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Northamptonshire, 1810: As a new canal network snakes across the landscape, a vicious mob stakes its claim to the county. Every local constable is out on the hunt for the ruthless Panther Gang. When an elderly man is robbed and murdered in sleepy Middleton, the beleaguered magistrates send for help from London’s Bow Street Police Office. Detective Stephen Lavender and Const Northamptonshire, 1810: As a new canal network snakes across the landscape, a vicious mob stakes its claim to the county. Every local constable is out on the hunt for the ruthless Panther Gang. When an elderly man is robbed and murdered in sleepy Middleton, the beleaguered magistrates send for help from London’s Bow Street Police Office. Detective Stephen Lavender and Constable Ned Woods soon discover there’s more to William Sculthorpe’s demise than meets the eye. Mystery surrounds the old man and his family, and the stench of revenge hangs heavy in the air. Are the Panther Gang really responsible or is something more sinister afoot? As Lavender delves further into long-hidden secrets, Woods has demons of his own to contend with: ghosts from his past that stalk him through the investigation.


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Northamptonshire, 1810: As a new canal network snakes across the landscape, a vicious mob stakes its claim to the county. Every local constable is out on the hunt for the ruthless Panther Gang. When an elderly man is robbed and murdered in sleepy Middleton, the beleaguered magistrates send for help from London’s Bow Street Police Office. Detective Stephen Lavender and Const Northamptonshire, 1810: As a new canal network snakes across the landscape, a vicious mob stakes its claim to the county. Every local constable is out on the hunt for the ruthless Panther Gang. When an elderly man is robbed and murdered in sleepy Middleton, the beleaguered magistrates send for help from London’s Bow Street Police Office. Detective Stephen Lavender and Constable Ned Woods soon discover there’s more to William Sculthorpe’s demise than meets the eye. Mystery surrounds the old man and his family, and the stench of revenge hangs heavy in the air. Are the Panther Gang really responsible or is something more sinister afoot? As Lavender delves further into long-hidden secrets, Woods has demons of his own to contend with: ghosts from his past that stalk him through the investigation.

30 review for The Sculthorpe Murder

  1. 4 out of 5

    Clemens Schoonderwoert

    This very impressive sequel is the 3rd volume of "The Detective Lavender Mystery" series from the wonderful author, Karen Charlton. At the end of the book you'll find a very well documented Author's Note, where the historical details concerning this story are superbly explained, and these details are again beautifully implemented within this great mystery. Story-telling from this author is once more of a superb quality, the mystery itself is fabulously structured and executed, all the characters, This very impressive sequel is the 3rd volume of "The Detective Lavender Mystery" series from the wonderful author, Karen Charlton. At the end of the book you'll find a very well documented Author's Note, where the historical details concerning this story are superbly explained, and these details are again beautifully implemented within this great mystery. Story-telling from this author is once more of a superb quality, the mystery itself is fabulously structured and executed, all the characters, great historical or wonderful fictional, come vividly to life within this exciting mystery, while also the atmosphere within these historical times comes beautifully off the pages. This mystery sets off 20th February, AD 1810, in Middleton in Northamptonshire, when Billy Sculthorpe is witness of a burglary in his father's house, not knowing that his elderly father has already been murdered. As from the beginning of March, AD 1810, Detective Stephen Lavender and his friend, Constable Ned Woods, arrive in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, which is close to Middleton, where they are instructed by Magistrate, Captain Rushperry, to investigate the murder of the elderly, William Sculthorpe. While investigating this murder they will encounter hostility and deception from various people, and not to forget this murder will contain not just an interesting plot but also some well worked-out sub-plots, and all these plots together will produce a great mystery. What will follow is an intriguing and gripping historical mystery, where Lavender needs to go in search of William Sculthorpe's secret life as a Catholic priest, while Woods has demons of his own from the past that need solving, until finally together they will be able to unravel the threads of this web of murder and deceit, and catch and reveal the culprit(s) of this same dreadful murder. Very much recommended, for this is another excellent episode in this great series, and that's why I want to call this book: "A Sublime Sculthorpe Murder Mystery"!

  2. 5 out of 5

    J.A. Schneider

    What a brilliant thriller! It is 1810 in Northamptonshire, England. A new canal is being dug, a vicious mob stakes its claim to the area, and an elderly man is murdered. Did the frightening Panther Gang do it? Enter Detective Stephen Lavender and Constable Ned Woods, who discover that there's more to William Sculthorpe's murder than meets the eye. Something more sinister surrounds old Mr Sculthorpe and his family. Lavender digs deeper into the family's secrets while Constable Woods struggles wit What a brilliant thriller! It is 1810 in Northamptonshire, England. A new canal is being dug, a vicious mob stakes its claim to the area, and an elderly man is murdered. Did the frightening Panther Gang do it? Enter Detective Stephen Lavender and Constable Ned Woods, who discover that there's more to William Sculthorpe's murder than meets the eye. Something more sinister surrounds old Mr Sculthorpe and his family. Lavender digs deeper into the family's secrets while Constable Woods struggles with his own demons throughout the investigation. This was a fabulous read, I loved it! Loved Detective Lavender, loved also the geographical and superb descriptions. As an American, this was a wonderful period in English history to read about. My thanks and appreciation to the author, Karen Charlton. Five Stars!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kiesha ~ 1Cheekylass

