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Island of Bones by Imogen Robertson

Island of Bones (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Imogen Robertson

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137887,614 (3.82)13
Title:Island of Bones
Authors:Imogen Robertson
Info:Headline Publishing Group (2011), Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:read in 2012, ARC, historical fiction, england, mystery

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Island of Bones by Imogen Robertson (2011)



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An extra body is found in the Earl of Greta’s tomb—who is it and how did the person die?

1783: Gabriel Crowther, once known as Charles Penhaligon, Lord of Keswick, had attempted to cut all ties with his past—that is until his sister summons him to solve the mystery of the extra body in a crypt. Since abandoning his title thirty years before, Gabriel has spent his time studying medicine; cadavers in particular. In the past he teamed up with Mrs. Harriet Westerman to solve mysteries and this time is no different… that is except for a familial connection to the crime scene. Is his sister’s sudden visit to their old home a coincidence or is there more to it? He has not seen her in almost thirty years and is practically a stranger to Gabriel…. Does the apple fall far from the tree?

I did not realize this book was part of a series but was grateful that it could stand alone as well. I found the story intriguing even though I did not connect with the characters right away, which may have been written that way to throw one off. It is a dark gothic tale of murder and mystery, add in a hint of Jacobite rebellion and it is a win-win. As a history buff, I enjoyed the backstory woven into the mystery. I would recommend the book to any historical fiction-murder mystery fan. ( )
  Shuffy2 | Oct 28, 2015 |
ne of my favorites of the newer series, this is only the third book but so far the author is keeping her plots interesting. This one is set in the Lake District, in Cumbria in the late 1700's. AS tan historical note explains the story is based on actual history, though of course all changed around to suit the story. The Jacobites, plots and fortunes made and lost, all the requisites for these very atmospheric mysteries. I am always amazed at how firmly entrenched in the time period and location I become when reading these slower paced but detailed mysteries. The characters and their colorful pasts lend so much to these stories. Highly recommend this series. ( )
  Beamis12 | Dec 10, 2012 |
There are some books you finish and want more of, immediately. For me, this is one of those books. I loved the setting, the characters, the mystery --- everything. I’ve been reading a lot of historical mysteries lately, and oddly, they’ve all been series and I’ve started all of them somewhere in the middle rather than from the beginning. The same is true for this book; it’s Robertson’s third book featuring the characters of Mrs. Harriet Westerman and Gabriel Crowther. Surprisingly, this hasn’t dulled my enjoyment one bit.

Mrs. Harriet Westerman is a woman still mourning her husband, even after her mourning period is officially over. Now, rather than be a spectacle to pity, she is trying to move forward with her life. When a request arrives to investigate the discovery of an extra body found in a crypt that had been supposedly untouched for many years, the idea of an adventure appeals. Mrs. Westerman, and Gabriel Crowther, a reclusive anatomist, set out for the Lake District to investigate the circumstances surrounding the skeleton. Crowther, also known as Lord Keswick, a title he has shunned and has done all he could to distance himself from not only the title but also his family, meets his past head on when they arrive in the Lake District. Not only is there a dead body and a mystery surrounding it, but Crowther’s sister and nephew are also in residence at Silverside Hall, a place once owned by Crowther and his family until he sold it. A happy family reunion it is not.

While the mysteries mount, a strange thing begins to happen --- long held beliefs of the townspeople start taking center stage in the investigation. A lost relic called The Luck, a gold cross embedded with jewels, becomes part of the discussion and makes its way into the investigation of Mrs. Westerman and Crowther. More than one person’s hidden family history comes to light before the mystery is solved.

There’s something so very likable about Robertson’s writing. She writes great characters. They’re frank, smart, and surprising. I loved how she took a very relaxing setting and overlaid it with death, local folklore, and a mystery of family proportions that only seemed to grow larger by the day. It all fit so well together. When the story started coming to a close, I wanted more even after the satisfying conclusion. And, yes, there is a satisfying conclusion. I like that in a mystery.

Going back to the main characters, Mrs. Westerman and Gabriel Crowther --- I said they were likable but it’s more than that. The two are a strange combination but a combination that works brilliantly. Crowther is a grump of a man, a recluse who takes no pleasure in people except for the few he can tolerate, and yet, his scientific analysis is a fascinating attribute. In fact, it’s an interesting aspect of the story itself and slightly morbid as he does care to spend more time with the dead than the living. Mrs. Westerman is a great counterpoint to his standoffish qualities. I also like unconventional women in historical fiction and she’s certainly unusual for her time. I should point out that the story is set in 1783 and a woman investigating murders is far from the norm.

Now that I have used one too many laudatory words in describing what I liked so much about this book, I leave you with this --- read Island of Bones. They’ll be no regrets. I had high hopes for this book and those expectations were met. ( )
  justabookreader | Oct 28, 2012 |
Perhaps the best in the series so far. Robertson's really hit her stride here, providing some fascinating backstory for Gabriel Crowther as he and Harriet Westerman travel to his ancestral home, called to investigate an extra body found in an ancient tomb. Robertson hits all the gothic-novel high spots: druidic circles, fairy treasure, mistaken identities, troubled young maidens, &c. &c. Good stuff. ( )
1 vote JBD1 | Sep 15, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0755372034, Paperback)

Cumbria, 1783. A broken heritage; a secret history...The tomb of the first Earl of Greta should have lain undisturbed on its island of bones for three hundred years. When idle curiosity opens the stone lid, however, inside is one body too many. Gabriel Crowther's family bought the Gretas' land long ago, and has suffered its own bloody history. His brother was hanged for murdering their father, the Baron of Keswick, and Crowther has chosen comfortable seclusion and anonymity over estate and title for thirty years. But the call of the mystery brings him home at last. Travelling with forthright Mrs Harriet Westerman, who is escaping her own tragedy, Crowther finds a little town caught between new horrors and old, where ancient ways challenge modern justice. And against the wild and beautiful backdrop of fells and water, Crowther discovers that his past will not stay buried.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:27 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Cumbria, 1783. A broken heritage; a secret history...The tomb of the first Earl of Greta should have lain undisturbed on its island of bones for three hundred years. When idle curiosity opens the stone lid, however, inside is one body too many. Gabriel Crowther's family bought the Gretas' land long ago, and has suffered its own bloody history.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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