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A Murder of Crows by P. F. Chisholm

A Murder of Crows (edition 2010)

by P. F. Chisholm

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515229,653 (3.93)1
Title:A Murder of Crows
Authors:P. F. Chisholm
Info:Scottsdale, AZ : Poisoned Pen Press, 2010.
Collections:Your library, Cover done
Tags:_ARC, _ReadFrom:LibraryAC, !Sale:FOAFL, Fic, Mystery

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A Murder of Crows by P.F. Chisholm



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Hmm. Well, good in many ways, but definitely not up to the first few Carey books. Like the previous one, A Plague of Angels, only more so - this isn't so much a mystery as a historical fiction novel, focusing on Elizabethan politics. Oddly enough, Carey is...not a viewpoint character at all in this one...I think Sergeant Dodd is the only viewpoint character in the whole thing. And it seems the author spent a quite a lot of time, in the years between Angels and this one, studying the specific and detailed history of London (did she write a book as Patricia Finney set here/now?). There's a lot of minor stuff - shooting the Bridge, the construction at the very end of the book, slang and thieves cant, the King of London - that struck me as someone who had learned "neat new stuff!" telling us about it. Which was fun, and made the book interesting...but the mystery (mysteries) didn't work enough to keep my interest. There are several odd events and puzzles to solve, which (of course) end up dovetailing - but some of them are obvious to everyone except Sergeant Dodd (including me, reading), while others required knowledge of said Elizabethan politics and history to solve. So Dodd finally puts everything together, explaining it to himself and to the readers...but it felt like a cheat (because I couldn't possibly have figured much of it out), and required serious weasel-brained thinking, which I generally find unpleasant. Overall - as a historical novel and exploration of London it was neat, and there were a good many excellent scenes, from funny to beautiful. As a mystery, however, it doesn't work, and therefore is a letdown as a continuation of the series. At the end Dodd is heading back North, and Carey has stated his intention of doing the same - so hopefully the next in the series will be back on the Marches with less politics and more mystery.
  jjmcgaffey | Sep 2, 2017 |
Sergeant Dodd to the fore. The phlegmatic, Northerner with great acerbic and occasionally caustic wit solves ciphers, survives being dressed to the nines and carries through to rout the bad guys. He rides off beautifully mounted by finally asserting his reiving rights to two of the bad guy's horses. ( )
  jamespurcell | May 23, 2014 |
Patricia Finney, writing as P.F. Chisholm, has created one of my favorite historical mystery series, but I thought the Sir Robert Carey books ended with the fourth, A Plague of Angels. I was thrilled when I learned that new books are now appearing under the Poisoned Pen Press imprint. A Murder of Crows takes up right where the fourth book ended, and I loved being back in the world of Carey and his wonderful Sergeant Dodd. Finney is masterful at adding historical detail without bogging down the narrative, whether it's Shakespeare's envy at another's top-of-the-line paper and pens, or with Dodd's comparison of London street life with his beloved North. Neither has her laugh-out-loud sense of humor disappeared, since Dodd serves as both delineator of sixteenth-century life and comic foil.

As suits any Elizabethan mystery, there are subplots aplenty, but I had no trouble keeping them sorted as I read this fast-paced tale. Sir Robert Carey takes a backseat in this book, but I have to admit that I didn't really miss him. This is due to two facts: Dodd is more than capable of handling the bulk of the action, and Finney adds a very intriguing character in the young lawyer, James Enys, who-- delightfully-- is not exactly what he seems to be. (Finney has since published Do We Not Bleed?, the first of what I hope will be many James Enys mysteries.)

If you're in the mood for a first-rate historical mystery that will sweep you back to Elizabethan England where you will laugh and try to puzzle out what's going on, you can't do much better than reading any of P.F. Chisholm's Sir Robert Carey mysteries. I love them! ( )
  cathyskye | Dec 28, 2013 |
After reading and thoroughly enjoying the first four of these, I thought that was it. After all, eleven years had passed since the fourth was published. Clearly she had moved on. Then I found this and was completely delighted, first to discover that there was another Robert Carey novel, and second to discover that the quality hadn't fallen off in the intervening decade!

Its a romp, but a romp that respects my intelligence and doesn't mess about with historical accuracy. Here's hoping another decade doesn't pass before I see Sir Robert again. ( )
  bunwat | Mar 30, 2013 |
I spent my time reading this book just trying to keep up. There is a ton of action and numerous characters to keep track of. By the time I reached the conclusion, I had completely forgotten the preface chapter which set up the tale. It is a good read, full of intrigue and mystery, and the characters fill in gaps through their dialogue in the pub. But overall, its a good read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the netgalley book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 [...] : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising." ( )
  nanajlove | Nov 30, 2010 |
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Book description
September 1592 – and the redoubtable Sergeant Dodd is still in London with that dashing courtier Sir Robert Carey, dealing with the fall-out from their earlier adventures. Carey urgently needs to get back to Carlisle where he is the Deputy Warden and the raiding season is about to begin. However, there are complications in the way. His powerful father, Henry, Lord Hunsdon, son of the other Boleyn girl, Mary and her paramour young Henry VIII, wants him to solve the mystery of a badly decomposed corpse from the Thames that has washed up on Her Majesty’s Privy Steps.

 Meanwhile, although he hates London, Sergeant Dodd has decided that he will not go north until he has taken a suitable revenge for his mistreatment by the Queen’s Vice Chamberlain, Thomas Heneage. Carey’s father wants him to sue – but none of the lawyers in London will take the brief against such a dangerous courtier. Then a mysterious young lawyer with a pock-marked face offers to help Dodd, with suspicious eagerness. Nobody knows who that balding young would-be poet and lover William Shakespeare might be working for, if he knows himself. And then, just as Carey is resigning himself to the delay, the one person he really does not want to see again arrives in London to stir everything up.

 With the River Thames for a freeway and the dark streets of London full of people up to no good, Sergeant Dodd has to help Carey find the identity of the corpse and who murdered him, while bringing a little taste of the Borders to his dealings with Heneage.  [Amazon product description 8/23/2010]
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September 1592 - and the redoubtable Sergeant Dodd is still in London with that dashing courtier Sir Robert Carey, dealing with the fall-out from their earlier adventures. Carey urgently needs to get back to Carlisle where he is the Deputy Warden and the raiding season is about to begin.… (more)

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