    I really enjoyed this one! This was a great way for the author to bounce back after book 2's disaster for me. Less romance and more of Lavender and Woods. Can I just say how much I love Constable Woods? I like Lavender too but something about Woods just makes me smile. There were so much going on in this little sleepy town. So many secrets, mystery and obviously murder. Some of the secrets/mystery were obvious for me but I wanted to know the history and how would it come about. I hope that she c I really enjoyed this one! This was a great way for the author to bounce back after book 2's disaster for me. Less romance and more of Lavender and Woods. Can I just say how much I love Constable Woods? I like Lavender too but something about Woods just makes me smile. There were so much going on in this little sleepy town. So many secrets, mystery and obviously murder. Some of the secrets/mystery were obvious for me but I wanted to know the history and how would it come about. I hope that she continues with this series.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Claire Stibbe

    The Sculthorpe Murder is the third book in the Detective Lavender Mysteries, although each book can easily be read as a standalone. Giving a nod to the Bow Street Police Office in London, Charlton’s writing is strong, bringing Regency London to life. Lavender and Woods are not just Bow Street detectives, they have become unique and appealing characters we know and love. I can’t help but champ at the bit for another book in the series. Captain Rushperry of Market Harborough has written to Magistr The Sculthorpe Murder is the third book in the Detective Lavender Mysteries, although each book can easily be read as a standalone. Giving a nod to the Bow Street Police Office in London, Charlton’s writing is strong, bringing Regency London to life. Lavender and Woods are not just Bow Street detectives, they have become unique and appealing characters we know and love. I can’t help but champ at the bit for another book in the series. Captain Rushperry of Market Harborough has written to Magistrate Read in London to send his best assistance in the brutal attack on old man William Sculthorpe. By the time Lavender and Woods arrive on the scene, the mystery has quickly turned into a murder investigation. Since there are known gangs terrorizing a nearby area and who have already robbed a local couple, it is generally assumed this gang is responsible for Sculthorpe’s death. Already motivated by this eerie crime, my nose was twitching at the roasting meat and coal fires in the square at Market Harborough. Woods with his insatiable appetite for good food and Lavender’s cynical thoughts, not to mention his remarkable powers of detection, which ultimately lead me through a sea of local characters I thoroughly enjoyed meeting. Charlton is excellent at crafting well-paced, exciting action sequences, all laced with the accents of the Regency period. I always get a kick out of the relationship between Woods and Lavender, these are just one of the many aspects of this outstanding novel. There are several fascinating threads of history throughout the book, as well as a beautiful descriptions. Never a dull moment as I tried to solve the crime together with Lavender and Woods. Every time I thought I’d clinched it, along came another surprise and the dramatic conclusion had me on the edge of my seat. Maintaining the flavor of the period throughout, Charlton has crafted a wonderful series that any lover of historical fiction will delight in reading. Thank you to Netgalley and TBC on FB for the ARC.

  5. 4 out of 5

    JayeL

    One of the things I like about historical fiction is that it forces me to look up obscure words, mentions of places and people. I enjoyed this novel. It was a good diversion. One of the things am really enjoying about Karen Charlton is the "Author's Note" she includes at the end of each story. It appears that Stephen Lavender was a real person and Charlton based her character on him. These give explanations and insights into the writing of her novel and are entertaining as well. The book starts o One of the things I like about historical fiction is that it forces me to look up obscure words, mentions of places and people. I enjoyed this novel. It was a good diversion. One of the things am really enjoying about Karen Charlton is the "Author's Note" she includes at the end of each story. It appears that Stephen Lavender was a real person and Charlton based her character on him. These give explanations and insights into the writing of her novel and are entertaining as well. The book starts out with the, apparently, brutal murder of William Sculthorpe and attack on his son. As we dig into the case with Lavender and Woods, we find, as usual in life, that everything was not as it appeared. Religion, specifically Catholicism, rears its ahead again as does blackmail, 'cretinism', and an old lady acting as puppetmaster. In this installment, we get a bit more of Ned's backstory, which adds a layer to the entire series. Ethical dilemmas are introduced. Both Lavender and Ned need to make choices that go to the core of their careers. I was entertained by some of the names, such as Sculthorpe and Caleb Liquorice. The language is also quite colorful with Ned calling young ladies 'treacle' as an endearment. He also calls people 'fathead' including Stephen. This is worth a read, but read the first books in the series first. 2018: I am reading this book again after finding out that the next in the series, Plague Pits & River Bones was available. I wanted to remember what came before so I wouldn't miss any of the details. I find that 1810 is a very dark feeling year. Yes, there was no electricity or artificial light sources, but people seem grimy, the houses are pokey and small, the people are small and hunched and fearful. There is an overall feeling of darkness. Of course, this could come from the fact that this is a murder mystery. I like to create connections between books - kind of building a world of the books. In that sense, this book mentioned Colodan, which made me think of Outlander and made put a note on my list to look up the dates of that battle and see how it related. There was also mention of hangings at Tyburn, which brought Lady Ty and the River of London series by Ben Aaronovich to mind. This was interesting again. I remembered some of the details and Jed Sawyer was suspicious to me, but I didn't remember the why. Tt was worth revisiting.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}

