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When Dr. Adam Bascom trips over a body in Gressington churchyard, he never imagines it will change the whole direction of his life. As a recently-qualified physician trying to establish a practice in a small market town in north Norfolk, Adam should be devoting all his energy to his business. But it soon becomes clear that the authorities are intent on making sure the deat When Dr. Adam Bascom trips over a body in Gressington churchyard, he never imagines it will change the whole direction of his life. As a recently-qualified physician trying to establish a practice in a small market town in north Norfolk, Adam should be devoting all his energy to his business. But it soon becomes clear that the authorities are intent on making sure the death is accepted as an accident and refuse any deeper investigation. Adam’s curiosity and sense of justice cannot accept this. He knows there are many unanswered questions about the death, but he has no standing that would allow him to become involved formally. Instead, he uses friends, old and new, unexpected contacts and even his own mother to help him get to the truth.  Set against the turbulence of late-Georgian England, a country on the brink of war with Revolutionary France, the book reveals a land where spies keep constant watch on everyone the government deems ‘undesirable’, religion is polarised between the established church and a mass of dissenting sects, and the perennial ‘Irish question’ has at last spilled over into outright terrorism. Bad weather, poor harvests and enclosure have driven many people in the countryside into abject poverty. Only the smugglers along the coast offer regular and highly-paid ‘work’ helping to unload contraband. Yet here too, the Revenue’s Riding Officers, backed up by troops of dragoons, are waging an increasingly successful campaign to stamp out the major gangs.  Adam must thread his way through all of this, encountering many new demands along the way, from a family torn apart by religious bigotry, and a teenage thief turned informer, to a secret section of The Alien Office, a government department dedicated to keeping a close eye on anyone likely to prove a threat to the realm. As he becomes more and more essential to the government’s efforts to combat internal dissension and prepare for war, Adam finds he must draw on all his medical and personal skills to bring the case to a successful conclusion.


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When Dr. Adam Bascom trips over a body in Gressington churchyard, he never imagines it will change the whole direction of his life. As a recently-qualified physician trying to establish a practice in a small market town in north Norfolk, Adam should be devoting all his energy to his business. But it soon becomes clear that the authorities are intent on making sure the deat When Dr. Adam Bascom trips over a body in Gressington churchyard, he never imagines it will change the whole direction of his life. As a recently-qualified physician trying to establish a practice in a small market town in north Norfolk, Adam should be devoting all his energy to his business. But it soon becomes clear that the authorities are intent on making sure the death is accepted as an accident and refuse any deeper investigation. Adam’s curiosity and sense of justice cannot accept this. He knows there are many unanswered questions about the death, but he has no standing that would allow him to become involved formally. Instead, he uses friends, old and new, unexpected contacts and even his own mother to help him get to the truth.  Set against the turbulence of late-Georgian England, a country on the brink of war with Revolutionary France, the book reveals a land where spies keep constant watch on everyone the government deems ‘undesirable’, religion is polarised between the established church and a mass of dissenting sects, and the perennial ‘Irish question’ has at last spilled over into outright terrorism. Bad weather, poor harvests and enclosure have driven many people in the countryside into abject poverty. Only the smugglers along the coast offer regular and highly-paid ‘work’ helping to unload contraband. Yet here too, the Revenue’s Riding Officers, backed up by troops of dragoons, are waging an increasingly successful campaign to stamp out the major gangs.  Adam must thread his way through all of this, encountering many new demands along the way, from a family torn apart by religious bigotry, and a teenage thief turned informer, to a secret section of The Alien Office, a government department dedicated to keeping a close eye on anyone likely to prove a threat to the realm. As he becomes more and more essential to the government’s efforts to combat internal dissension and prepare for war, Adam finds he must draw on all his medical and personal skills to bring the case to a successful conclusion.

