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Rough Music

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Titus Cragg and his friend Luke Fidelis investigate macabre goings-on in a remote Lancashire village in this intriguing 18th century mystery. It's the sweltering summer of 1744 and when an epidemic disease threatens the town, coroner Titus Cragg retires with his wife and baby son to a remote village in East Lancashire, where he hopes his family will enjoy the healthy a Titus Cragg and his friend Luke Fidelis investigate macabre goings-on in a remote Lancashire village in this intriguing 18th century mystery. It's the sweltering summer of 1744 and when an epidemic disease threatens the town, coroner Titus Cragg retires with his wife and baby son to a remote village in East Lancashire, where he hopes his family will enjoy the healthy and tranquil air. But Cragg finds the rural atmosphere anything but peaceful when he's called upon to investigate the horrific death of a local woman who has fallen victim to a cruel community punishment. Assisted by his friend Dr Luke Fidelis, Cragg begins to probe the village's prejudices and simmering hatreds, as he untangles cross-currents of suspicion, rivalry and rural customs which are very different from the ways he knows in the town. Then another local woman disappears, and events take a disturbing new twist ...


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Titus Cragg and his friend Luke Fidelis investigate macabre goings-on in a remote Lancashire village in this intriguing 18th century mystery. It's the sweltering summer of 1744 and when an epidemic disease threatens the town, coroner Titus Cragg retires with his wife and baby son to a remote village in East Lancashire, where he hopes his family will enjoy the healthy a Titus Cragg and his friend Luke Fidelis investigate macabre goings-on in a remote Lancashire village in this intriguing 18th century mystery. It's the sweltering summer of 1744 and when an epidemic disease threatens the town, coroner Titus Cragg retires with his wife and baby son to a remote village in East Lancashire, where he hopes his family will enjoy the healthy and tranquil air. But Cragg finds the rural atmosphere anything but peaceful when he's called upon to investigate the horrific death of a local woman who has fallen victim to a cruel community punishment. Assisted by his friend Dr Luke Fidelis, Cragg begins to probe the village's prejudices and simmering hatreds, as he untangles cross-currents of suspicion, rivalry and rural customs which are very different from the ways he knows in the town. Then another local woman disappears, and events take a disturbing new twist ...

30 review for Rough Music

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    There are 7 books in this wonderful series, so I have two more to look forward to. Cragg the Coroner and wife Elizabeth are deeply worried about a spreading contagion that leads to paralysis and wish to protect their baby son Hector by removing to a town some distance from Preston. Luke, their doctor friend, knows of a Dower house available in a small town and it is there they soon land just on the heels of an outrageous act that leads to murder of a town woman. Cragg will have an abundance of w There are 7 books in this wonderful series, so I have two more to look forward to. Cragg the Coroner and wife Elizabeth are deeply worried about a spreading contagion that leads to paralysis and wish to protect their baby son Hector by removing to a town some distance from Preston. Luke, their doctor friend, knows of a Dower house available in a small town and it is there they soon land just on the heels of an outrageous act that leads to murder of a town woman. Cragg will have an abundance of work in this town as Coroner. It is a fascinating snapshot of 1744 England and a very engaging story.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Judy Lesley