    Disclaimer: I received this book for free from netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This book took some time for me to get into, but to be fair, I haven't read the previous books in the series yet. I really liked the plot once it got going, and the various twists I did not see coming. At times, the characters did feel very wooden to me. Disclaimer: I received this book for free from netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This book took some time for me to get into, but to be fair, I haven't read the previous books in the series yet. I really liked the plot once it got going, and the various twists I did not see coming. At times, the characters did feel very wooden to me.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Skjam!

    Disclaimer: I received a Kindle download of this book as a Goodreads giveaway for the purpose of writing this review. No other compensation was offered or requested. The year is 1810, and Bow Street Runner Detective Stephen Lavender has been called from his native London to Northamptonshire. It seems that an elderly man, William Sculthorpe, has been robbed and murdered. The most likely suspects are a gang known as the Panthers, whom the local authorities have been unable to put their hands upon. Disclaimer: I received a Kindle download of this book as a Goodreads giveaway for the purpose of writing this review. No other compensation was offered or requested. The year is 1810, and Bow Street Runner Detective Stephen Lavender has been called from his native London to Northamptonshire. It seems that an elderly man, William Sculthorpe, has been robbed and murdered. The most likely suspects are a gang known as the Panthers, whom the local authorities have been unable to put their hands upon. But when Lavender and his friend Horse Constable Ned Woods investigate at the request of a wealthy noblewoman, they find clues that suggest otherwise. Most notably, the testimony of Sculthorpe’s son Billy who actually saw the murderers. But he’s an unreliable witness who talks about “dark elves”, so has been mostly ignored. This is the third Detective Lavender mystery, and I have not read the previous volumes. According to the author’s notes, her main character is loosely based on the life and activities of a real Stephen Lavender, who was an officer of the Bow Street magistrates. Likewise, this book’s case is based on one Mr. Lavender actually solved, though Ms. Charlton took liberties with even the bare bones account provided by historical records. Billy Sculthorpe has Down syndrome (called “cretinism” in the story because Dr. Down hadn’t even been born yet, let alone started studying the condition.) Lavender quickly realizes that despite his moderate mental disability, and a vivid imagination fed by spooky stories his recently deceased Mum had told him, Billy is a talented artist and has a good memory. Billy’s testimony leads the detectives to discover clues about William Sculthorpe’s actual past and other possible motivations for his murder. The sleepy village of Middleton and its surroundings turn out to have many dark secrets that get turned up by the murder investigation, multiplying the number of suspects. There are even ties back to London, which allows Lavender’s love interest Magdalena and other city-bound characters to make an appearance. Meanwhile, Constable Woods finds his own past catching up with him. As often happens with historical mysteries, Stephen Lavender as the protagonist is perhaps just a little too enlightened for the times he’s living in, believing in religious tolerance and treating the women in his life with respect for their intelligence and opinions. Woods is a bit more believable as a person of the early Nineteenth Century, but not so much so as to make him unsympathetic. I found the solution to the mystery satisfying; genre-savvy readers will spot one of the murderers very early on, and clues as to how it was done are abundant. Much of the last part of the book is Detective Lavender negotiating just how many of the crimes he’s uncovered must come to light, and which must face justice of a more subtle sort. Possible trigger issues: There’s some discussion of spousal abuse and animal abuse in the backstory, including the fact that it was even more difficult to get out of an abusive marriage in the Eighteenth Century than it is today. There are some slurs hurled by less sympathetic characters towards Billy because of his condition, a bit of slut-shaming, and anti-Catholic slurs. Recommended to fans of the historical mystery sub-genre.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    Love this series!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    The Sculthorpe Murder is book three in the Detective Lavender Mysteries by Karen Charlton. Detective Lavender and his friend Constable Ned Woods caught a case in Middleton, Northamptonshire, of the death of Middleton's residence. At first, everyone through it was the Panther Gang who murdered William Sculthorpe, who is terrorising Northamptonshire. However, the more Detective Lavender and Constable Ned Woods investigate this case, the more the plot thickens. The readers of The Sculthorpe Murder The Sculthorpe Murder is book three in the Detective Lavender Mysteries by Karen Charlton. Detective Lavender and his friend Constable Ned Woods caught a case in Middleton, Northamptonshire, of the death of Middleton's residence. At first, everyone through it was the Panther Gang who murdered William Sculthorpe, who is terrorising Northamptonshire. However, the more Detective Lavender and Constable Ned Woods investigate this case, the more the plot thickens. The readers of The Sculthorpe Murder will continue to follow Detective Lavender Mysteries to find out what happens. The Sculthorpe Murder is another fantastic murder mysteries set in Northamptonshire during the 18OO's. I have read several books in this series, and I always have trouble putting the books down to go to sleep. The Sculthorpe Murder did not disappoint. I love the way Karen Charlton portrayed her characters and intertwined then throughout this book. The Sculthorpe Murder is well written and researched by Karen Charlton. I like the Karen Charlton description of the settings of the Sculthorpe Murder that complement the book's plot. The Sculthorpe Murder readers will learn about the problems people have in the 1800s who worship catholicism. The readers will also learn about how English society in the 1800s called Down syndrome children and how they treated them. I recommend this book

