#BookReview - 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 be…

Book Review: The Death Pit by A.L. Kennedy



 A little while ago I reviewed Into the Nowhere by Jenny Colgan which I thoroughly enjoyed and vowed then to read more of the Doctor Who Time Trips series of novellas. The Death Pit is about the Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker or as I grew up in the 70s, "my Doctor". I've not rewatched any of his episodes as an adult so my memories are only those from my childhood and I felt A.L. Kennedy captured the Doctor as I remember him;  eccentric, mysterious and fun but also a little scary. The prose here is simply written, it seems to be more of a children's book than Into the Nowhere; this isn't a criticism, I felt it fits well with the classic Who series', from my memories of it growing up it was a children's programme that some adults watched rather than the family show it's widely accepted to be today.
 The story is set on Earth in 1978 at the Fetch Brothers Golf Spa Hotel where guests are mysteriously disappearing. Then an enigmatic man turns up who may be able to explain why. The Doctor's one off assistant for this adventure, hotel receptionist Bryony Mailer is a well written, appealing character and the strange hotel guest, Ian remained likeable even after we learn more about the reason for his being there. The antagonists too are pleasingly dark. So in all it was a story I was enjoying...until I reached the conclusion which left me terribly disappointed. After an intriguing build up it was all over too quickly which is probably a drawback of the novella format. Whilst the main mystery was solved there were other loose ends that I just didn't feel were satisfactorily explained. In the end whilst I think there was much to enjoy in The Death Trap unfortunately I just felt too let down by the rushed ending to wholeheartedly recommend it as I'd have liked.
Thank you to the author and publishers for my free copy from Netgalley in return for my honest review.

The Death Pit is published by Random House UK

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