Theft of Life-Imogen Robertson
Set in 1875, the body of a West Indies planter is found pegged out much like the ways planters punished their slaves.
I was always frustrated, living in England, by the holier-than-thou attitude many would adopt about British early abolition of slavery versus American timelines. I can recount countless pub debates at unconscionable hours of the night in which it was explained to me, quite earnestly, that it’s been illegal for so long that it no longer affects society. I’d be so overwhelmed with how that was so far from the truth and anyway COLONIALISM that my tongue would be paralyzed.
So I infinitely enjoyed this novel about the effects of slavery on British society because as the author says in her prologue, it's not discussed enough. Robertson writes in a sympathetic evocative prose delicately tracing her way through the classicism, sexism , and racism of the time to deliver a good murder mystery in with the social commentary and amazing setting of the scene. The investigators-Westerman and Crowley- are excellent drawn characters, one being an unusual kind of woman and the other an eccentric man. And while the beginning might be a little slow with the multiple narrative threads, the plot really picks up with non-sensational twists. Really, just a stand out mystery with an amazingly done setting.