  10. 4 out of 5

    Wilson

    Another great historical mystery book. The two main characters, Detective Lavender and Constable Woods, are both likable and interesting, and the setting is well captured without reams of unnecessary description. There's a mix of personal story about the main characters alongside whatever crime is the focus of each book in the series, and the two are blended together well without any connections appearing too absurd. I was glad to find there are plenty more books to come in the series - they're Another great historical mystery book. The two main characters, Detective Lavender and Constable Woods, are both likable and interesting, and the setting is well captured without reams of unnecessary description. There's a mix of personal story about the main characters alongside whatever crime is the focus of each book in the series, and the two are blended together well without any connections appearing too absurd. I was glad to find there are plenty more books to come in the series - they're not going to change your world, but they are easy reading with loads of interesting historical details and a solid detective story at the core each time.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Foulds

    Canals and Beer Really liked this book, the best so far. Many twists and turns and myriad sub plots kept my interest to the end. Looking forward to the next one now. Although this is a detective Lavender Mystery my favourite character is his sidekick PC Ned Woods a man after my own heart,

  12. 4 out of 5

    Diane Challenor

    This series is an enjoyable mystery, set in the early 1800s. The period, and place, Britain, within which it is set, conjures up a perfect atmosphere. The story was written in a way that places the reader firmly in the damp, muddy geography, around the rivers, canals and inns. Detective Lavender is an unusual character, along with his sidekick. I’ve given it three stars mainly because it’s not quite the quality of a P.D. James mystery, but it was enjoyable, and I will continue reading (listening This series is an enjoyable mystery, set in the early 1800s. The period, and place, Britain, within which it is set, conjures up a perfect atmosphere. The story was written in a way that places the reader firmly in the damp, muddy geography, around the rivers, canals and inns. Detective Lavender is an unusual character, along with his sidekick. I’ve given it three stars mainly because it’s not quite the quality of a P.D. James mystery, but it was enjoyable, and I will continue reading (listening to) the series. So far I’ve read four.

  13. 4 out of 5

    B.A. Morton

    Another fabulous story from author Karen Charlton as she takes Regency Detective Stephen Lavender and his trusty Constable Ned Woods far from their usual London haunts on the trail of ruthless murderers in the sleepy hamlet of Middleton. As usual the plot is well conceived with an array of suspects and red herrings. The characters are larger than life with marvellous names such as ‘Caleb Liquorice’ and the dialogue is peppered with entertaining vernacular and ribald humour. Charlton excels at sc Another fabulous story from author Karen Charlton as she takes Regency Detective Stephen Lavender and his trusty Constable Ned Woods far from their usual London haunts on the trail of ruthless murderers in the sleepy hamlet of Middleton. As usual the plot is well conceived with an array of suspects and red herrings. The characters are larger than life with marvellous names such as ‘Caleb Liquorice’ and the dialogue is peppered with entertaining vernacular and ribald humour. Charlton excels at scene setting, bringing rural Northamptonshire to life with ease, and manages to impart her undoubted knowledge of the historical events of the period in a way that adds to the story rather than distracting from it. In this case, the newly created canal network features heavily, along with the papist intolerance of the period, and on a more personal level, the harsh life faced by those less able, intellectually or physically, than others. This is the third in this series and it’s good to see how the main characters have developed as we learn more about their background. Likeable, down to earth, Woods continues to be a ‘man of the people’ a perfect foil for the learned and more distant Lavender, a great team indeed. Ideal for those who enjoy the likes of the BBC’s Ripper Street. I’d wholly recommend this series and look forward to discovering where Lavender and Woods will end up in the next book.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Carol Evans