30 review for An Unlamented Death

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    Tickle me delighted. I do so many daily searches for books that have the potential to satisfy me on various levels. I enjoy historical fiction before contemporary and have read many books in that category. This Georgian Norfolk series by William Savage neatly fills a gap. The center of action is in the less populated countryside where divisions of social hierarchy are muted in comparison to London in the 1700's. It is my understanding that the second book of the series goes back a few decades fr Tickle me delighted. I do so many daily searches for books that have the potential to satisfy me on various levels. I enjoy historical fiction before contemporary and have read many books in that category. This Georgian Norfolk series by William Savage neatly fills a gap. The center of action is in the less populated countryside where divisions of social hierarchy are muted in comparison to London in the 1700's. It is my understanding that the second book of the series goes back a few decades from this first and centers on differing characters so I hope to skip up to the third book so I can continue spending time with Dr. Adam Bascom, his family, friends and patients. I think we left him off at about 1792 or so. Only then am I willing to try a different set of characters, Mr. Savage. The prose is crafted perfectly for the main characters and their positions in life. Real people are depicted, human nature revealed, religious controversies addressed, the area's smuggling acknowledged and genuine compassion on the part of the doctor, our "man of science" brave enough to question religious bigotry is a thread I look forward to following. Dr. Bascom is put to good work by a man from Whitehall and the promise of more of this action is anticipated with relish.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lexie Conyngham

    I'd like to give this something around 3.5, really. So unlamented is the death in question, that of a hardliner clergyman, that it is only at first the character of the leading man that carries any interest in the story forward. The writing is very much fitted to the period which sometimes lends significant atmosphere and sometimes feels unnecessarily laboured and heavy going, and long first person accounts or ‘flashbacks’ are disorientating. When someone from ‘government’ comes to ask for the l I'd like to give this something around 3.5, really. So unlamented is the death in question, that of a hardliner clergyman, that it is only at first the character of the leading man that carries any interest in the story forward. The writing is very much fitted to the period which sometimes lends significant atmosphere and sometimes feels unnecessarily laboured and heavy going, and long first person accounts or ‘flashbacks’ are disorientating. When someone from ‘government’ comes to ask for the leading character’s help, I found it a bit unconvincing based on what he had achieved to that point: indeed, the ongoing relationship between the leading character and this government official is to me unconvincing. The period setting is very good and the people are eventually interesting: one little gripe which is easily fixed is that the chapter headings look very 1970s, not 1790s, and tend to knock out one’s suspension of disbelief each time! Slightly clumsily handled romantic thread.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette Ford

    Hard to know what to say about this book. Did I like it? Yes, I did like it, it was different to other crime novels I've read. I was relieved that there was only one mysterious death; so many crime novels of today are simply littered with corpses, horribly mutilated and otherwise quite sickening and filled with terrifying tensions of the investigator being in danger or the investigator having to have a race against time to prevent a further attack on someone. No, there was nothing like that. In Hard to know what to say about this book. Did I like it? Yes, I did like it, it was different to other crime novels I've read. I was relieved that there was only one mysterious death; so many crime novels of today are simply littered with corpses, horribly mutilated and otherwise quite sickening and filled with terrifying tensions of the investigator being in danger or the investigator having to have a race against time to prevent a further attack on someone. No, there was nothing like that. In many ways, the story was quite gentle; the investigations done more by reasoning than any other way. I liked it because it's set in the area of Norfolk that I grew up in, thereby familiar with the places mentioned (indeed, my first job was amongst the dusty tomes of Aylsham's equivalent to 'Matthew and Son', albeit a couple of centuries after this story is set.) I found the account of smuggling off the coast in 'my' area quite intriguing, as that's something I've never thought of going on there. It gave me a whole different picture of my home country. Dr Adam Bascom is an interesting character to follow and I found each character in the book has been painted beautifully along with their settings, so that I was able to visualise every one and felt I knew each one. I liked the way life in those days was portrayed; obviously the author has excellent knowledge. Having said what I liked, there are just a couple of things that I struggled with. I felt it was long-winded; many conversations chewed over details that the reader is already well aware of; I felt some of it could have been cut down or simply 'they discussed their findings to date'. My own editor will never let me get away with repeating information the reader already has (sometimes to my annoyance!) I found myself skipping over some of the longer parts of investigations and musings because of that and in no way did it ultimately prevent me following the story properly. I felt the book could well have been shorter; indeed, just when I thought it must surely be done, I found there was still some thirty percent plus still to read. But for all that, it was still an enjoyable read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte

    I should have reviewed this book weeks ago, but I enjoyed it so much I couldn’t resist reading the next Dr Adam Bascom, and then just one more Dr Adam Bascom etc. Bascom — neither rake nor Romeo, not particularly brave, and a poor horseman — isn’t your usual hero. Being a physician doesn’t set his soul alight, but he practises his profession conscientiously, and knows it’s the only way he’ll keep a roof over his head and food on the table. Sure enough, when he indulges in a rare early-morning wal I should have reviewed this book weeks ago, but I enjoyed it so much I couldn’t resist reading the next Dr Adam Bascom, and then just one more Dr Adam Bascom etc. Bascom — neither rake nor Romeo, not particularly brave, and a poor horseman — isn’t your usual hero. Being a physician doesn’t set his soul alight, but he practises his profession conscientiously, and knows it’s the only way he’ll keep a roof over his head and food on the table. Sure enough, when he indulges in a rare early-morning walk in search of spring flowers, there are consequences. And this being late-eighteenth-century north Norfolk, they play out in topography that is as discreet and scary as it is beautiful, formed for diverse and intertwined clandestine activities. This is an engaging mystery that keeps you reading far too late into the night, its darker moments balanced by affectionately drawn supporting characters. They follow Bascom through the series, by the end of which he has created north Norfolk’s answer to Midsomer and St Mary Mead, but each mystery is a stand-alone novel.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Virginia Tican

    I discovered this gem while trawling for historical fiction mysteries on the web. Adam Bascom, bachelor second son and newly~minted doctor stumbled on the body of a well~dressed man who could not have been the victim of a robbery as his valuables were still on him and there were no signs of struggle as our curious doctor surmised. It turned out that the dead man was the sanctimonious pompous and obnoxious Archdeacon of Norwich but what was he doing there on the remote church graveyard of Gressin I discovered this gem while trawling for historical fiction mysteries on the web. Adam Bascom, bachelor second son and newly~minted doctor stumbled on the body of a well~dressed man who could not have been the victim of a robbery as his valuables were still on him and there were no signs of struggle as our curious doctor surmised. It turned out that the dead man was the sanctimonious pompous and obnoxious Archdeacon of Norwich but what was he doing there on the remote church graveyard of Gressington?... Where was his horse?... or his carriage? so Adam asked during the inquest and he was shut down and the verdict was accidental death. The plot thickens and more people were sucked into the web of mystery and unanswered questions that Adam could not just let go of. The author has created a very endearing, real and relatable character in Dr. Adam Bascom. His mother's letter to him was the perfect ending ~ with chuckles and guffaws...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    Slow but good The plot and pacing are a bit too slow. But the characters are engaging and I look forward to reading the next book. Adam's personality is very similar to that of Foxe in his other series, but fortunately Adam doesn't run around trying to get low income women pregnant. Slow but good The plot and pacing are a bit too slow. But the characters are engaging and I look forward to reading the next book. Adam's personality is very similar to that of Foxe in his other series, but fortunately Adam doesn't run around trying to get low income women pregnant.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Nat

    Not a very good start to this series. The plot just really didnt interest me and i found the ending was very anti-climactic and seemed to fizzle out. However the characters were interesting enough that i will give the second book a go at some point.

  8. 4 out of 5

    ALISON A O BRIEN

    Interesting characters, good story Dr. Bascom is an interesting main character. The other characters are also of interest, although there are few female characters. Hopefully subsequent books will feature more women.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    This is #1 and now I'm reading #5. Each one is better and that says a lot. I like the characters, the history, and the story lines. Highly recommend! This is #1 and now I'm reading #5. Each one is better and that says a lot. I like the characters, the history, and the story lines. Highly recommend!

  10. 5 out of 5

    JJ

    A young doctor comes across a body in a churchyard. Things meander on from then. He is not one of those characters who decides he must immediately discover the cause and culprit. For quite a while he basically ignores it. It is only on talking things over with acquaintances that it slowly begins to trouble him. I found it a little long winded especially at the end when many scenarios are presented. His sudden elevation to spy and confidante to a 'government spymaster' was a little too contrived. T A young doctor comes across a body in a churchyard. Things meander on from then. He is not one of those characters who decides he must immediately discover the cause and culprit. For quite a while he basically ignores it. It is only on talking things over with acquaintances that it slowly begins to trouble him. I found it a little long winded especially at the end when many scenarios are presented. His sudden elevation to spy and confidante to a 'government spymaster' was a little too contrived. The use of the old-fashioned way of speaking and behaving with guests was a nice touch but on long speeches got a wee bit tiring. But, can one complain about that really, when Americanisms or modern slang creeping into British historical mysteries are even more annoying. An average read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    N.A. Granger

