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A Murder of Crows by P F Chisholm

A Murder of Crows (edition 2012)

by P F Chisholm (Author)

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626298,116 (3.71)2
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.
Title:A Murder of Crows
Authors:P F Chisholm (Author)
Info:Poisoned Pen Press (2012), Edition: 1, 258 pages
Collections:Audio library

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A Murder of Crows by P.F. Chisholm



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Complex political thriller set in Elizabethan London. The historical setting seemed to be portrayed with a reasonable degree of fidelity (Shakespeare and Marlowe perhaps excepted) and some interesting little details my history lessons didn't cover. The plot unfolded nicely although the final denouement was kept well in the background for most of the novel. Some of the characters - Dodd in particular - are well drawn. Overall a pleasant enough read but not in any way challenging. 20 December 2019. ( )
  alanca | Jan 14, 2020 |
I just couldn't get into the story, so I gave up halfway through the book. ( )
  bookhookgeek | Sep 7, 2018 |
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 |
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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. 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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