REVIEW í The Scent of Death

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Ery deepening Judge Wintour's beautiful daughter in law Arabella hides a tragedy in her past while his son plans a dangerous mission into enemy territory And what of Mr Noak the enigmatic clerk seemingly bent on a dubious course of his own One thing is clear the killing in Canvas Town was just the start of a trail of murder and it's leading directly to Savill. Well crafted and satisfying in the end but the structure of the story made this book really really drag until the last hundred or so pagesI had high hopes for this after reading Taylor s Anatomy of Ghosts and indeed this is on the whole a good story But it s really convoluted and hard to follow and the reader is asked to slog through a lot of text that drones and drags to get to the payoff at the end Had the story been structured differently perhaps a bit action in the first 75% of the book I would probably feel favorably toward it Taylor s books are also tough to like even if you can appreciate them because the characters are not terribly endearing What they are is often exceptionally realistic which I can certainly respect It s a brave way to write characters in a way because reality casts so few of us as the heroes we like to read about Still as much as I tip my cap to Taylor for going out on a limb with this most of us read for pleasure especially when reading novels And while there s a degree of flawed persona necessary to legitimize a character too much of that takes away our chance to like those we re reading about and damages the book s entertainment value And entertainment is first and foremost the primary function a novel is supposed to serve however realistic historically accurate or brutal it means to be

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The Scent of Death

From the No bestselling author of THE AMERICAN BOY comes a brilliant new historical thriller set during the American War of Independence Manhattan A city of secrets profiteers loyalists and double agents The Scent Kindle As the last part of America under British rule New York is home to a swelling tide of refugees seeking justice from the British crown Edwa. Once again Andrew Taylor demonstrates that he is a master of the historical crime novel and I d rate The Scent of Death even above Bleeding Heart Suare and Anatomy of Ghosts I especially love authors who help me think of familiar things in a new way To most Americans the War of American Independence which they habitually call the Revolutionary War was an international conflict between Great Britain and America To those of us who are historically sophisticated it was also a civil war fought in the American colonies between the Loyalists and the rebels who Americans usually call the Patriots But this story made me aware that it was also a party conflict between British subjects on both sides of the Atlantic the whigs and the tories Which explains why British whig politicians such as Mr Burke and Mr Fox supported the rebelling American colonists because they embarrassed the tory government of Lord North Of course in Britain the struggle was carried on with pamphlets and Parliamentary speeches in America if was also with gunpowder and lead Which is why to this day most Americans refer to the Loyalists as Tories though I doubt if one in a hundred has the foggiest notion of what those Tories had in common with the supporters of Mr Cameron today Yes there is a real historical relationshipTaylor beautifully evokes the atmosphere of New York city under siege The narrator Edward Savill a somewhat naive English visitor from the American Office in London provides an unfamiliar point of view on this uncouth provincial town so crude compared with London The American Loyalist characters are well drawn and varied though I could not help being anachronistically amused that the heroine was named Mrs Wintour kept thinking of Prada I admired the touches of 18th century diction one s address is also one s direction The author is very generous with his clues I missed the significance of the title damn it and the alert reader should be able to figure out what the principal characters are up to and the backstory of the slave Juvenal Was his master Mr Froude a reader of the Roman satirists Towards the end the story turns thriller with a terrifying struggle on the frozen Hudson RiverI loved one minor character the very brave and resourceful Mehitabel Tippet and was sorry she just faded out at the end She certainly deserved a happy endingMy favourite of Taylor s novels still remain the Roth trilogy and the total lack of spirituality renders the characters in The Scent of Death very shallow But that absence fits the period all too wello

Andrew Taylor ¼ 1 REVIEW

Rd Savill is sent from London to investigate the claims of dispossessed loyalists No sooner does he land than he becomes embroiled in the case of a gentleman murdered in the city's notorious Canvas Town An escaped slave hangs for the crime but Savill is convinced they have executed the wrong man Lodging with the respected Wintour family Savill senses the myst. Edward Savill a London clerk lands in Manhattan in the wake of the War of Independence It s a city fraught with secrets divided loyalties and double agents home to a swelling tide of refugees seeking justice from the British crown It isn t long before Savill is swept up in the city s struggles trying to solve a murder for which a falsely accused slave was hanged Distracted by his host s beautiful daughter in law Arabella Savill must search under the masks worn by those around him for the dangerous truth at the city s heartThere is something wonderfully reassuring about the weight and tactile beauty of this book It promises long nights curled in a favourite armchair absorbed in a story by a master storyteller And it doesn t disappoint Taylor is at the height of his powers weaving a complex set of strands with such skill that the effect is almost effortless His narrator Savill is a convincing observer Arriving emotionally numb from his long journey away from a difficult marriage to an alien Manhattan the first human he sees is the floating corpse of a rebel This introduction to a world famous city visceral and unsettling stays with the reader throughout the story It reminds us that nothing and no one is uite as it seems Read on


10 thoughts on “The Scent of Death

  1. says:

    Once again Andrew Taylor demonstrates that he is a master of the historical crime novel and I’d rate The Scent of Death even above

  2. says:

    A wonderful book The characters are so vivid and interesting the plot complex and expertly woven and the history

  3. says:

    Frankly I could barely set it down It was right up there with Bleeding Heart Suare about which I once taught a class in evoking atmosphere and time The plot was superb with just enough hints to keep the reader curious without giving everything away The attitudes of the characters revealed so much about colonial America and politics about whi

  4. says:

    35 stars My review for USA TodayThe Scent of DeathBy Andrew TaylorHarperCollins 480 ppBad historical novelists almost always give themselves away with their dialogue first Blimey old egg and in good ones the reverse is true — we slide indiscernibly into the rhythms of an older mode of speech until after a few pages it seems as natural as

  5. says:

    Another solid historical novel from Taylor who does his homework and has a gift for describing the period details of the era

  6. says:

    Edward Savill a London clerk lands in Manhattan in the wake of the War of Independence It's a city fraught with secrets divided loyalties and double agents home to a swelling tide of refugees seeking justice from the British crown It isn't long before Savill is swept up in the city's struggles trying to solve a murder for which a fa

  7. says:

    The Scent Of Death is set in New York during the American War Of Independence where Edward Savill an English clerk is sent t

  8. says:

    Edward Savill is a clerk sent to British occupied New York during the American War of Independence to log the claims of dispossessed loyalists His job is a tedious sinecure dependent on the patronage of his lofty father in law and it takes him away from his beloved daughter and from his strained relationship with his wife In New York he becomes a participant in a mystery involving murder espionage and the search for an elusive `b

  9. says:

    Well crafted and satisfying in the end but the structure of the story made this book really really drag until the last hundr

  10. says:

    I had such high hopes for The Scent of Death The premise sounded really interesting and I always love historical fictionthrillers Unfortunately Andrew Taylor did not deliver There were certainly parts that were interesting and fulfilled the thriller component of the story However there was a lot of unnecessary filler that just wasn't particularly interesting I think the Scent of Death would have benefitted fro

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