh ...
  • Minna
    2.5 stars.What worked for me:+ The mystery was good. It was intricate enough that all the twists weren't immediately obvious, although the main ideas were. + Harriet and Crowther were engaging detectives. I liked their personalities, which is always a good thing in a detective story.+ The subplots worked for me: I can follow skipping around in time, if it's done well, and this was. I even liked the children, which I normally do not particularly e...
  • LJ
    First Sentence: Gabriel Crowther opened his eyes. Harriet Westerman, wife of a navy commander, has given up sailing with her husband to raise their family and provide a home for her sister at Caverly Park in West Sussex. When she finds the body of a man whose throat has been slit, she summons help from anatomist Gabriel Crowther. The victim has a ring bearing the crest of neighboring Thornleigh Hall. Was the man Alexander Thornleigh, the missing ...
  • Andrew
    I will openly admit I knew nothing of this book before I saw it and bought it (and certainly not the number of sequels that have come off the back of it). It was a case of cover and title catching my eye and then reading the cover piquing my curiosity. The book itself reads like a period drama (in fact I see there are references to Jane Austin in its comparisons) and yet at its heart is a murder mystery (in fact several) with more twists and turn...
  • Sarah
    This is a beautifully written and elegantly structured novel, unfolding in three storylines. Two take place in the novel's present day, one following the lives of Alexander Adams (the missing heir of Thornleigh) and his children, and the other the activites of Mrs. Westerman and Mr. Crowther as they struggle to solve a rash of seemingly connected murders. The third storyline unfolds in flashbacks, as it takes place years before in Massachusetts a...
  • Linda
    While Commodore Westerman was away at sea, his wife discovered a body on their land. With one part common sense and a second part curiosity, she approached the solitary Mr. Gabriel Crowther for assistance in identifying the unknown man. Crowther was a mid-fifties single gentleman who preferred his own company to others. He delved in science and preferred clinical anatomical research. With the honest Mrs. Westerman, he found his spirit and intelle...
  • Teri
    This was a solid 4-star read, and a great debut novel for Imogen Robertson. I had a few issues with the plot's pacing in places, and sometimes the characters' voices would blend together (especially Mrs. Westerman and Mr. Crowther's voices), but this was overall a very smooth read.If I named one criticism of the book, it would have to be that I read the "f-word" a few times in the book, and each time I did I felt like Ms. Robertson was disrupting...
  • Barb
    I really enjoyed this novel. I liked the characters and the setting, the majority of events take place during the Gordon Riots which happened in June of 1780. The writing was well polished, the story's pacing was good. I really enjoyed the investigating team of Gabriel Crowther and Mrs. Westerman. The events that unfolded were suspenseful and I enjoyed the characters Imogen Robertson created enough that I would like to read the next book in the s...
  • Donna
    Read this with my in-person group and there was plenty to discuss. I had a tiny bit of a problem with the jumping around from Sussex, to London, and then to the colonies but all in all an interesting time and setting. I particularly liked the main characters, Harriet Westerman and Gabriel Crowther, complex individuals somewhat out of step with their time but kindred spirits in many way. I am looking forward to more in this series and the friendsh...
  • Karen
    Not great but not bad British historical mystery. There are some interesting characters but the mystery itself is predictably resolved and there is a lot of clunky language and not much suspense. Just blah, kind of like this review.
  • eb
    A dull, badly plotted mystery that inches along, stops to reveal the completely predictable ending, and then expires. Two stars because of the occasional excellent sentence.
  • Felice
    Mystery series are all about character. The mystery can be the twisty-est ever, the settings creepy enough to give your shivers the shivers and the dialog straight out of The Thin Man BUT if the detectives are not charismatic, intriguing and entertaining your interest in the series will die along with the murder victim in book one. Luckily this is not the case in ImogenRobertson’s series of mystery novels. Robertson’s detectives are Harriet W...
  • Spuddie
    First of a series set in 1780's Sussex, UK and featuring Gabriel Crowther, a gentleman who relinquished his title and is now mostly a recluse and a 'man of science' and Harriet Westerman, who runs the manor next door while her sea captain husband is away. Mrs. Westerman finds a murdered body on her land and having read a paper Mr. Crowther wrote about evidence at murder scenes, seeks him out immediately. This leads to an extensive investigation w...
  • Debra
    Very enjoyable first book in what seems like will be a promising series. I already have book 2 to read. The 2 converging plot lines didn't get confusing. Overall, this was a fun page-turner.