    Book Review: An Unlamented Death by William Savage When newly-fledged physician Dr. Adam Bascom discovers a body in a churchyard, he has no clue that discovering how the body came to be there and why the man had been killed will consume large parts of his life for the next few months. Thus opens An Unlamented Death, William Savage’s first historical novel. Set against the background of Georgian and Regency Norfolk during the time of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, the history of thi Book Review: An Unlamented Death by William Savage When newly-fledged physician Dr. Adam Bascom discovers a body in a churchyard, he has no clue that discovering how the body came to be there and why the man had been killed will consume large parts of his life for the next few months. Thus opens An Unlamented Death, William Savage’s first historical novel. Set against the background of Georgian and Regency Norfolk during the time of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, the history of this tale focuses on the daily life of the people involved, their mores and discourse. This is what captured my interest. It is also written in the style of the time – think Jane Austen, Walter Scott, Mary Shelley – and it took a few chapters to get used to it, before I could submerge myself in the story. Once there, the rest of the book was good ride in the reality of the time. The richness and depth of the historical detail is amazing, and all of the characters are exceptionally well-drawn and interesting. As a medical professional, I especially liked the description of Bascom’s practice and that of his friend, Lassimer, an apothecary and a ladies’ man who serves as Bascom’s sounding board. I don’t want to give the mystery away but will tell you the body in the churchyard is that of an ultraconservative cleric, Reverend William Ross, a whose bombast and judgmental personality has alienated all who know him, including his own son. Why he would have been in the isolated churchyard, in an area known for smuggling of both goods and radical revolutionaries, is unknown. When his death is ruled accidental and quickly and unseemingly put to rest, Bascom begins to worry at the decision, like a kitten with a ball of yarn. Unraveling the ball introduces us to the colorful Captain George Mimms, once of the Royal Navy, then a merchantman, and now retired, and Adam’s widowed mother and her circle of widowed but highly fashionable lady friends, who very much appreciate a good-looking, single doctor. His mother is not beyond a machination of her own, hiring the charming, intelligent, and lovely Sophia LaSalle as her companion, with the unstated hope her unmarried son will become interested. Woven expertly into story is an introduction to the social structure, polite and impolite society, religious prejudices, criminals, and civil and religious corruption of that area of England in the time. The only minor complaint I have about An Unlamented Death is its slowness in coming to the crime’s solution. As a mystery writer, I prefer things to move along at a good pace, but perhaps this is just a reflection of the time in which this mystery is set. I award the book five stars, but a caveat : its main appeal with be to readers who appreciate history, rich detail and absorbing characters, written in period style. I look forward to reading Mr. Savage’s next book in this series, The Fabric of Murder, also set in Norfolk.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Lloyd

    Entering into An Unlamented Death is like stepping into an 18th century drawing room. The environment is civilised and calm and its hero Adam Bascom uses his intelligence and deductive powers to solve the mystery of, “An Inconvenient Corpse.” A young, country doctor, Adam is establishing himself as a respectable and trustworthy member of the community in Aylsham, Norfolk. As he travels the county visiting patients and family, he soon makes some good friends. But one day, he is shocked to discove Entering into An Unlamented Death is like stepping into an 18th century drawing room. The environment is civilised and calm and its hero Adam Bascom uses his intelligence and deductive powers to solve the mystery of, “An Inconvenient Corpse.” A young, country doctor, Adam is establishing himself as a respectable and trustworthy member of the community in Aylsham, Norfolk. As he travels the county visiting patients and family, he soon makes some good friends. But one day, he is shocked to discover the body of a clergyman lying in a churchyard in suspicious circumstances. Strangely, at the inquest, the authorities seem anxious to stress that it was a case of accidental death. Adam cannot understand why the victim, Dr. Nathaniel Ross, Archdeacon of Norwich, was so far from home. Rumours circulate of smugglers in the area and Adam is warned not to pursue his enquiries. The delight of this book is the characterisation. Sober Adam is contrasted with his erstwhile friend, apothecary Peter Lassimer, a womaniser and gossip. When Adam visits his sociable mother, she introduces him to her elegant, blue-stocking companion, Sophia LaSalle. Meanwhile on his travels, Adam has struck up a friendship with Captain George Mimms, a retired seafarer who keeps his ear to the ground and aids Adam with his investigation. Though slow in pace, the novel is lightened by the author’s sense of humour. When Adam is called to his mother’s parlour to meet her female friends he feels like, “one of the early Christian martyrs being summoned to face the lions in the arena.” The historical details of the story are impeccable and we learn much of the concerns in coastal areas about the French, following the Revolution and leading up to the Napoleonic war. At times the social history can be too lengthy such as the theatrical interlude in the Feathers Inn Yard, when I was anxious to discover the next event. It is possible that some readers might find the authentic eighteenth century style of reading difficult to attune too, but I found it a pleasure. I could imagine myself walking in the country towns of Norfolk alongside the inquisitive doctor. Adam Bascom is a likeable detective, even if you sometimes feel you want to shake him, and I look forward to reading about his next adventure in The Fabric of Murder.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Judith Barrow