    Thank you to NetGalley and Severn House Publishing for an e-Galley of this novel. Robin Blake is a new author for me and this book took a little while to fully engage my interest but I ended up enjoying it. This story takes place in June 1744 and Titus and Elizabeth Cragg go a little off the rails when they hear there might be a chance of a paralyzing fever spreading from a nearby village. Nothing would do but they must leave Preston and go to a smaller more isolated village about twenty miles aw Thank you to NetGalley and Severn House Publishing for an e-Galley of this novel. Robin Blake is a new author for me and this book took a little while to fully engage my interest but I ended up enjoying it. This story takes place in June 1744 and Titus and Elizabeth Cragg go a little off the rails when they hear there might be a chance of a paralyzing fever spreading from a nearby village. Nothing would do but they must leave Preston and go to a smaller more isolated village about twenty miles away to keep baby Hector safe from contagion. So off they go to quiet, sleepy Accrington which doesn't stay that way long once the coroner and his family are installed in the Dower House. The structure of this plot was interesting because new elements kept being introduced into the story throughout most of the book. Observing the methods Titus Cragg used in investigating deaths in his position of coroner of the county was informative concerning the laws and processes of investigating deaths during this time period. Providing Titus with a medical man, Luke Fidelis, as his friend provided the necessary information regarding cause of death and any factors relevant to the physical wellbeing of a victim prior to their death. The two men are very close friends but different in their temperament so they balance each other in the story. This is the fifth novel in the Cragg and Fidelis series and I am interested in finding the first book to see how this pairing of men came together so they could investigate crimes together. Even though this is not the first book in the series I had no problem feeling completely at ease with the relationships of the characters to one another.

  3. 5 out of 5

    eyes.2c

    Intriguing Georgian mystery! Titus Gragg determines that he and his family will flee the miasma of a sweltering 1744 summer and the threat of disease by taking a house in a small village in East Lancashire. What he walks into is a murder inquiry. A shrewish wife has recently died from the practice of stanging. And with that the idiosyncrasies and customs of a remote rural hamlet left to its own devices soon becomes apparent. The opening is a damning comment on the spread of gossip and of speculatio Intriguing Georgian mystery! Titus Gragg determines that he and his family will flee the miasma of a sweltering 1744 summer and the threat of disease by taking a house in a small village in East Lancashire. What he walks into is a murder inquiry. A shrewish wife has recently died from the practice of stanging. And with that the idiosyncrasies and customs of a remote rural hamlet left to its own devices soon becomes apparent. The opening is a damning comment on the spread of gossip and of speculation growing into disturbing action. I was immediately struck by it. "At the beginning there were just three conspirators, but like a wine spill on a tablecloth the disturbance spread and soon most of the village had caught the stain." A brilliant introduction! All in all, an unusual story that has a distinctive writing style which continued to lure me in. I found myself becoming more readily involved with the inner views of Titus as tension intriguingly grows under his careful insights. As the death of the woman is focused on, other players are introduced. What I also came to realize was the particularly painstaking methodology of Titus, his sense of responsibility to his calling, and to his fellow citizens. Into this cameo of medieval like village life, comes Titus's doctor friend Luke Fidelis, who immediately sets about helping out with his friend the coroner's inquest. Along the way we meet several interesting village members. There's the two major land holders in the area who are at odds over a bee swarm amongst other matters. (The analogies of the bees as a metaphor for human interactions is a fascinating inclusion throughout the story). The violin player Blind Billy whose capering and music hijinks appears to egg on the mob mentality that infuses the villagers when they are in the throes of high running emotions (and alcohol). That all this is fueled by gossip, prejudice and speculation is disturbing. An ex-soldier, Harry Hawk, returned from the French Wars with terrible facial scaring becomes the scapegoat. Is he innocent or guilty? It is truly ironic that Titus' initial decision to take his family to safety actually exposed them to a different set of dangers in this closed, suspicious community. This was a very peculiar and mesmerizing tale that has marvelous Chaucerian elements and a satisfying resolution. A NetGalley ARC