    I enjoyed The Sculthorpe Murder so much more than #2 in the series. Lavender and Woods are sent out of London to Northamptonshire to investigate the killing of an elderly man, presumably by a gang that has been terrorizing the area. I like that the trip takes Lavender away from his love interest. I really can only stand them as a couple for short periods of time. The plot was well-done with a good array of suspects and clues. I like that Lavender doesn’t take things for granted and as an outsider I enjoyed The Sculthorpe Murder so much more than #2 in the series. Lavender and Woods are sent out of London to Northamptonshire to investigate the killing of an elderly man, presumably by a gang that has been terrorizing the area. I like that the trip takes Lavender away from his love interest. I really can only stand them as a couple for short periods of time. The plot was well-done with a good array of suspects and clues. I like that Lavender doesn’t take things for granted and as an outsider can be more suspicious of certain people than the locals are. Wood gets a lot of screen time in this one, which I appreciated. He tends to put people, including children at ease. Lavender, on the other hand, tends to make people a bit uncomfortable. He’s the thinker where Woods is the talker. Together they make a good team. The secondary characters are all a bit shady, actually. Most, if not all, have their secrets, some more criminal than others. I do think the ending was appropriate, although perhaps not in the typical, wrap it up, punish the guilty way. The Sculthorpe Murder is a solid historical mystery. It feels like the details are well done – whether they actually are or not I can’t judge, I’m assuming they are.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    The Sculthorpe Murder is the latest in the Stephen Lavender mysteries, and I've liked the two previous books in this series. Set in 1810, these Regency mysteries feature Detective Stephen Lavender of Bow Street in London and Constable Ned Woods. Henry Fielding, author of Tom Jones, became London's chief magistrate and helped found the Bow Street Runners (considered London's first professional police force) in 1749. Stephen Lavender is a real historical character who was frequently mentioned in cou The Sculthorpe Murder is the latest in the Stephen Lavender mysteries, and I've liked the two previous books in this series. Set in 1810, these Regency mysteries feature Detective Stephen Lavender of Bow Street in London and Constable Ned Woods. Henry Fielding, author of Tom Jones, became London's chief magistrate and helped found the Bow Street Runners (considered London's first professional police force) in 1749. Stephen Lavender is a real historical character who was frequently mentioned in court cases in the early 1800's. The Sculthorpe Murder was inspired by two historical cases, and Charlton uses a combination of facts and fiction to allow Lavender and Woods to become charged with the investigation. Charlton writes mysteries that concentrate on more than just dead bodies and has created two very likable characters in Lavender and Woods. I look forward to more in this series. NetGalley/Thomas & Mercer Historical Mystery. Aug. 30, 2016. Print length: 318 pages.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

    I have read and enjoyed very much everything Charlton has published in the US. It is wonderful to see a newish author start and pursue a successful career. Her Det Lavender mysteries are very enjoyable, traditional and fun. In this one Lavender and Woods once more visit rural England to find out why someone would brutally murder an 86 year old man. New mysteries are uncovered and solved as Lavender discovered this beautiful area hold many secrets , often interconnected. Like some of Charlton's o I have read and enjoyed very much everything Charlton has published in the US. It is wonderful to see a newish author start and pursue a successful career. Her Det Lavender mysteries are very enjoyable, traditional and fun. In this one Lavender and Woods once more visit rural England to find out why someone would brutally murder an 86 year old man. New mysteries are uncovered and solved as Lavender discovered this beautiful area hold many secrets , often interconnected. Like some of Charlton's other books, this one is based on a real case in the early nineteenth century. Enjoy the whole series, but this one is fine as a standalone. Great fun for all.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    February 1810, and Lavender and Woods have been dispatched to Middleton Northants to investigate the death of a man William Sculthorpe who is believed to have been murdered by the notorious Panther Gang. But they soon discover there is more of a mystery to the death then they thought, secrets start to be uncovered. Hoping that the romantic aspects of the series are kept to a minimum as in this book. Very enjoyable and interesting tale, and I am really liking these two Bow Street officers. A NetGalle February 1810, and Lavender and Woods have been dispatched to Middleton Northants to investigate the death of a man William Sculthorpe who is believed to have been murdered by the notorious Panther Gang. But they soon discover there is more of a mystery to the death then they thought, secrets start to be uncovered. Hoping that the romantic aspects of the series are kept to a minimum as in this book. Very enjoyable and interesting tale, and I am really liking these two Bow Street officers. A NetGalley Book

  18. 5 out of 5

    John

    I would give this a solid 3.5. I'm rounding up from having enjoyed the novel, in spite of a few things I was put off by. In The Sculthorpe Murder, Detective Lavender and Woods are called North to investigate the beating death and apparent robbery of an elderly man. Running in the background is a troop of five criminal thieves, the Panthers, that has harassed the communities. Lavender must determine the true culprits while surrounded by two towns full of people whose identities are not what they s I would give this a solid 3.5. I'm rounding up from having enjoyed the novel, in spite of a few things I was put off by. In The Sculthorpe Murder, Detective Lavender and Woods are called North to investigate the beating death and apparent robbery of an elderly man. Running in the background is a troop of five criminal thieves, the Panthers, that has harassed the communities. Lavender must determine the true culprits while surrounded by two towns full of people whose identities are not what they seem. (view spoiler)[ I hate to say this. I was a bit disappointed in this book. Admittedly, there was much that I enjoyed, hence the bump up, but I couldn't get past one point in particular. The first 3/4ths of the book kept me engaged. I liked the complicated web that wove through the community. Wood's brother was an fun twist, and I like how that came out. All of the secrets that bent back and forth throughout the story were great. My problem was the reveal. A complaint tossed at many mystery writers is that they keep some element of the case buried that is never hinted of. It simply appears at the last second to make a big impact on the story and change how everything transpires. This novel suffers from a mild case of this. The reveal of the true identity of the town constable as a deserter who'd changed his identity and was being blackmailed hinged solely - from what I read - on the revelation of a letter disclosed at the very end, just before the confrontation. From there, it felt like Charlton could have picked any combination of the other blackmail victims and had the same result. It just wasn't polished. It was the one time I've been disappointed in the Lavender stories. I hate to say that. I've enjoyed the books so far and will certainly be continuing them. I just feel it wasn't the best choice in handling that twist. I keep trying to think of anything I missed that resolves that letter, but I can't find it. Maybe I did miss something, so I still have to recommend this book. (hide spoiler)] I wanted to give this novel a 5, but one incident left me unable to do so. I'll keep that 5 in my pocket for when I read the next story. I'm sure it will earn it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dani Bonam