    I was intrigued by the title and subtitle of the book by William Savage: An Unlamented Death: A Mystery Set in Georgian England (Mysteries of Georgian Norfolk Book 1). It’s been a long time since I read a novel set in Georgian England and I do like a good murder mystery. I'm normally a slow reader but this book took me a long time to read because of the density of the language. The expressive prose reveals the many traits of the well-rounded characters that exist within the confines of the setti I was intrigued by the title and subtitle of the book by William Savage: An Unlamented Death: A Mystery Set in Georgian England (Mysteries of Georgian Norfolk Book 1). It’s been a long time since I read a novel set in Georgian England and I do like a good murder mystery. I'm normally a slow reader but this book took me a long time to read because of the density of the language. The expressive prose reveals the many traits of the well-rounded characters that exist within the confines of the setting. The setting, a Norfolk village on the coast is the perfect place for a murder mystery, political corruption, robbery and smuggling. And throughout the book the social, religious and political constraints and divides of the eighteenth century are subtly shown as the plot is revealed. The dialogue, with the long sentences and clauses, is representative of its time and social etiquette. It’s obvious that the author has researched well. Told from a single point of view omniscient narrator the reader follows the thought processes and actions of the protagonist, Adam, a young doctor building up his list of patients. I liked the way this character is slowly brought to life for the reader. If I had any problem with this novel it was, oddly enough, with that which I most admired; the prose. Almost all the story is told through dialogue, both externally and internal. Sometimes it borders on telling rather than showing, and sometimes is a little too drawn out, with minimal action. But, as I've already said, William Savage has a wonderful writing style; perfect for this genre. Overall I enjoyed An Unlamented Death and would recommend it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Diane Challenor

    Great storytelling! I love a good story with a visual impact. I don't need car chases and graphic-anything, I just want to sit spell bound as the story unfolds; this story keeps you turning the page, gently. I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series. I loved its pace, its characters, its delivery of observations and revelations, with a little wisdom sprinkled here and there. The period it covers, the 1700s through to the 1800s in Britain, is one that has interested me for years, beca Great storytelling! I love a good story with a visual impact. I don't need car chases and graphic-anything, I just want to sit spell bound as the story unfolds; this story keeps you turning the page, gently. I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series. I loved its pace, its characters, its delivery of observations and revelations, with a little wisdom sprinkled here and there. The period it covers, the 1700s through to the 1800s in Britain, is one that has interested me for years, because of the "enlightened" view emerging from the blight of ignorance and suppression. Set in Britain's Norfolk, the story has an atmosphere that enabled me to feel placed there, feel the weather, smell the smells, enjoy the warmth of the hearth, which is so important when absorbing the story.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Enjoyable crime mystery I can't claim this is a ground breaking crime novel, but it is a solid foray into Georgian crime writing and has a likeable protagonist and well drawn supporting characters. I haven't read many novels set in north Norfolk. I often go on holiday there and some of the places and rivers are familiar to me. Enjoyable crime mystery I can't claim this is a ground breaking crime novel, but it is a solid foray into Georgian crime writing and has a likeable protagonist and well drawn supporting characters. I haven't read many novels set in north Norfolk. I often go on holiday there and some of the places and rivers are familiar to me.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Becks

  17. 4 out of 5

    susan cash

  18. 5 out of 5

    Helen J Montgomery

  19. 4 out of 5

    Janet Pletcher

  20. 5 out of 5

    John Sutton

  21. 5 out of 5

    MR J TURNER

  22. 4 out of 5

    christinelymer

  23. 5 out of 5

    Y Whiteoak

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kate Howe

  25. 5 out of 5

    Genevieve Gebhardt

  26. 4 out of 5

    B M Arnold

  27. 4 out of 5

    jack sloss

  28. 5 out of 5

    Patrick J Granigan

  29. 5 out of 5

    Missmary72

  30. 4 out of 5

    Quinten A Buechner

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