  4. 5 out of 5

    Gretchen

    I really hope there are future books planned. I learn something new with every addition to the series. This time, I learned much more about beekeeping than I could ever plan on using. While this was another excellent addition to the series, it wasn't without its faults. The original "mystery" we see Cragg investigated seems to get pushed to the side for a more interesting one (or two). It wasn't an overly complicated plot. (view spoiler)[ Two of the murders had rather obvious solutions. The thir I really hope there are future books planned. I learn something new with every addition to the series. This time, I learned much more about beekeeping than I could ever plan on using. While this was another excellent addition to the series, it wasn't without its faults. The original "mystery" we see Cragg investigated seems to get pushed to the side for a more interesting one (or two). It wasn't an overly complicated plot. (view spoiler)[ Two of the murders had rather obvious solutions. The third? That was just a tad more unbelievable than I can handle. (hide spoiler)] It was a quick and entertaining read and like I said, I would gladly welcome more adventures. However, I think it would be wildly entertaining to have one book told from Fidelis' point of view instead of Cragg's. I would love to better understand his train of thought when he randomly leaves a conversation or a room because he's had some sort of epiphany.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    Rough Music, is the latest Craig and Fidelis mystery, of which this is the fifth. This one’s set in 1744. What does a locket from a London founding hospital, a missing husband, a missing wife, and a bull called Old Nob have in common? You’ll have to read Rough Music to find out. All will be revealed, at the end. The book begins with a horrible mob frenzy in which an ancient custom is invoked to put a wife “in her place.” That ends with the wife’s death. And that’s just the prologue. Titus Craig, la Rough Music, is the latest Craig and Fidelis mystery, of which this is the fifth. This one’s set in 1744. What does a locket from a London founding hospital, a missing husband, a missing wife, and a bull called Old Nob have in common? You’ll have to read Rough Music to find out. All will be revealed, at the end. The book begins with a horrible mob frenzy in which an ancient custom is invoked to put a wife “in her place.” That ends with the wife’s death. And that’s just the prologue. Titus Craig, lawyer and coroner, determines to leave his home in Preston because there a danger of illness to his six-month-old son. The furthest away from contagion the better, so the Craigs take a house away from the path of the disease, in a village named Accrington. Bad choice, but they don’t know this yet. Their new landlord is a strange fellow, a bee-keeper who dotes on his bees. Other residents of the town are not as friendly. Mr. Turvey relates what happened to Anne Gargrave just two days before. He asks Titus to act as the coroner in this case, because Anne Gargrave has died from her ill treatment. Titus begins immediately to question the motives of the ringleaders. Were they put up to it, this “willful cruelty,” as Titus calls it? The villagers close ranks. Very unpleasant people all around, and readers will have little sympathy for anyone. The hen-pecked husband and his wife were made to suffer -- but what was the true motive? Here Doctor Luke Fidelis (the other half of the series protagonists) shows up on the Craig doorstep, so he gets to examine the corpse of the unfortunate Mrs. Gargrave. Accrington is a small, dilapidated village, and the inhabitants ain’t friendly. Well, they’ve done something wrong, haven’t they? No one liked her, so she is not missed. They want to call it an unfortunate accident. And unfortunately, the jury agrees, so there will be no justice for Mr. Gargrave there. “To find the cause is not always to find the truth” -- so says Coroner Craig. The cause is everything, it would appear. There is something else in the works here, and the author is adept at revealing and concealing, not allowing the characters to be super-human, but having doubt and uncertainty. Readers will also get an expanse of description of the countryside, and the flora and fauna therein. It’s quite the travelogue, descriptive and adding a personal touch to the fictional narrative. The problem is that it tends to bog things down, and this book does start to slow down through the middle, with tangents and sub-plots taking precedence over what happened at the beginning of the book. One know all this is going to be tied together, but it takes rather a long time to get there. Finally, after much tooing and froing, there’s an end to everything. Perhaps not the one that the reader was looking for, but an end nevertheless. And back the Craigs go to Preston, which will seem tame after their stay in Accrington. And glad they will be of it. Readers should be happy, too. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a copy of the book in advance of publication, in exchange for this review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader. Rough Magic is the newest book in the Cragg & Fidelis historical mystery series by Robin Blake. Due out 1st April 2019 from Severn House, it's 304 pages and will be available in first release in hardback format (presumably also ebook format soon after). Historical mystery is probably my favorite genre, and this one, set in 1744, is a fine example. Coroner Cragg and his wife lease a house in a remote village to avoid an outbreak of polio (called Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader. Rough Magic is the newest book in the Cragg & Fidelis historical mystery series by Robin Blake. Due out 1st April 2019 from Severn House, it's 304 pages and will be available in first release in hardback format (presumably also ebook format soon after). Historical mystery is probably my favorite genre, and this one, set in 1744, is a fine example. Coroner Cragg and his wife lease a house in a remote village to avoid an outbreak of polio (called 'paralysing fever') which threatens their infant son. The trip is anything but a peaceful retreat. Immediately after their arrival, Cragg is called on in his official duty to investigate the accident/murder of an unpopular harridan. The custom of charivari (or rough music) was a form of public shaming which was on the way out in most areas of England in the time period, but this particular 'ride' ended with the woman's death. Dr. Fidelis is soon involved as well and his overdeveloped sense of chivalry gets a workout as there are damsels aplenty. There is so much richness in the period detail in these books. I also appreciated the author's deft touch. The reader isn't clubbed over the head with historical accuracy, it's inserted into the narrative seamlessly. These are well written, well plotted books. While some of the major plot points (no spoilers) are telegraphed fairly clearly, there were enough other twists to keep the narrative interesting and engaging. Really well written and plotted. The other books certainly enhance this one, but it works well as a standalone. Four stars. Highly recommended. Would make a fine mystery book club selection. Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Franca Pelaccia

