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The Devil's Ribbon

The Devil's Ribbon

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3.9

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A trail of beribboned murders. A ticking bomb. A city about to explode.July, 1858: London swelters under the oppressive heat of the hottest summer on record, and trouble is brewing. Forensic scientist Professor Adolphus Hatton and his trusty assistant, Albert Roumande, have a morgue full of cholera victims. The dead are all Irish, the poorest of London’s poor.  They came in their thousands ten years ago, forced into the London slums by the terrible famine.  Now they live segregated from the rest of Victorian society, a race apart in this heaving city who are at once everywhere and nowhere. But they are a close knit people, and deeply politicised.  From the docks in Limehouse to the taverns of St Giles, Fenian groups are talking of violence and of liberation. When a series of violent murders threatens to cause tensions to boil over, Scotland Yard calls on Hatton and Roumande to help investigate.  The seemingly unconnected victims, who hail from all strata of society, are linked by the same macabre calling card: a bright Fenian green ribbon placed strategically about their corpses.  While Hatton’s search for clues leads him into the spell of a blindingly beautiful woman, a widow of one of the slain, rumblings of a bombing campaign led by an agitator priest and his gang of would-be terrorists build throughout the slums.  As the orchestra of veiled motives, divided loyalties, and violent retribution reaches a crescendo, Hatton’s skills are tested to the limit.  With Roumande, he must race across London to an island with a shipwreck and a secret on a nail-biting race against time in this gripping, elegantly executed Victorian mystery in the tradition of The Dante Club and The Somnambulist.
A trail of beribboned murders. A ticking bomb. A city about to explode.July, 1858: London swelters under the oppressive heat of the hottest summer on record, and trouble is brewing. Forensic scientist Professor Adolphus Hatton and his trusty assistant, Albert Roumande, have a morgue full of cholera victims. The dead are all Irish, the poorest of London’s poor.  They came in their thousands ten years ago, forced into the London slums by the terrible famine.  Now they live segregated from the rest of Victorian society, a race apart in this heaving city who are at once everywhere and nowhere. But they are a close knit people, and deeply politicised.  From the docks in Limehouse to the taverns of St Giles, Fenian groups are talking of violence and of liberation. When a series of violent murders threatens to cause tensions to boil over, Scotland Yard calls on Hatton and Roumande to help investigate.  The seemingly unconnected victims, who hail from all strata of society, are linked by the same macabre calling card: a bright Fenian green ribbon placed strategically about their corpses.  While Hatton’s search for clues leads him into the spell of a blindingly beautiful woman, a widow of one of the slain, rumblings of a bombing campaign led by an agitator priest and his gang of would-be terrorists build throughout the slums.  As the orchestra of veiled motives, divided loyalties, and violent retribution reaches a crescendo, Hatton’s skills are tested to the limit.  With Roumande, he must race across London to an island with a shipwreck and a secret on a nail-biting race against time in this gripping, elegantly executed Victorian mystery in the tradition of The Dante Club and The Somnambulist.

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Publish date: Oct 25, 2011
Added to Scribd: Sep 16, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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08/21/2013

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T   w  fc. A   cc, gz,        c   ’g    fc.a thomas dunne book or minotaur books.A   . ’ Pg G.the devil’s ribbon. Cg © 0  . . . A g. P   U   Ac. F , . ’ P, 7 F A, Nw Y, N.Y. 000. www..c  www..c IN 7-0--7-0 F : N 00   7   4   
 
“The skin is cold and oten damp, the tongue fabby and chilled like a piece o dead meat. The patient speaks in a plaintive whisper, tosses incessantly rom side to side and complains o intolerable weight or anguish. He struggles orbreath, points out the seat o his agony. I blood is obtained at this point, it is black, oozes like jelly, drop by drop. Toward the close, the patient becomes insensible and with a rattle inthe throat, dies quietly ater a long convulsive sob.”
A w    g,   cc   ,  P c   g     w- -c j, g w wc       c,     w’    cgg, c   .
He was pale, when his sister Lucy had taken his hand. “You did everything you could, Adolphus.”
St. Bart’s HospitalSmithieldJuly 9, 1858