  • Rosario (
    Mrs. Harriet Westerman has spent most of her adult life travelling the world with her naval commander husband, giving her experiences most other women in late 18th century England can't even imagine. Family circumstances and obligations, however, have meant that for the past couple of years she's stayed behind running her husband's country estate. One morning, while on a walk, she finds a dead body, a man whose throat has been slit. Being a sensi...
  • Julie
    This was a well told murder/mystery set in a fun time period—1780’s Sussex and 1776 Boston. It moves quick and has great characters. Can’t wait to read the next in the series! It does have some language.
  • Alesha Hubbell
    I won this book as a Goodreads First Read, and I'm really glad I did. I registered to win mostly on the merit of the cover (we all know that's how you are supposed to judge your books, that's what covers are for), but the description on the back didn't really do a ton for me. Murder mysteries are not really my thing. However; this novel was much more that a murder mystery in the Agatha Christie sense of the word (not that I have anything against ...
  • Dorie
    I had many problems with this book, and I'm so disappointed because I wanted to love it. My first problem was being unable to connect to the two main characters. Another problem was the constant shifts between the three stories; I can usually handle two different story threads, but three just breaks my attention and makes me want to put down the book and not pick it back up again. Also the murderer was very obvious to me and it was frustrating th...
  • Blair
    I'd been reading this for a while and finished it on the plane because I didn't have anything else to do. In theory, it has all the elements that would normally make a book really interesting to me, and I did like the characters, but I just didn't find anything about it truly engrossing, and the whole plot was instantly forgettable. I think the period murder mystery meets male/female detective duo thing was done better, and with more warmth and h...
  • Shifra
    Ok three quarters of the way through I simply had to give up...who cares who did the killing not worh the pain of listening to this book. The book is historical fiction which jumps between American at the beginning of the revolution and England. I found it difficult keeping track of the array of characters particularly because the characters were fairly one dimensional. Oh well.
  • Diane S ☔
    Just love historical English mysteries and this first novel is a worthy addition to that genre.
  • Sandra
    Me gustan las novelas de época, con misterios, asesinatos, intrigas y secretos.Imogen Robertson cumple con su cometido, su escritura es sobria y ad hoc a la época en que transcurre la trama y contiene los elementos necesarios en su lectura. Aún así no ha logrado encantarme totalmente ...Reseña completa aquí:
  • Michelle Feist
    This was a highly entertaining and engaging read! I loved the "Georgian Era CSI" feel- two unlikely characters teaming up to solve a series of murders and mysteries involving the noble Thornleigh family in Sussex. I found out there are 4 more in the series (Crowther and Westerman team up again to solve more mysteries) and I can't wait to get my hands on them.
  • Cathleen
    Mrs. Harriet Westerman, the mistress of a country estate, finds a stranger with his throat slit on her property. She immediately calls for the help of Gabriel Crowther, an anatomist who’s known as much for his reclusiveness as he is for his brilliance. Mrs. Westerman is unconventional by the standards of the day, since she sailed with her husband, a sea captain, for several years before she had her children, and now, living on land and managing...
  • Anne Wright
    Instruments of Darkness by Imogen RobertsonI have given this book 5 out of 5 I loved it.A wonderful introduction to Harriet Westerman and Gabriel Crowther. Wonderful snippets of the history form 1775 - 1780 with the battle at Concord in America and the Gordon Riots in London. Into this world we find Alexander Adams with two children Susan and Jonathan living in London giving musical evenings and gathering friends together. Alexander prints music ...
  • Cathy Cole
    First Line: Friday, 2 June 1780, West Sussex, England. Gabriel Crowther opened his eyes.If Crowther had known what was in store for him, he just might have pulled the covers back over his head. Harriet Westerman, the unconventional mistress of Caveley Park, has found a dead man on her property, and she insists that reclusive anatomist Gabriel Crowther help her find the killer. Their search will take them from country walks to drawing rooms to gri...
  • Jennifer (JC-S)
    ‘I have found a body on my land. His throat has been cut.’In June 1780, the corpse of a man is found near the grounds of Mrs Harriet Westerman’s estate of Caveley in Sussex. In his pocket is a ring bearing the crest of nearby Thornleigh Hall. Who is this man, and what is his connection to Thornleigh Hall? Mrs Westerman seeks the assistance of Gabriel Crowther, a reclusive neighbour, who has trained as an anatomist, to examine the body. When...
  • Linda Baker
    Set primarily in London and Sussex in 1780, Instruments of Darkness is the debut novel of the Crowther and Westerman series. Mrs. Harriet Westerman is raising her children and running her estate in the absence of her sea captain husband, James. When she finds a murdered man on her land during a morning walk she enlists the aid of her reclusive neighbor, famous anatomist, Gabriel Crowther. Harriet is no squeamish miss, having been to sea with her ...