Friday, 21 January 2011

HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: A Thomas Chaloner Adventure 6: The Body in the Thames - Susanna Gregory

Release Date: 20/01/11


In the dilapidated surroundings of the Savoy, a delegation from the government in the Netherlands is gathered in a last ditch attempt to secure peace between the two countries. Thomas Chaloner, active in Holland during Cromwell's time, is horrified at the violent aggression and hatred shown to the Dutch by ordinary Londoners, but is more worried by the dismissive attitude with which they are greeted by the King's ministers and officials. He has experienced the futilities of war at first hand and has no wish to witness another. Then the body of his former brother-in-law is found in the Thames, and Chaloner discovers the dead man has left enigmatic clues to a motivation for his murder. These may be linked to a plot to steal the crown jewels, or perhaps to a conspiracy to ensure that no peace is secured between the two nations. Whichever it proves to be, Chaloner knows he has very little time to decipher the pointers left to him...


Crime and mystery are two sub genres that go well together and one of the upper echelon in the historical fiction genre is Susanna Gregory. Here in the sixth book in the Thomas Chaloner series, the mysterious disappearance of a dutch national who also happens to be Thomas Chaloners brother in law sparks a whole new level of intrigue as our tales hero has to fathom the deeper meaning as well as play with politics in this dangerous time of English History.

It’s definitely got a cracking set of characters with each being fully rounded even if they’re playing a bit part, the dialogue is crisp and the prose is something that works really well for the period to which the piece is set. Back that up with a great sense of pace as well as a wonderful sense of timing and plot twisting and you know that it’s a mystery that will keep you glued to the end. Whilst a number of people may worry about jumping in so far into a series, I can state that you can enjoy this title with no prior knowledge of the other books in the series. A sign that the author welcomes all to her world and hopefully you’ll get just as much fun out of it as an established fan. Great stuff.

1 comment:

audreygeddes said...

The Body in the Thames sounds like a great mystery to dive into - thank you so much for the excellent review. You might also enjoy a historical fiction novel called, The Scorpion's Bite by Aileen G. Baron, which I just finished. The story, which part 3 in a series, follows archaeologist Lily Sampson, who has been sent to Trans-Jordan, by the OSS. What I loved about the story is its historical accuracy and the author's impeccable knowledge on archeology.