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. When I originally downloaded the novel, I believed it to be the second novel in the series rather than the third. Although I do not think any information was lost, as these can be stand alone novels. Transferred to 19th century England, Detective Lavender and constable Woods are at it again as they're hired by a countess to investigate the murder and robbery of William Sculthorpe. As the author's not attests there are several sub plots throughout. I had a difficult time understanding all that wa When I originally downloaded the novel, I believed it to be the second novel in the series rather than the third. Although I do not think any information was lost, as these can be stand alone novels. Transferred to 19th century England, Detective Lavender and constable Woods are at it again as they're hired by a countess to investigate the murder and robbery of William Sculthorpe. As the author's not attests there are several sub plots throughout. I had a difficult time understanding all that was going on, using the audible narration only, because there were so many characters, each with their own shady activities. Sculthorpe's murder turns out to be more for revenge than money. The man is a disgraced Catholic priest with a passion for blackmail. Hiding away in a small country town with stolen relics and a stash of money, Sculthorpe continues his shady behavior, blackmailing a handful of his new neighbors. As Lavender and Woods dig into the towns dirty secrets, they also capture a roving gang and discover Woods' long lost brother. Perhaps this was mention in the second novel that I missed but with all the other story-lines, I was confused by that random turn of events. Couldn't Woods have investigated one of the other citizens, than experiencing his own mystery? I enjoyed that part of the story and laughed aloud at the brother banter but it just added even more to an already complicated tale. Aside from the difficulty in keeping track of all the characters and their sordid histories, it was an enjoyable story. The partnership between Lavender and Woods continues to be a source of enjoyment. And several of the other characters brought hummer to the novel, keeping it from being dry, like Lavender's personality. I will be returning to the second novel and will read the fourth due in January 2018.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Patsyann

    This book series uses actual facts as the base for the stories. This information is given by the author at the end of the book. There are also the historical and cultural facts of the Regency period that factor heavily in this series. Two historical factors in this book are: Protestant views of Catholics and how disabled individuals were treated. Both of these views were used as plot twists. I learned something more about the Regency period - I learn something everytime I read one of my Regency This book series uses actual facts as the base for the stories. This information is given by the author at the end of the book. There are also the historical and cultural facts of the Regency period that factor heavily in this series. Two historical factors in this book are: Protestant views of Catholics and how disabled individuals were treated. Both of these views were used as plot twists. I learned something more about the Regency period - I learn something everytime I read one of my Regency mystery series books. This is also a story about the past of Ned Woods. The relationship of Ned Woods and Stephen Lavender is developed in this book. Lavender even had a moment of jealousy when he momentarily thought that Ned might have a tight relationship with a relative that had emerged. What was great about that moment was that Lavender talked himself out of the envy by figuring out that the newly found relative would not go to London for fear of being arrested. Lavender's mother also appears as someone to obtain information from. And I think I have figured out why Lavender loves Magdalena - she is his opposite. Opposite's attract!!?!?! There lots of murders, old and new. Lots of suspects - all in a room. Lavender solves the murders in chapter 25 then gets them all in a room. Lots of fighting and brawling. Enjoy this series. BEST USE OF: Brothers, the mail coach, boats on a canal ALPHA MALE: Both men are 10's SPUNKY HEROINE: though not yet a part the investigative team - 10 HEA: not for everyone SEX: 1 PROLOGUE/EPILOGUE: None and not missed or needed Rating: 10 - on keeper shelf Heat: 1 - not a lot of heat and behind closed doors sex COVER COVERS IT: Beautiful cover and does cover a scene HOLLYWOOD CALLING: this is written to be a TV series

  21. 4 out of 5

    Roxann

    From the cover: Northamptonshire, 1810: As a new canal network snakes across the landscape, a vicious mob stakes its claim to the county. Every local constable is out on the hunt for the ruthless Panther Gang. When an elderly man is robbed and murdered in sleepy Middleton, the beleaguered magistrates send for help from London’s Bow Street Police Office. Detective Stephen Lavender and Constable Ned Woods soon discover there’s more to William Sculthorpe’s demise than meets the eye. Mystery surroun From the cover: Northamptonshire, 1810: As a new canal network snakes across the landscape, a vicious mob stakes its claim to the county. Every local constable is out on the hunt for the ruthless Panther Gang. When an elderly man is robbed and murdered in sleepy Middleton, the beleaguered magistrates send for help from London’s Bow Street Police Office. Detective Stephen Lavender and Constable Ned Woods soon discover there’s more to William Sculthorpe’s demise than meets the eye. Mystery surrounds the old man and his family, and the stench of revenge hangs heavy in the air. Are the Panther Gang really responsible or is something more sinister afoot? As Lavender delves further into long-hidden secrets, Woods has demons of his own to contend with: ghosts from his past that stalk him through the investigation. Uncovering decades of simmering hatred and deceit, Lavender and Woods must use all their wit and cunning to solve this evil crime. I received the book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. This is the first book in the series that I have read. I really enjoyed and liked the two main characters Lavender and Woods. I also enjoy historical fiction. The descriptions and details written were outstanding. The plot was good and I liked all the twists and turns.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lora

