A DARK ANATOMY
This first novel is the start of what promises to be a wonderful new series. In 1740, during the reign of George II, England’s remote areas remained under the control of local authorities and powers. Forensic science was just beginning and there was little, if any, police presence. Blake uses this setting to show the times, the people and events in a book you won’t be able to put down. Usually writing biographical works on artists, he has flawlessly turned to fiction in this first-person mystery with an intriguing and sympathetic detective. This is great introduction to the times and lives, as well as a fascinating mystery with both clues and psychological underpinnings. The next book will be eagerly anticipated.
In Lancashire, the squire’s wife is discovered with her throat cut under most mysterious circumstances. Coroner Titus Cragg is expected to look into the case, although local rivalries add to his problems. His friend, the doctor Luke Fidelis, aids him in his search for the truth as they investigate the possible murder of a most unpopular woman whose husband, the squire, does not want the truth to come out. Superstition and ignorance complicate their quest. (MINOTAUR, May, 304 pp., $24.99)