Written by Lloyd Shepherd

Review written by Maureen Carlyle

Simon and Schuster
RRP: £12.99
Released: 1st March 2013

For me, this was a novel of rare delight – mysterious, original, with a cast of convincing characters, mostly historical, and a plot that keeps you guessing almost until the end.  It is a follow-up to Shepherd’s previous book, The English Monster, which I am looking forward to reading

Shepherd has a personal writing style which takes a certain amount of getting used to – he writes almost entirely in the present tense, with short chapters which dodge about a good deal in location and time, but once you have got used to this, and know who the diverse characters are, it is plain sailing.

The year is 1812, when George III, whom everyone assumes is mad, has had to retire from his duties and his eldest son George, fat, greedy and inordinately vain, has become Prince Regent.  A ship, the Solander, has just docked at Rotherhithe after a long voyage to the exotic island of Tahiti.  It has been commissioned by the great botanist, plant collector and President of the Royal Society, Sir Joseph Banks, to bring back a cargo of plants, many completely unknown to these shores, to be nurtured in the Great Stove – in other words the hothouse – at Kew.

John Harriott, Magistrate of the Thames River Police, has been ordered to keep an eye on the security of the ship and its cargo.  Hardly has the ship arrived and the crew gone ashore when they begin to be found horribly murdered in their lodgings.  They are found, despite the horrific manner of their deaths, with smiles on their faces.

Harriott appoints Charles Horton, his astute young constable, to be in charge of the investigation.  The first crewman to die is Samuel Ransome, an unpopular member of the crew, who has been strangled, but nevertheless died smiling.  His belongings have been ransacked, but the bag containing his pay is untouched.

Horton interviews the crew on board the Solander, including their charismatic captain, Hopkins. The botanic cargo has been unloaded and taken to Kew where Sir Joseph, with the aid of his secretary, a Scottish botanist, Robert Brown, oversees its transplanting into suitable environments, taking particular interest in one seedling, which is placed in the warmth of the Great Stove.

Two more murders are actually carried out while Horton and his wife Abigail are walking in the street below.  The crime is discovered by the Solander’s chaplain, a strange young man of mixed English and Tahitian parentage.  This time the victims’ throats have been slashed – but they are still smiling.

The plotline enters the realms of fantasy as the seedling in the Great Stove becomes a large tree in a matter of days and Robert Brown begins to suspect that Sir Joseph Banks has some ulterior motive behind its import.

The interplay between the characters, all of whom, including Horton, have something to hide, is absorbing and the age of huge leaps in geographic and scientific discovery in which it is set is brilliantly drawn.

where can i get the abortion pill online buy abortion pill buy abortion pills online
why husbands cheat read I cheated on my girlfriend
I cheated on my wife want my wife to cheat website
website infidelity why men cheat
what makes a husband cheat women who cheat on men what causes women to cheat
instant chlamydia test chlamydia symptoms in men chlamydia symptoms in women
android text monitoring app best free spy app spyware android phone
i cheated on my husband with his best friend is it my fault my husband cheated
cheat wifes women who cheat on husbands
why married men cheat link My husband cheated on me
cheats site why women cheat in relationships
I cheated on my husband site wives who cheat
free drug coupons rx discounts
kamagra site thyroxine
discount coupons for prescriptions printable viagra coupon coupons for prescriptions
free cialis coupon click cialis free sample coupons
discount coupons for cialis go prescription coupon card
losartan jubilant go losartankalium bivirkninger
gedeones click geodon pfizer
buscopan hund go buscopan preis
pletal y cirugia click pletal 100 mg precio
amoxicillin nedir amoxicillin 500 mg
xarelto prix xarelto compendium xarelto prix
the abortion pill different types of abortion pill non surgical abortion pill
how to have an abortion pill abortion procedure when can you get an abortion pill
second trimester abortion spontaneous abortion pill
abortion pill pros and cons abortion pill stories
medical abortion pill abortion pill price
coupon prescription free cialis samples coupon discount prescription coupons
electric vacuum aspiration information abortion where can i have an abortion
free printable cialis coupons discount coupons for cialis
information about abortion pill aspiration abortion
cialis cialis tadalafil cialis pris
viagra torta viagra kamagra cialis viagra helyett
how to get an abortion pill abortion pill centers
cialis cialis 5 mg cialis 5 mg
lamisil cream lamisil para que sirve lamisil pastillas
acetazolamide 250 mg tablets acetazolamide blood brain barrier
abortion pill services home abortion pill
naltrexone off label uses generic naltrexone low dose naltrexone reviews
revia medication reviews drinking while taking naltrexone drinking on naltrexone

Book Reviews
About Us
Contact Us

Privacy Policy | Contact Shots Editor