Instruments of Darkness

Written by Imogen Robertson
Review by jay Dixon

A crime novel set at the end of the 18th century, Instruments of Darkness has multiple points of view, and moves between America, during the War of Independence, and London and Sussex in the 1780s. It opens with the discovery of a body and from that point we are taken on a voyage into the secrets of the Earl of Sussex and his family, with more deaths and villainy on the way to the unmasking of the culprit.

Set against the Gordon Riots, which add an authentic background of blood and fear to the main plot, this novel has well-drawn characters, in particular the young girl whose father is killed, is well-written and historically accurate (although I was puzzled by some of the Americanisms in it, e.g. ‘britches’ for ‘breeches’, ‘your smarts’, ‘speak with us’ for ‘speak to us’, as both the author and the publisher are English). However, this did not detract from what is a well-written, multi-layered story, which kept me engaged from the first to the last page.