A Rustle of Silk

A Rustle of Silk

A Gabriel Taverner Mystery

Book - 2016
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"Clare has carefully researched the period she is writing about and offers authentic, engaging historical detail, but her real gift is as a superb storyteller whose clever, twisty plots; believable characters; and skillful writing will engross the reader from first page to last"
Booklist Starred Review

" Introducing physician-sleuth Dr Gabriel Taverner in the first of an intriguing series of mysteries set in early 17th century Devon.
1603. Former ship's surgeon Gabriel Taverner is attempting to re-establish himself as a country physician in rural Devon. But it's not easy to gain the locals' trust, and a series of disturbing incidents, increasing in menace and intensity, convinces him that at least one person does not welcome his presence.

Called out to examine a partially decomposed body found beside the river, Gabriel discovers that he has a personal connection to the dead man. Teaming up with Coroner Theophilus Davey to find out how the man died, Gabriel uncovers some darker aspects of the lucrative silk trade which operates from nearby Plymouth. The more he finds out, the more frighteningly apparent it becomes that the people closest to him have been keeping dangerous secrets.
Publisher: Sutton, Surrey : Severn House, ©2016.
ISBN: 9780727886569
Branch Call Number: MYSTERY CLA
Characteristics: 251 p. ; 23 cm


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Jun 10, 2019

Old Queen Elizabeth is dead, ship’s surgeon Gabriel Taverner is trying to establish himself as a physician on land, and he is enjoying being closer to his parents and siblings. He is not a fan of his brother-in-law, but his sister Celia really loves Jeromy. Then a ravaged and murdered corpse is discovered by the coroner, who it turns out is someone he met and liked before. The body is unburied because the man is unidentified and could possibly be a suicide (so cannot be buried in consecrated ground). It turns out he is Celia’s husband. So Gabriel needs to prove he was murdered and then prove that Celia didn’t do it (which is considered treason).

Gabriel encounters two midwives, one who could be considered a hedge witch and one who is very attractive and appealing. He does a little sneaking into a warehouse late at night, meets his medical predecessor, deals with other murders, and tries to help and care for his bereft sister.

Gabriel and Theo (the coroner), Sallie the housekeeper, and Celia are all very appealing characters. The mystery is worth reading.

Mar 05, 2019

Having read the second book before this first book, I now feel I know the characters in the series much better. I do agree with the reviewer that there are some anachronisms in attitudes. Also Gabriel and Celia attend the showy ceremony of King James entering the city of London; and they attend Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, both of which are a bit over the top as background. The plot is well worked out, the background culture of the wife being the property of her husband, and harsh methods of enforcing that property right were central to the characters' actions. The descriptions of the countryside and houses place the reader into the setting for the story, so we see the lovely silk clothes, the maggots in dead bodies, and the time taken to move from place to place. All in all an entertaining book.

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