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The Scent of Death by Andrew Taylor

The Scent of Death (2013)

by Andrew Taylor

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1387130,395 (3.82)15

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
This excellent book takes place in 1778 in New York, shortly after the British had reclaimed possession of the city. The plot involves a series of murders surrounding a British Loyalist family and the arrival of a new clerk to the American Department of the British government. The story follows the clerk (Edward Savill) as events occur.

Andrew Taylor has a fine knack for blending his writing style with the period of the historical fiction he's developing. We get an excellent picture of life during the Revolutionary War from the British perspective, as well as an excellent picture of British life at the time.

Taylor has become one of my favorite authors. He has an excellent sense of pacing a story, and a fine sense of detail - he knows how much needs to be said at a given point to keep the reader involved without any feeling of being left in the dark or of being bored .

Many of Taylor's books are hard to come by, as they are published in England, and not often in the U.S. They can be found through book dealers in Canada, however, at a fair price. Another story involving Savill is due to be published in the U.S. later this year - The Silent Boy. I am eager to read it. ( )
1 vote jpporter | Jan 12, 2016 |
I am a fan of Andrew Taylor!
His books belong to that sub-genre known as literary thrillers and should appeal to both thriller and historical fiction readers.
He seems to be able to write in a style suited to the period he is writing about; here it is New York during the (American) War of Independence. He combines a well structured plot with lots of interesting background detail.
I heartily recommend this book and if you follow my advice you will go back to his earlier books as well. ( )
  johnwbeha | Nov 18, 2015 |
I won this book from GoodReads First Reads giveaways in exchange for an honest review.

I have not read any of Andrew Taylor's other works so I have nothing to compare this novel to. I wish I did, because unfortunately as for this book I found it to be slow, with weak characterizations and a somewhat confusing plot.

The protagonist is supposed to be an English Civil Servant who "is sent from London to deal with claims by Loyalists who have lost property during the fighting" and somehow ends up investigating a murder.

With predictable twists and a ponderous pace, I just could not get in to the novel. I felt no chemistry between any of the characters, least of all between the two protagonist Arabella and Edward. I felt like the author picked a bunch of ideas out of a hat and then tried to tie them all together. ( )
  NancyNo5 | Nov 14, 2015 |
The author artfully mixes historical fact and fiction with a tantalizing tale of mystery. New York is a city in virtual captivity in late 1778. Although the British hold the streets for the crown, the city is surrounded by American rebel troops. Gangs of marauders roam a veritable no man’s land between the two armies. Edward Savill, a clerk for the British government’s, American Department based in London, is thrust into this swarming hive of soldiers, local citizens, and refugees from the surrounding countryside. He is tasked with recording the claims of depredation perpetrated against these loyal colonists by the rebels. Many have lost all their property and possessions to these rabble in the name of Congress and the revolution. Savill soon becomes embroiled with the family who has given him room and board while he is in New York. The lovely, but aloof Mrs. Arabella is a nagging reminder of the wife he has left behind months ago in England. Arabella’s long missing husband returns from fighting the rebels, yet he needs much recuperating from serious wounds he received at the front. Savill notices all is not well between the reunited couple. His natural attraction to Arabella leaves Edward with a certain distaste for her domineering husband. Shortly after a recent acquaintance of Arabella’s shows up dead, Savill is set upon by brigands. Were they out to merely to take his purse or his life? The mystery twists and turns as Savill tries to determine who is after him. Why has he, a newly arrived official from England, been targeted for death? Could Arabella’s husband want Savill out of the picture or is it a deeper mystery involving Arabella as well? Book provided for review by HarperCollins Publishers. ( )
  Ronrose1 | Feb 8, 2015 |
To set the scene,the year is 1778 and the place is Manhattan,which is controlled by the British.Arriving here is Edward Savill who is taking up a minor position in the 'American Department'.He lodges with the Wintour family with whom he becomes friendly.Soon he becomes embroiled in a series of murders which seems to involve American rebels,slaves and members of upper-class families too.In his quest to discover the truth,he finds himself in a series of dangerous situations in which he is bludgeoned,slashed and generally beaten.
Taylor is a fine writer who is at his best in this wonderful book which I would recommend to anyone with an interest in American history and/or crime fiction. ( )
  devenish | Aug 25, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
"Taylor introduces realistic characters, ranging from slippery Townley, a supposedly loyal businessman, to Maj. Marryot, army link between military and civilian police."
added by bookfitz | editKirkus Reviews (Sep 1, 2014)
"His depiction of the plight of American Loyalists adds another facet to this superior whodunit."
added by bookfitz | editPublishers Weekly (Aug 18, 2014)
"For some people," Savill is warned at the start, "loyalty is a commodity." Ostensibly this refers to the political allegiances of New Yorkers to their British rulers overseas, but it stands, too, as an epigraph for the book: what is loyalty, and to whom is it owed? Taylor's skill is that this question runs through the novel, and yet the reader is as shocked as Savill each time a betrayal or, in this labyrinthine world, a betrayal of a betrayal reveals itself.
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To Will with love
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This is the story of a woman and a city.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Haiku summary
Atmospheric tale
of loyalty during War
of Independence.
An Englishman in
New York uncovers killer
at personal cost.

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0007213514, Hardcover)

From the No. 1 bestselling author of THE AMERICAN BOY comes a brilliant new historical thriller set during the American War of Independence. Manhattan, 1778. A city of secrets, profiteers, loyalists and double agents. As the last part of America under British rule, New York is home to a swelling tide of refugees seeking justice from the British crown. Edward Savill is sent from London to investigate the claims of dispossessed loyalists. No sooner does he land than he becomes embroiled in the case of a gentleman murdered in the city's notorious Canvas Town. An escaped slave hangs for the crime, but Savill is convinced they have executed the wrong man. Lodging with the respected Wintour family, Savill senses the mystery deepening. Judge Wintour's beautiful daughter-in-law, Arabella, hides a tragedy in her past, while his son plans a dangerous mission into enemy territory. And what of Mr Noak, the enigmatic clerk seemingly bent on a dubious course of his own? One thing is clear - the killing in Canvas Town was just the start of a trail of murder, and it's leading directly to Savill...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:07 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Manhattan, 1778. A city of secrets, profiteers, loyalists and double agents. As the last part of America under British rule, New York is home to a swelling tide of refugees seeking justice from the British crown. Edward Savill is sent from London to investigate the claims of dispossessed loyalists.… (more)

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