The Scrivener is the third book in Robin Blake’s fantastic mystery series featuring Preston Coroner Titus Cragg and his good friend, Dr Luke Fidelis. Although this book is part of a series, it can easily be read as a standalone, as enough explanation of the back story is provided to pique the reader’s curiosity without causing any confusion.
The date is 1742, and Preston is preparing for the Preston Guild, a celebration held every twenty years and overseen by the town mayor, currently Ephraim Grimshaw. Cragg and Grimshaw are old adversaries, it would seem, and when Cragg discovers the town pawnbroker and would-be banker, Philip Pimbo, slumped over his desk with a bullet in his head, Grimshaw immediately panics, assuming that Pimbo had made bad investments and committed suicide. Cragg is not so sure, and with the aid of Dr Fidelis, they investigate Pimbo’s business and personal life, his connection to a shady Liverpool Scrivener, a missing Civil War treasure trove and the Guinea trade in human slavery.
This book is filled with a wonderful cast of characters; good, bad and everything in between and is an utterly enjoyable romp through Georgian society; high and low. The novel is witty, mysterious and very well told; Cragg and Fidelis are the Holmes and Watson of their era. Perfect for fans of Lloyd Shepherd.