Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Complaint of The Dove by Hannah March

Georgian London, 1760. A world of high fashion and even higher spirits—but also of squalid back alleys, violent quarrels, and shadowy intrigues.

It is private tutor Robert Fairfax’s mission to see that troublesome Matthew Hemsley matures into a fine, young gentleman and that he comes to no harm during his first season in London. But Matthew is soon smitten with Miss Lucy Dove, the toast of Covent Garden’s stage. And, after saving her from a crazed attacker, he receives an invitation to Lucy’s private apartments. In the morning, she is found strangled—and Matthew is found on her doorstep in a drunken blackout.

Now, Fairfax must save his young pupil—and his own livelihood and reputation. For one thing, if Lucy already had a lover of great wealth and standing, why did she summon Matthew? For another—unless the real murderer is caught—Matthew will surely hang.

Hannah March is another pen name of author Jude Morgan. I had read and enjoyed a book by Morgan and I decided to give this one a god when I found out the author was the same.

The story has a bit of a slow start, in fact we have time to meet all the characters and their situations in life well before the murder happens. As soon as we meet Lucy I was waiting for her to die but the authors takes his time before letting that happen.

Robert Fairfax is an intriguing character, there's a mystery in his past but we also have to perservere with the reading before finding out what it is. When the book starts he is working as the tutor of a young man, Mathew Hemsley. Mathew is bright, honest and a gentleman. A bit too impulsive at times in face of injustice and a bit too naive in terms of love and romance which leads him to fall heads over heels in love with Lucy when he meets her.

When Lucy is found dead and he is found on her doorstep without a clear memory of what happened inside he is the most obvious suspect and Fairfarx will have to do all he can to get him out of jail. To do that he must launch an investigation of his own, folowing leads and suspicious people to find who Lucy Dove really was and who had most to gain with her death. I did like all the twists and turns the action took although sometimes I wish it had gone a bit faster. Another thing I really enjoy enjoyed was the atmospheric setting, not only the city of Lodon but also the descriptions of Newgate and other unsavory places was so well done that it seemed we were there.

Grade: 4/5


  1. This is the first I have heard of this book, and it sounds interesting. Good to know it is still 4/5 even with the slow aspect. Thanks for the review; I will have to keep it in mind!

  2. Thanks for the review. A new book for me.

  3. I read the first two in this series (I have all the books but the 3rd so I will continue once I find that elusive book) and really was intrigued by the character of Robert Fairfax. He is humble, yet erudite and certainly a man of his time, by that I mean he knew his place as tutor but when needed pushed the limits. I admit I read this more for the journey, both historically and with the characters and not for the mystery, so I didn't find either one slow as I quickly got immersed in the characters and atmosphere. I am so happy to see an older series getting some attention.

    BTW, I learned that the author's name is Tim Wilson and find it very interesting that he writes these historical books under female names. Have to wonder if that is due in part to what C. W. Gortner has commented about, that HF is normally considered to be written by women, making it harder for a man who writes in the field.

  4. I haven't heard of this one but it sounds interesting.

  5. Thanks for review - I'm a great fan of Jude Morgan and had no idea he wrote under another pen name so will be looking out for this.

  6. I hope you like it when you read it.

    FurryReaders, I might search for those 2 on your comments alone. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I read this one a LONG time ago, but I don't think I was ever able to find any sequels to it so stalled. Really enjoyed it, though, so hopefully I can get back on track.