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Soot by Andrew Martin

Soot (edition 2018)

by Andrew Martin (Author)

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313529,341 (3.41)None
Authors:Andrew Martin (Author)
Info:Little, Brown Book Group (2018)
Collections:English, Your library

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Soot by Andrew Martin



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How, HOW, is this anybody's book of the month, let alone the Times' Historical Fiction Book of the Month? Leaving aside the historical inaccuracies - going on the Grand Tour in 1799? I don't think so - the whole novel is just so dry that I fell asleep numerous times, at one point leaning on my Kindle and skipping a fair few pages, which I didn't bother to retrace. Fletcher Rigge - a lead character written without any actual character - is borrowed from debtor's prison to find out who killed Matthew Harvey, a maker of 'shades' or silhouettes. I literally have no idea if he succeeded because the words refused to lodge any meaning in my brain, except from when they belonged to the nineteenth century and not the eighteenth (Andrew Martin sounds like Charles Dickens lite, so I'm not sure why he didn't set the story a hundred years later anyway, but hey ho). Not even York could save this exercise in pretentiousness (maybe that's why The Times loves it so much). ( )
  AdonisGuilfoyle | Jun 20, 2018 |
Soot by Andrew Martin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Impressive until the ending! And did that ending annoy me!

18th C and a murder, a nasty one. An artist who makes silhouettes is found stabbed with his large cutting scissors. No one is discovered as the murder so the artist's dissolute son, who had heard of Fletcher Rigge's ability to solve mysteries, makes him an offer. Rigge is stuck in the debtor's prison, but if he solves the crime he will be free. He is offered freedom for one month, but in that time, he must find the killer. If he fails, back into gaol he goes. With only the copies of the last 6 silhouettes, for one of them must be the murderer, Fletcher Rigge begins his search.

It's a well written well plotted book with 3D characters and a nasty twist. Written from several people's points of view it takes a bit of concentrated reading at first but the story will pull the reader on. ( )
  p.d.r.lindsay | Mar 6, 2018 |
Fletcher Rigge is in debtors prison in York. His father gambled away his estates and then committed suicide, Fletcher is clever but without money or support. Then a mysterious proposition is made. Fletcher will be released from gaol, his debts paid for one month, he must solve a murder and if he does so his debts will disappear forever. This benefactor is Captain Harvey son of the late victim, an artist who specialised in silhouettes, or shades as they are known. Fletcher realises that the clues to the orders identity lie in the last set of shades that Harvey created and so he is thrown into society in York and latterly London.

This is a clever book, written in the form of different notes or papers and with a number of different narrators. All of this means that the plot is not quite as clear cut as it could have been with a more straightforward single narrator. However, this is to the book's benefit, as one of the strengths is the complexity of the plot and the way that no single narrator is completely truthful, different perspectives of the same events are interpreted in different ways. In this way the metaphor about shades continues through the story. I loved the descriptions of life in Georgian York and the little details about the different characters added such a depth to the novel. ( )
  pluckedhighbrow | Aug 12, 2017 |
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York, 1799. In August, an artist is found murdered in his home. Matthew Harvey was a renowned cutter of shades, or silhouettes, the latest fashion in portraiture. It soon becomes clear that the murderer must be one of the artist's last sitters, and the people depicted in the final six shades made by him become the key suspects. But who are they?… (more)

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