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Author: D E Meredith
Genre: Crime, Mystery & Thriller
Rights: Uk & Comm ex Canada
Pub. Date: 20th August 2012
The first book in the Hatton and Roumande mystery series.
A stunning debut rich in period detail and sinister intrigue that introduces a memorable duo - one of London’s first forensic detectives and his irreplaceable assistant.
London in 1856 is gripped by a frightening obsession. The specimen-collecting craze is growing, and discoveries in far-off jungles are reshaping the known world in terrible and unimaginable ways. When the glamorous Lady Bessingham is found murdered in her bedroom, surrounded by her vast collection of fossils and tribal masks, Professor Adolphus Hatton and his morgue assistant Albert Roumande are called in to examine the crime scene – and the body.
In the new and suspicious world of forensics and autopsy examinations, Hatton and Roumande are the best. But the crime scene is not confined to one room. In their efforts to help the infamous Scotland Yard detective Inspector Adams track down the Lady's killer, Hatton and Roumande uncover a trail of murders connected to a packet of seditious letters that, if published, would change the face of society and religion irrevocably.
D.E. Meredith's measured prose and eye for exquisite detail moves seamlessly from the filthy docks on the Isle of Dogs to the jungles of Borneo and the drawing rooms of London's upper class. Her slow-burning mystery builds to a shocking conclusion, consuming Victorian London – and victims – as it goes.
'In DEVOURED we are in at the very beginning of forensic science and it is utterly fascinating, and provides the basis for a truly gripping novel, with ideas that will later inspire the world of Sherlock Holmes and the basis for scientific police detective work. I devoured this novel with relish...'Booksmonthly
'DEVOURED, as you might expect, is all about people being taken over by their obsessions...Mid-Victorian London is brought to life vividly, the story rollicks along and the murders are many and interestingly varied... Meredith's imagination and plotting ability are firmly in place and.. [her] style is sharp and interestingly elliptical...I think that future Hatton and Roumande novels will just keep on getting better...Victorianists will be delighted by it, and historical crime fans will be very pleased to be introduced to the comforting medical presences of Messrs. Hatton and Roumande. And I will certainly be reading the next in the series.'Red Breast Bird Blog
'Devoured is a very complex and dark book, exploring the poverty and squalor of Victorian London; the callous way in which wealthy Victorians exploited their unspoiled corners of their empire and the violent passions roused by the new theories regarding evolution. The forensic scenes are authentic and disturbing, not just in the grim details of a post mortem but also in the callous lack of respect many Victorians showed to the poor, especially to murdered prostitutes. It is the first book in a series featuring Hatton and Roumande. The two men have very different characters and lifestyles but their respect and affection for each other is made very clear, as is their passion for the new science off orensics, which is still in its early stages and is little respected in Victorian times. Hatton and Roumande have a very good relationship which promises to be developed in future books.'Mystery People
'I found myself enjoying this debut novel enormously. I thought Meredith vividly brought to life the atmosphere of Victorian London and I will certainly be looking forward to the next instalment...The Victorian age is a fascinating one, in some ways very like our own. This makes it all the more surprising when you realise the huge difference in attitude to women, to religion and in particular to the development of science. Nowadays everyone accepts and expects the forensic service to provide detailed information essential to the solving of the crime. Here, Meredith clearly shows people’s distrust and disgust, their main reactions to the innovative work of Hatton and Roumande. They are an attractive pair. I particularly like Roumande and look forward to a more detailed and rounded look at his life and history.'Crimesquad
'D E Meredith gives a very vivid picture of life at this time and I was transported by the wonderfully evocative story telling right back to Victorian London. The book in its hardback edition has sumptuous packaging including, very unusually, a ribbon page marker (I wish that all publishers followed this example) and a printed hardback case. All in all, a delightful and most extraordinary first novel in a new historic mystery series about the Victorian forensic pathologists Hatton and Roumande.'Eurocrime
'You'll devour this brilliant, classy Victorian crime novel in hours. It will stay with you a lot longer, though, thanks to the extraordinary atmosphere and detail, as the first days of forensics are brought to life. 5 stars!'Daily Mirror
'The best advice I can give is to run, not walk, to your nearest bookshop and buy a copy – then snuggle under a blanket with a pot of tea because once you start Devoured, you won’t be able to put it down.'For Books' Sake
'This is a literary thriller. A slow burner, it takes a while for the excitement to build, but once the plot takes off its a roller coaster ride to its shocking conclusion... I really enjoyed this book.'New Books Magazine
'Devoured is an intriguing historical murder mystery...the story twists and turns from the darker side of the docklands to the steamy jungles of Borneo to the gentile drawing rooms of Victorian London’s upper class...with the conclusion of the mystery being disturbingly dark. Devoured is a great beginning to what could potentially be an excellent historical mystery series.'Bookgeeks
'Atmospheric and riveting, gory and polished, and always well-written, Devoured is a thoroughly enjoyable thriller and mystery, set at a time when forensics were in their infancy and science was undoing beliefs...thrillingly complex and rewarding.'For Winter Nights
'This book features London's 'first forensic investigators', Bart's Professor Hatton and his assistant Albert Roumande. The detailed description of their primitive mortuary and newly invented methods of dissection and analysis make a fascinating contrast with the numerous contemporary novels by and about forensic pathologists...It is full of interesting ideas, neat phrases and vivid images - an enjoyable read.'Literary Review
‘Devoured steeps us in the danger of Victorian London and the discovery of the modern forensics, combining classic storytelling with a finely executed historical moment. Meredith packs her debut with charm and wit enough to carry us into any adventures to come with these sparkling characters’Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club and The Last Dickens
'The book employs the staple elements of the 'penny-dreadful' to excellent effect, to create the murky, foggy atmosphere of Victorian London so popular with readers of Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins. The rich and powerful abuse and exploit those they consider beneath them. Poverty and death are familiar bedfellows in the back streets of London, and illiteracy and ignorance are the trademarks of the country-side. Purloined letters and an extremely complex plot all add to the mystery and pleasure of this fascinating book, and many readers will look forward impatiently to the next volume in the series.'The Bookbag