Imogen Robertson

Island of Bones

"... Gabriel Crowther and Harriet Westerman are original creations with a wealth of attributes that encourage you to keep reading. "


It is 1783 and Gabriel Crowther is called to Westmoreland to his old family house where his sister is staying with the current owner. An unexpected extra body has been discovered in an island tomb on the estate. Crowther had sold the estate on the death of his brother and has spent many years distancing himself from all connections there. He takes with him on the trip Harriet Westerman and her young son, Stephen. Harriet has worked with Crowther before on suspicious deaths and has become a close and respected colleague.

Nobody is sure who the corpse is, although suggestions include a Jacobite supporter from the 1745 rebellion. When Crowther goes about his investigations to discover what the remains can tell him, little does he suspect that the answer ties in closely with his own family history and he discovers that he has been wrong in his judgements of his own brother.

Harriet Westerman provides the personal interaction that puts flesh on Gabriel's bones and leads to the discovery of the body's identity, along with unravelling other mysterious events.

Folk magic of the time is intertwined in the events and the character of the seer is satisfyingly linked to the character of Jocasta in the previous novels.

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This book, the third in the series, develops the two main characters and moves their location to the Lake District. The mysterious and hidden truths about Gabriel Crowther, previously only hinted at, are now revealed and do explain something about his character. Harriet Westerman is slowly emerging from her mourning for her husband's death, but remains an unconventional figure for her time. She is supported and committed to her loving family and they contribute, not only to her confidence and well-being, but also to the continuity and interest of a developing series. The history and geography of the Lake District in the late 18th century is fascinating, and the author's research makes the story come alive. The mystery, and clever way it is revealed, is beautifully constructed. The characters are well described and draw you into their world. One of the pleasures of a series is the affinity you develop with the characters, and Gabriel Crowther and Harriet Westerman are original creations with a wealth of attributes that encourage you to keep reading. I wonder where the next book will be set! I think that this book is even better than the last.

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