Friday, 11 November 2016

A SHORTCUT TO MURDER by William Savage

4.5 out of 5 stars

18th Century Murder Mystery

On Amazon UK HERE
On Goodreads HERE

Reviewed by me as a member of Rosie Amber's Book Review Team

The third murder mystery set in 18th century rural Norfolk, in which the now wealthy and ever inquisitive doctor, Adam Bascom, sets out to discover the truth behind evil doings.

As with the other books in this series, A Shortcut to Murder is filled with delightfully portrayed characters of the time: the chattering ladies seeking marriage for their offspring, girls either fashion conscious and empty-headed, or frustrated by how the society into which they are born places limits on their lives.  There are the village folk, the innkeepers and farmers, all aware of their station in life and suspicious of folk from elsewhere ~ not unlike the Norfolk of some 250 years later.

I do like reading about the history of a county I know well, within these books; only a few years ago I ate at The Three Pigs at Edgefield, mentioned in the book, though I think it is now just called The Pigs, and I daresay the decor has changed!  More interesting still, an innkeeper's wife in Cley supplies Adam with information about the area in Tudor times.  Adam may have been eager to change the subject, but I wanted to know more!

Usually with Mr Savage's books I feel that the plot is secondary to the characterisation and dialogue, but with this one I gave a silent round of applause to the clever plot, too ~ I am not much of a one for unravelling mysteries, but this one had me most intrigued and I thought it was artfully put together.  That's not to say I didn't enjoy the characters as much as usual, particularly the wealthy and idle Scudamore twins.  The only downside I ever find with books by this author is the occasional over-egging of the plot detail, with every intricate detail discussed once too often, and in the middle there was a patch when I felt the dialogue was too information loaded and I wanted to say, 'oh, get on with it', but then it very swiftly did, and I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the book.

I think that this would be enjoyed by all lovers of the historical period, by anyone who respects a well thought out mystery, and, of course, by those like myself who love Norfolk.   

A review of Dark Threads of Vengeance and links to my reviews of other William Savage books can be found HERE


  1. Oh, I really must read this one. I really like Adam Bascom. If I was a wealthy lady in 18th century Norfolk I would definitely want him as my doctor.

  2. Woohoo got this post back in my e-mail list, must have been a blip previously.

  3. We are on the same page, Terry. My review was much the same!
    Great characters (although I like Ashmole Fox a little better)and the mystery plotting here was excellent.

    1. Yes, I remember reading yours! I liked Ashmole Foxe more as a character, but I liked the Norfolk countryside aspect in this one more :)