Imogen Robertson’s sequel to 2011’s Instruments of Darkness reintroduces readers to anatomist/forensic specialist Gabriel Crowther and the seemingly indomitable Mrs. Harriet Westerman, as they are once again thrown into the midst of murder and intrigue. Anatomy of Murder is a more finely crafted work than it’s predecessor, with fuller character development and a smoother (yet still intricate) plot involving spies, opera, and murder. It’s gripping prologue, a Navy battle involving Harriet’s husband Captain Westerman, draws to mind scenes from a Patrick O’Brien novel, and instantly sucks readers into an era of intrigue and American rebellion.
It is in this sequel that Robertson delves a bit more into her main characters, particularly that of the appealing Harriet Westerman, giving readers a bit more insight into her thought process, showing kinks in her rather impenetrable armor, while also providing depth and understanding to her unusual partnership with the somewhat dower Crowther. This depth adds yet another layer to an interesting narrative, filled with more loops and turns, than one might expect at first glance. This is a series that gets remarkably better with each book (the third Island of Bones comes out 10/15/12 and is proving to be even more enjoyable). The characters are slowly gaining more dimensions, the mysteries and story development are stimulating, and Robertson’s overall writing seems to grow by leaps and bounds, almost as though she is honing her craft right before the readers eyes as we progress through her books.
This Georgian era suspense is a perfect fit for fans of such period mysteries as produced by Anne Perry, Jacqueline Winspear, and C.S. Harris. Its characters are appealing and the plot both interesting and entertaining. A great new mystery series to have on your bedside table.