There's something rather special about the combination of good historical fiction and complex crime, and in this, the first book in the Dan Foster mysteries, we are introduced to a talented protagonist, who has his foot firmly placed in the reality of eighteenth century life, and yet, he attacks crime enquiry with all the gung-ho of a seasoned crime scene investigator.
We are introduced to Dan Foster, an officer in the Bow Street Runners, as he goes undercover to try to wheedle out the perpetrator of a crime, which involves the local gentry of a country estate, with the unexplained death of the estate’s gamekeeper. As Dan infiltrates himself into local culture, including some rather rollicking good fist fights, he discovers that local feelings against the Lord of the Manor run high and whilst the lure of illicit poaching is necessary to keep food on the table, it doesn’t help to foster good relations between the gentry and the working classes.
The historical accuracy of the novel shines through, with fine attention to detail, and some really interesting observations about the political and social ramifications of rural life in the latter part of the eighteenth century. The fictional village of Barcombe in Somerset is described in such detail that both the place and its people come gloriously alive. It feels like you work in the heat of blacksmith’s forge with Dan and enjoy a well-earned beer with him, in the evening, at the Fox and Badger . The crime at the heart of the mystery is both complex and convoluted, and the many twists and turns in the plot adds realistic depth to the story and keeps you turning the pages in order to find out what happens next.
Weaving together history and mystery with great flair and fine attention to detail make this a most enjoyable historical crime story. There is no doubt that the author has given us a worthy protagonist in Dan Foster, and I can’t wait to meet up with him again soon, as there is much to discover about this enigmatic crime investigator, and I am sure that he has many exciting adventures still to come.
My thanks to the author for sharing her book with me.
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