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The Lazarus Curse by Tessa Harris
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Similar to earlier Silkstone mysteries. Good read, but not as memorable as the earlier books. ( )
  Pmaurer | Jan 3, 2016 |
Tessa Harris writes incredible historical mysteries. Her control and research of the setting and the times is impeccable. The Lazarus is keenly plotted, with several subplots revolving around the main theme, the only issue being is the main theme the plant which can raise the dead, or the enslavement of African men and women in what purports to be a free society in the England of 1782. Harris weaves them together well until they seem seamless in their delivery.

Silkstone, an 18th century anatomist, a forerunner of what we would look at today as a forensic scientist, is adrift as an American in a country so recently at war with his homeland. His nationality immediately making him suspect in all he says and does. The English, primarily the aristocratic class are painted as selfish and self serving, considering all about them beneath them despite their noble and liberal words. Something that has not changed in two hundred plus years on either side of the ocean.

The Lazarus potion itself is something of a let down. Primarily sought after not for its medicinal properties but what it might do in the field of battle. For when it raises the dead, it also makes them compliant and susceptible to influence. As you can guess, it makes them controllable zombies. This plot is somewhat fanciful and might have lost the book had Harris not kept the tale grounded in the pain and suffering of the slaves still being kept in a free England.

The Lazarus Curse is a well plotted and paced Historical mystery. A welcome addition to an already well stocked field. For that reason I hope it does not get lost in the volume of such mysteries out there and gets its due audience.

An excellent read. ( )
  agarcia85257 | Dec 21, 2014 |
This is my first Dr. Thomas Silkstone mystery I have read it quite engrossing. He is surrounded by slavery,cold-blooded murder and sorcery. He has been hired to catalog and record specimens from an expedition to Jamaica, but as he meets the ship he finds that the young botanist he was supposed to meet had disappeared with the journal he needs.. He is drawn into a dangerous world of murder,selling of corpses,murder,hatred and infidelity. I thought I had figured it out but was wrong. This is a well written storyline and realistic characters.

***I received this book in exchange for an honest review*** ( )
  druidgirl | Jul 18, 2014 |
Recommended: The Lazarus Curse, a Dr. Silkstone Mystery, by Tessa Harris

Harris’ 4th book in her Dr. Silkstone series is another winner, this time taking on the horrors faced by slaves and former slaves in England in the 1700s. If you like historical fiction, mysteries, forensics, and a touch of romance, this series is definitely a must. I gave the novel only 4 stars because I reserve 5 stars for only the best of the best.

As has been the case with Harris’ previous novels, The Lazarus Curse is well researched (and includes a glossary and references) and well written. Harris knows how to build and sustain suspense and makes us care about her subject and her characters – even the minor characters feel multi-dimensional and real. She also portrays the period and setting extremely well, without any heavy handed descriptions.

The previous novel left Silkstone and his intended, Lady Lydia, forcibly separated from each other by a legal ruling. Silkstone is asked to catalog samples brought back from Jamaica by a New World expedition, but the expedition’s missing artist and a headless corpse tied to the pier where the expedition ship docked draw him into another murder investigation, with plots involving corpse trafficking, slavery, Jamaican potions, political ambitions, and infidelity.

This time Silkstone must do his work without Lydia’s support, while Lydia must deal alone with the problems of finding a new estate manager and raising her son. Most of the novel centers on Silkstone and his quest for the truth (which I must admit I enjoyed; Lydia never seems quite right to me). This was not a mystery I could solve before Silkstone did; but the farther I got into the book, the more I did not want to put it down. Harris ties up all the loose ends at the end, but Lydia does not know that efforts to deprive her of her son and her estate are still underway until it is too late, and we are left with another cliffhanger, wanting to read the series’ book #5. ( )
  VPLibraryWeb | Jun 30, 2014 |
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