    I was definitely satisfied with this installment in the series, but not thrilled enough to give it four stars. The book is loosely based on a real historical incident, but the author made the story much more interesting by adding focus on repressed groups - Catholics, women and people with developmental disabiliies. And the canal scenes were enhanced by personal experience - her parents owned a canal narrowboat for over 30 years. Here are a couple of (nonspoiler) excerpts from the book: - Reacti I was definitely satisfied with this installment in the series, but not thrilled enough to give it four stars. The book is loosely based on a real historical incident, but the author made the story much more interesting by adding focus on repressed groups - Catholics, women and people with developmental disabiliies. And the canal scenes were enhanced by personal experience - her parents owned a canal narrowboat for over 30 years. Here are a couple of (nonspoiler) excerpts from the book: - Reacting to the opulence of a Catholic chapel: "The Protestant in him was far more comfortable in spartan whitewashed churches with a simple wooden cross. There, and only there, did he occasionally feel the shadow of the presence of that simple carpenter from Nazareth." - Woods indirectly teasing Lavender during a group conversation (kind of like Watson teasing Sherlock): "You should see him celebrate down in London, sir. When he gets really excited, sometimes he read a book."

  23. 5 out of 5

    wendi wigham

    Woods wins! Constable Woods is the real hero in this book. Conversing with a Downs Syndrome adult, a long lost brother, chasing secrets. All the while playing second fiddle to arrogant Lavender, who would be nothing without Woods natural friendly disposition. I feel that too much ' artistic licence' has been taken with real people who are featured in this novel & could well cause distress to their descendants. Mr Scunthorpe has definitely suffered from defamation of character. The real Steven Lavend Woods wins! Constable Woods is the real hero in this book. Conversing with a Downs Syndrome adult, a long lost brother, chasing secrets. All the while playing second fiddle to arrogant Lavender, who would be nothing without Woods natural friendly disposition. I feel that too much ' artistic licence' has been taken with real people who are featured in this novel & could well cause distress to their descendants. Mr Scunthorpe has definitely suffered from defamation of character. The real Steven Lavender would not have survived for long in his occupation if he had the high handed attitude of his namesake in the tome. Nice to see Woods out of Lavender's shadow, but he is still shown to praise Lavender' super powers of deduction. If Woods had the connections of his senior officer, I have no doubt he would have more results on his own.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ruth Matheson

    This is yet another great historical crime thriller set in the early 19th century from Karen Charlton and she certainly knows how to describe the people and their circumstances very vividly, transporting your mind back to London and the English countryside. Her in depth descriptions of sights, smells and sounds are very evocative. The book features Detective Lavender and Constable Woods who have previously featured in two prior novels however these are only mentioned in passing and in no way affe This is yet another great historical crime thriller set in the early 19th century from Karen Charlton and she certainly knows how to describe the people and their circumstances very vividly, transporting your mind back to London and the English countryside. Her in depth descriptions of sights, smells and sounds are very evocative. The book features Detective Lavender and Constable Woods who have previously featured in two prior novels however these are only mentioned in passing and in no way affect this book. The Sculthorpe Murder takes you on a journey not only of murder but also love, friendship and betrayal. I personally found the historical detail regarding the anti Catholic movement and the canal network very interesting. The novel is a great read and I didn't want to put it down from start to finish with all its twists and turns. Keep up the good work Karen!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    This is the third in a mystery series set in the late 1800s. Detective Lavender is a 'bow street runner' as is his assistant, Ned Woods. In this book, they're sent to Northamptonshire at the request of a local wealthy landowner to look into the brutal killing of a local man. It's believed to be the work of the Panther Gang which has been rampaging in the area but this is the first time that it's ended in murder. Lavender quickly suspects there's something more going on. The author has worked hard This is the third in a mystery series set in the late 1800s. Detective Lavender is a 'bow street runner' as is his assistant, Ned Woods. In this book, they're sent to Northamptonshire at the request of a local wealthy landowner to look into the brutal killing of a local man. It's believed to be the work of the Panther Gang which has been rampaging in the area but this is the first time that it's ended in murder. Lavender quickly suspects there's something more going on. The author has worked hard to get the period feel correct -- in fact her cases are usually pulled from actual cases of the time period, though highly fictionalized. They're well written and well constructed and the solution is satisfying.

