review by Maryom
1814 - another killer is on the loose in London. This time the victims are all members of a group of privileged young men whose main aim in life is the pursuit of pleasure in all its forms. The victims are found behind closed doors, with no signs of forced entry, all left wearing a satyr's mask. A classic closed-doors mystery? Not really, for, as usual when Charles Horton finds himself involved, the signs point to a more supernatural force.
This time Horton is on his own as John Harriott is indisposed. Sent by Magistrate Aaron Graham to Thorpe Lee House in Surrey, Horton at first finds himself investigating an outbreak of witchcraft, then getting pulled in to the spate of murders in London.
Horton's wife Abigail is indisposed too - the events of The Poisoned Island have left her disturbed in her mind. To seek a cure, she commits herself to a madhouse. Soon, perhaps inevitably, Horton's investigations and the series of deaths begin to point in the direction of one of Abigail's fellow inmates.
Savage Magic is another wonderful mystery in Lloyd Shepherd's signature mix of history and supernatural.
While I didn't find it quite as enthralling as Horton and Harriott's last outing in The Poisoned Island
I did still enjoy it. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader enthralled; though there are equally occasions when the reader, having a better overview of events, knows more than Horton ( I really wanted someone to prod him in the right direction at times).
Although she was always independent for the time, definitely not a shrinking violet hiding from the seamier side of life, I very much like that Abigail has a larger part to play in events. And,who knows, maybe in future she'll be even more involved with her husband's cases.
Maryom's review - 4.5 stars
Publisher - Simon & Schuster
Genre - adult, crime, historical fiction, supernatural
other reviews; Curiosity Killed the Bookworm ,
For Winter Nights