    It’s 1744 and on the recommendation of his associate Dr. Luke Fidelis, coroner Titus Cragg moves his wife and baby to a remote village in Lancashire in the hopes of avoiding an epidemic. But the village is far from peaceful and welcoming. Cragg is asked to investigate the death of a woman, who was the victim of an old village prank turned deadly. Soon, the prejudices, religious and social intolerances, old rivalries, and the murky past of the villagers come to light and more inexplicable murders It’s 1744 and on the recommendation of his associate Dr. Luke Fidelis, coroner Titus Cragg moves his wife and baby to a remote village in Lancashire in the hopes of avoiding an epidemic. But the village is far from peaceful and welcoming. Cragg is asked to investigate the death of a woman, who was the victim of an old village prank turned deadly. Soon, the prejudices, religious and social intolerances, old rivalries, and the murky past of the villagers come to light and more inexplicable murders and disappearances occur. Rough Music, a Cragg & Fidelis mystery offers sharp insight into remote rural life of eighteenth-century England, where religious prejudices abound, a woman and man’s place are well defined and held accountable, and no one knows who is a friend and who is a foe. Punishments that humiliate and denigrate are carried out by the villagers and fly in the face of Cragg and Fidelis, who try to introduce law and punishment to a community that refuses it. Rough Music kept my interest from the beginning. Even though the conclusion was not what I expected, I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a mystery that adds layers as you read and keeps you guessing to the very end. Reviewed for the Historical Novels Society

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ionia

    Once I got into this book a little ways, I found that I was quite enjoying it. I wasn't thriled with the beginning of it though, feel awful for some of the characters and how they were depicted as being treated. Still now that I am finished, I am highly impressed with this author and his ability to keep the reader in suspense with his unusual plot lines and quirky writing. Sometimes it is hard to see how the author will possibly connect two or more seemingly unrelated things, but he manages it w Once I got into this book a little ways, I found that I was quite enjoying it. I wasn't thriled with the beginning of it though, feel awful for some of the characters and how they were depicted as being treated. Still now that I am finished, I am highly impressed with this author and his ability to keep the reader in suspense with his unusual plot lines and quirky writing. Sometimes it is hard to see how the author will possibly connect two or more seemingly unrelated things, but he manages it with style and keeps the book alluring for those of us who enjoy solving mysteries. There was a decent amount of wry humour in this book and it made me smile and outright laugh on more than one occassion. I would definitely recommend this book to those who enjoy mysteries and those who like authors that think outside the box. This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Anne Szlachcic