  26. 5 out of 5

    M

    Well-Written Historical Mystery Interesting and enjoyable murder mystery and police procedural with an excellent main plot, several clever subplots and little side stories. There were a lot of characters but I had little problem remembering most, because the author gave each a distinguishing trait. With a good number of characters, there are many potential suspects and red herrings I enjoyed the camaraderie of the investigating police officers—Bow Street Station Detective Lavender and his partner Well-Written Historical Mystery Interesting and enjoyable murder mystery and police procedural with an excellent main plot, several clever subplots and little side stories. There were a lot of characters but I had little problem remembering most, because the author gave each a distinguishing trait. With a good number of characters, there are many potential suspects and red herrings I enjoyed the camaraderie of the investigating police officers—Bow Street Station Detective Lavender and his partner Horse Constable Ned Woods—who had distinctive personalities with idiosyncrasies. The countryside of Northampshire were thoroughly shown as were the tempo and people of the country. If you like historical mysteries, I recommend this book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    This series is so well-written that even when you're hearing the eBook, the words and writing are what draw you and keep your interest and enjoyment. This time Inspector Lavender is called away from London to investigate, what seems at first, to be a brutal murder of an old man during a robbery and also an attack on his disabled son. Well, forget everything in that last sentence. None of that is true as Inspector Lavender will gradually find out during his investigation. Being out in unfamiliar This series is so well-written that even when you're hearing the eBook, the words and writing are what draw you and keep your interest and enjoyment. This time Inspector Lavender is called away from London to investigate, what seems at first, to be a brutal murder of an old man during a robbery and also an attack on his disabled son. Well, forget everything in that last sentence. None of that is true as Inspector Lavender will gradually find out during his investigation. Being out in unfamiliar Northamptonshire and knowing no one in the area makes his task more difficult. Also, being near the new canals and the new rowdy canal boatmen, the murder may be the work of the nasty Panther Gang who have been committing crimes all over the area. Being chased by multiple police forces, the Panther Gang seem impossible to catch. Lavender and Constable Ned Woods have a hard task and don't get a lot of local help. Ned Woods also starts having terrible nightmares of a murder he witnessed as a boy and is almost murdered himself and must come face to face with some demons from his past. Very satisfying mystery, lots of new historical info I didn't already know and a really good, ripping story. Looking forward to the next one.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kim Humphrey

    No. 3 This third book of the Detective Lavender series sees a return to what Lavender and Woods do best. I have to admit the 2nd book was too much about Magdelena, Lavender ' s fiancee. I am not quite sure I like or trust her. This third book was filled with plots and subplots and we got to see more of the relationship between the constable and Lavender. There is some excellent, funny, banter between the two after all the crimes are solved. I am enjoying reading the series and am moving on to boo No. 3 This third book of the Detective Lavender series sees a return to what Lavender and Woods do best. I have to admit the 2nd book was too much about Magdelena, Lavender ' s fiancee. I am not quite sure I like or trust her. This third book was filled with plots and subplots and we got to see more of the relationship between the constable and Lavender. There is some excellent, funny, banter between the two after all the crimes are solved. I am enjoying reading the series and am moving on to book 4. Read the authors note at the end of the book. Her parents helped plot the book and it's nice to picture them all together. Thanks for the enjoyment!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Anna Bergmark

    The Midsomer Murders goes Regency? Not far from it. Rural villages and country life. Idyllic. Dull. Ordinary. But beneath the surface there’s sexual impropriety, murky secrets, hidden crimes and in the end - or in the beginning really - it all leads to an eruption of deadly violence. Not bad at all. Our two policemen colleagues are perhaps not the strongest characters in the genre, but they are very likeable, the settings well described and atmospheric, and all in all it’s a cozy read in so far th The Midsomer Murders goes Regency? Not far from it. Rural villages and country life. Idyllic. Dull. Ordinary. But beneath the surface there’s sexual impropriety, murky secrets, hidden crimes and in the end - or in the beginning really - it all leads to an eruption of deadly violence. Not bad at all. Our two policemen colleagues are perhaps not the strongest characters in the genre, but they are very likeable, the settings well described and atmospheric, and all in all it’s a cozy read in so far that there’s one given fact on which you can rely unequivocally in this series; for nice people things work out, for the villains there’s the wrath of God. And ain’t it sweet to be soothed thus! 3 strong, solid if slightly bland stars.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Ross

    I found it relatively predictable and some of the things that came up in the end were relatively obvious. Honestly, I felt frustrated with Lavender most of the time because, as a detective, he was not asking the right questions or was just letting fairly obvious things pass him by. Or maybe he wasn’t and it just wasn’t explained to the readers, but every time something came up and he didn’t connect the dots or question it further I was highly aggravated. Lady Anne’s connection to Billy was the m I found it relatively predictable and some of the things that came up in the end were relatively obvious. Honestly, I felt frustrated with Lavender most of the time because, as a detective, he was not asking the right questions or was just letting fairly obvious things pass him by. Or maybe he wasn’t and it just wasn’t explained to the readers, but every time something came up and he didn’t connect the dots or question it further I was highly aggravated. Lady Anne’s connection to Billy was the most obvious. I read it on my Kindle and at the 32% mark, I made multiple predictions as to how it would end and I got most of it right.

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