Today I’m thrilled to be reviewing a new historical crime fiction story. Many thanks to Midas PR for contacting me and offering me a copy of the book to review.
It is the summer of 1669 and England is in dire straits.
The treasury’s coffers are bare and tensions with the powerful Dutch Republic are boiling over. And now, an investigator sent by the King to look into corruption at the Royal Navy has been brutally murdered. Loathe to leave the pleasures of London, Samuel Pepys is sent dragging his feet to Portsmouth to find the truth about what happened.
Aided by his faithful assistant, Will Hewer, he soon exposes the killer. But has he got the right person? The truth may be much more sinister. And if the mystery isn’t solved in time, then England could be thrown into a war that would have devastating consequences . . .
The diaries of Samuel Pepys have enthralled readers for centuries with their audacious wit, gripping detail, and racy assignations. Pepys stopped writing at the age of 36. Or did he? This action-packed historical thriller, described as “Bridgerton meets Sherlock” imagine what might have happened next.
The Review: I like historical fiction, especially historical crime fiction so when this book was offered to me it made sense to accept it. As it says above it is imagining what could have happened had Samuel Pepys not stopped writing his famous diaries. Previous knowledge of the diaries or who Samuel Pepys was, aren’t necessary to enjoy the book, though it might add to your enjoyment.
I really enjoyed this book. It’s witty and funny but also not flinching away from the realities of the time for many people. Samuel and his assistant Will are brilliant. (It feels wrong to call them characters because they were both real people). I liked spending time with both of them and it felt like I was an invisible addition to this interesting pairing. I read this book at home and on a weekend away and wherever I was, when I started reading I was transported back to the 17th century. The descriptions of people’s appearances, the towns and cities, homes and other buildings were brilliant. Everything was the right balance of describing, enough so it’s clear but not too much so you get bogged down in it.
I’ve said this before but I see films in my head when I read, it’s automatic and I have no control over it. Also if the book is really good I get all the sounds and smells as well which makes it a wholly immersive experience for me. This book delivered almost completely on all of this. There were the odd occasions when it wasn’t fully there, but there were few of them and given it’s a debut book, I’m impressed there were so few. Usually debut’s don’t manage this level of immersiveness for me.
This is ultimately a crime novel but in it is plenty of action, alongside the realities of life in this century. It was a joy to watch the investigation unfurl as it continued and the truth about people and events became clear. There was more action than I expected but it fitted in well with the story and helped answer some questions. There were a few unexpected surprises along the way as well, and they only added to my enjoyment.
This is a brilliant book. I’d recommend it if you like historical crime fiction. It’s definitely one to add to your to-read list and I’m excited to see what this author does next, more Samuel Pepys would definitely be welcomed by me.