    This Author has a knack of bringing the the prejudices, religious and social intolerances to life in this turbulent time of 1744 . Coroner Titus Cragg moves his wife and baby to a remote village in Lancashire in the hopes of avoiding an epidemic .....but the village is far from peaceful ...... he is soon asked to look into the death of a woman killed by a prank ! When more details of the murky past of the villagers come to light and more inexplicable murders and disappearances occur - Titus finds h This Author has a knack of bringing the the prejudices, religious and social intolerances to life in this turbulent time of 1744 . Coroner Titus Cragg moves his wife and baby to a remote village in Lancashire in the hopes of avoiding an epidemic .....but the village is far from peaceful ...... he is soon asked to look into the death of a woman killed by a prank ! When more details of the murky past of the villagers come to light and more inexplicable murders and disappearances occur - Titus finds his investigations become more perilous . With a Community that refuses to abide by the Laws of the time can he along with his friend Dr Luke Fidelis finally solve the mysteries . A book that draws you in with characters that both complex and real this an entertaining Historical Murder Mystery from a great Author

  10. 4 out of 5

    Judith

    I like the series; the three main characters, Titus and Elizabeth Cragg and Luke Fidelis, are interesting and play off one another well, the venue of the mystery is both charming and ominous (another isolated village that has too many people at odds), the problem of religion of the early Georgian period is handled well, and of course the lack of scientific knowledge in any field makes solving the mystery particularly difficult. The opening scene, the punishment of a shrew, gives a good idea of m I like the series; the three main characters, Titus and Elizabeth Cragg and Luke Fidelis, are interesting and play off one another well, the venue of the mystery is both charming and ominous (another isolated village that has too many people at odds), the problem of religion of the early Georgian period is handled well, and of course the lack of scientific knowledge in any field makes solving the mystery particularly difficult. The opening scene, the punishment of a shrew, gives a good idea of mob prejudice and prejudice against women, and the difficult life one would lead if one "stuck out" of the crowd (unless of course one had a lot of money). Intriguing, quick read (=hard to put down) and a good afternoon's amusement on an inclement day. (Will spring never come?)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Emma Goldman

    Another detailed and absorbing account of coroner's duties and investigations in Georgian England, hinging on the identities of three people. Are they who they say they are? And how much of what happens results from anger and jealousy, or religious disputes and distrust? Another detailed and absorbing account of coroner's duties and investigations in Georgian England, hinging on the identities of three people. Are they who they say they are? And how much of what happens results from anger and jealousy, or religious disputes and distrust?

  12. 4 out of 5

    Paganus Kiley

    I thoroughly enjoy the period setting of Robin Blake's stories. Though not a writer nor inclined to proving it in a book review, I can recognize a good mystery, This one was excellent. I look forward to reading the next book in the series. I thoroughly enjoy the period setting of Robin Blake's stories. Though not a writer nor inclined to proving it in a book review, I can recognize a good mystery, This one was excellent. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

    I'm not sure how I got this book, maybe a quick grab from my library's "new books" shelves vs a recommendation? I like the historical setting, I love books about forensics, but the story really never grabbed me. I'm not sure how I got this book, maybe a quick grab from my library's "new books" shelves vs a recommendation? I like the historical setting, I love books about forensics, but the story really never grabbed me.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    3.5 An interesting peak into 18th century life in England.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lester Griel

    Great story with lots of twists and turns.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nicola

    Found a new Duo. Like the two main characters in this book. Like the storyline and the period in history. Good Read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tedd Kónya

    Quick easy and entertaining read. The conclusion of the mystery was a bit underwhelming though.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Gabriele Gregory

    3.5

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    Slightly different location setting, usual plot twists and period details. Country folk rather than the usual dramatis personas portrayed. Interesting and enjoyable storytelling.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Miki

    Mildly interesting, but with no resolution. Instead of ending, it just quits.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rosie Puplett

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty

  23. 4 out of 5

    nikkia neil

  24. 4 out of 5

    R C EDGINGTON

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Oxford

  26. 4 out of 5

    Reader1

  27. 5 out of 5

    Diane Baker

  28. 5 out of 5

    Scott L

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tony Dawber

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

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