I love a good historical crime novel and I devoured this book in a day (unoriginal but true pun wholly intended – sorry!).
In London, 1856, a wealthy science collector and benefactor is murdered. Professor Adolphus Hatton and his morgue assistant Albert Roumande are called upon to examine the body and the crime scene. Their work of conducting autopsies and using new forensic practices to solve crimes was seen as barbaric and unnatural by many in Victorian society, but through their pioneering techniques, Hatton and Roumande uncover a series of grisly murders linked to some letters that are set to shake up the city.
The letters take us upon a journey through far flung locations such as the jungles of Borneo, and have significant consequences for members of the scientific community, as well as patrons of religion. Hatton and Roumande, under the watch of seasoned officer Inspector Adams, must follow the evidence to find the prolific letters and the person that is killing for their contents.
Elegantly gory, this is not only a great story but also supremely interesting in regards to the exploration of early forensics and their role in police investigations. After every glimpse of the missing letters and after every appearance of a new corpse, another piece of the puzzle is formed, leaving you hungry for its conclusion. The characters are clever and a wintry London makes for an atmospheric setting for the grim murders described. Devoured is a compelling thriller for crime, science and history readers alike.
This is the first in the series of Hatton and Roumande mysteries and I can’t wait to see what gruesome crimes D.E. Meredith has in store for these cleverly written characters.