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writestuff_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Adolphus Hatton and his enthusiastic sidekick, Albert Roumande, are on the cutting edge of forensic science, working long hours in the morgue where poor Irish cholera victims arrive daily. When a well-known Irish political moderate shows up in the morgue brutally poisoned with a green ribbon stuffed in his mouth, Hatton and Roumande are eager to solve the case. But the bodies keep piling up – violent murders which are connected by more than the emerald ribbons found with their bodies. A tragic bombing on the anniversary of the Siege of Drogheda seems to point toward a terrorist priest and a group called the Ribbonmen. And then there is Inspector Jeremiah Gray who Hatton suspects of planting and hiding evidence and who seems to have ties to the first murder. Meanwhile Hatton tries not to be distracted by a beautiful Irish widow while he struggles to piece together the clues to solve the case.Set in London in 1858 during a cholera epidemic, The Devil’s Ribbon is author D.E. Meredith’s second book in the Hatton and Roumande mystery series. The story centers around the difficulties between the Irish and the English with a focus on the Great Famine in Ireland when approximately 1 million Irish nationals died and a million more emigrated from Ireland between 1845 and 1852. This event was a watershed moment in the history of Ireland…and to this day there are debates as to whether or not the British government’s response to the crisis was an act of genocide. Meredith uses this historical event as a major backdrop to her novel…and it is fascinating.The Devil’s Ribbon has a wonderful cast of characters whose dialogue rings true. Hatton and Roumande are a bit eccentric and definitely obsessive in their search for clues. I found the medical history part of the book fantastic. Forensic science was a relatively new way to solve crime in the nineteenth century. Fingerprinting was something that began to be developed as a way to link individuals to criminal activity in the 1880s – and Meredith brings this science into her novel as Hatton and Roumande struggle to lift prints from the crime scenes.Investigator Gray is unlikable, but oddly compelling as a character – addicted to morphine, cruel in his treatment of suspects, and shadowed by a hulking Italian who does his every bidding, Gray intrigued me.What seems to be a simple plot in the book becomes twisty at the end so that I read the last 75 pages without a break just to see how it would all turn out. Meredith also does an admirable job at recreating the mean streets of London, including dockside strikes, rampant drug use, and the squalor of the poorest of the poor.I read this book quickly. It held my interest from the opening page until the end. Readers concerned about reading this book before the first book in the series (Devoured) need not worry – The Devil’s Ribbon can be read easily as a stand alone novel. The book is a good mix of historical fiction and dark mystery. Readers who enjoy both those genres will find this a satisfying read.Recommended.
cathyskye reviewed this
Rated 4/5
First Line: Nothing but shadows and an eerie stillness in the heat of a simmering night as a figure stoops under a lintel and makes his way quickly, through a labyrinth of alleys, before finding Berry Street and heading north along the Farringdon Road.It is July, 1858, and Londoners are suffering through the hottest summer on record. Forensic scientist Adolphus Hatton and his assistant Albert Roumande have a morgue filled with Irish cholera victims. A decade ago these people were forced into the worst of London's slums because of the horrific famine. The Irish in London may be a race apart, but they are a close knit people and very politically aware.A series of seemingly unconnected murders occur in which all the victims are linked by a Fenian green ribbon that's left on the corpses. Hatton and Roumande are called in to help with Scotland Yard's investigation, and Hatton finds himself attracted to the beautiful widow of one of the murder victims. As agitators work the streets and the body count rises, Hatton and Roumande must race to find answers before London is torn apart.I'm happy to say that I found this book to be a vast improvement over the first book in the series, Devoured. The plot is much clearer and the pacing much smoother. There is also more forensic detail in this book, which was so lacking in the first. Meredith includes many details of what the Irish had to endure during the Famine, both in Ireland and in London, and it adds great depth to the story.Adolphus Hatton is given a past in this book, and he becomes a much better defined character, even though much of this is done through the convention of falling in love with the widow of one of the victims. Hopefully we'll see more of the very interesting Albert Roumande's backstory in future books as well.The only real letdown in the book is that the killer was extremely easy to guess. I don't know if the author intended to do this in an attempt to lead readers astray with another character, but it wasn't successful.All in all, I'm glad that I decided to overlook the disappointment I found in the first book and to focus on the promise that was there. In The Devil's Ribbon, I see the real beginning of a very promising historical mystery series.
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