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Soot by Andrew Martin


Crime / Mystery   Historical Fiction   eBook Favourites   
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A Maxim Jakubowski selected title.

Until now Andrew Martin has been better known for his pleasant if traditional Jim Stringer series of novels, about a railway detective in North East Edwardian England, and his non fiction, but this new book stretches his boundaries and moves him up a notch or so in the crime stakes pantheon. In York in 1799, an artist well-known for his characteristic paintings of shades and silhouettes is found brutally murdered, stabbed by a pair of scissors. When it becomes evident that the killer could only have been one of the last persons to be portrayed by the artist, his son calls on Fletcher Rigge, who is in prison for debt, to be released for a month to solve the crime. A race against time begins in earnest as failing in the task might entail a life sentence. In possession of the mysterious silhouettes, Fletcher enters a veritable world of shadows. Traditional historical crime with an atmospheric feel, and some truly innovative touches and elements. ~ Maxim Jakubowski

If you like Andrew Martin you might also like to read books by James Runcie, Edward Marston and Stephen Done.


Soot by Andrew Martin

York, 1799. In August, an artist is found murdered in his home - stabbed with a pair of scissors. Matthew Harvey's death is much discussed in the city. The scissors are among the tools of his trade - for Harvey is a renowned cutter and painter of shades, or silhouettes, the latest fashion in portraiture. It soon becomes clear that the murderer must be one of the artist's last sitters, and the people depicted in the final six shades made by him become the key suspects. But who are they? And where are they to be found? Later, in November, a clever but impoverished young gentleman called Fletcher Rigge languishes in the debtor's prison, until a letter arrives containing a bizarre proposition from the son of the murdered man. Rigge is to be released for one month, but in that time, he must find the killer. If he fails, he will be incarcerated again, possibly for life. And so, with everything at stake, and equipped only with copies of the distinctive silhouettes, Fletcher Rigge begins his search across the snow-covered city, and enters a world of shadows...


As well as being a skilfully constructed whodunnit, Soot is an impeccably researched and wonderfully atmospheric evocation of Georgian England . . . Vivid and pungent, with plenty of grotesquery and dry humour, it's a virtuoso performance from a master of historical crime fiction. * the Guardian * A quirky, atmospheric tale . . . an intriguing page-turner with a realistically fallible protagonist * Independent i paper * This witty novel brings the fashions and sins of Georgian York and London to life. * Sunday Express * Exquisitely written . . . Soot is a well-made whodunnit, an artful pastiche and an atmospheric recreation of Georgian England . . . Comic but never arch, it is an artfully sophisticated entertainment * Irish Times * In a cunningly constructed narrative made up of letters, diaries and other documents, the mystery is unravelled with a nod to the 18th-century novel while remaining bang up-to-date . . . Strong characters, humour and a dash of the picaresque flesh out a sophisticated, confident and intriguing treat. * Daily Mail * A fascinating read * Catholic Herald * A literary thriller of great ingenuity and originality * Sunday Times * 'The book's many voices are written with skill, and York's parallel worlds of fashion and poverty are vividly created. The physical book itself is stunning - the front of the hardback is swirled with soot, and the pages are black-edged. An enticing and clever book, inside and out'. Book Of The Month. * The Times * Drier than a cream cracker; northern not only in vernacular but saturninity which envelops like a quilt giving off cigar smoke and port; memorable characters who vie for oddity or unpleasantness . . . Andrew Martin's splendidly drawn snow-smothered York is a perfect foil for his sooty 18th-century gubbins and goings on, in which little turns out to be precisely black - or precisely white. * Evening Standard *

About the Author

Andrew Martin

Andrew Martin is a journalist and novelist. His critically praised 'Jim Stringer' series began with The Necropolis Railway in 2002. The following titles in the series, Murder at Deviation Junction and Death on a Branch Line, were shortlisted for the CWA Ellis Peters Historical Crime Award and, in 2008, Andrew Martin was shortlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library Award. The Somme Stations won the 2011 CWA Ellis Peters Historical Crime Award.

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Book Info

Publication date

6th July 2017


Andrew Martin

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Corsair an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group


352 pages


Crime / Mystery
Historical Fiction
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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