Books: Circle of Shadows by Imogen Robertson

This is what? The fourth Crowther and Westerman novel? Though, due to a large cast of characters, there is less of Crowther and Westerman in it.

Harriet's sister Rachel has finally married long-time love and lawyer Daniel Clode, but their honeymoon abroad goes wrong when Daniel is accused of and imprisoned for murder. So Crowther, Harriet, Graves, and Michaels set out for Maulberg to take up Daniel's case.

In a parallel plot line (there are usually two in these books that meet near the climax), the brilliant young Jacob Pegel hits upon university student Florian zu Frenzel and pumps him for information about a secret society.

Robertson has touched on spiritualism in previous novels. Before it was Tarot, here it is alchemy. The difference is one of low and high culture; in this story, Crowther and crew find themselves at court and surrounded by aristocrats, some of whom are dabbling in dark arts.

Circle of Shadows is certainly another solid entry in this series, and the return of Manzerotti is well crafted. He and Pegel could easily have their own novels. The only drawback to this particular book is that Crowther is something of a fringe character here; Harriet carries the brunt of the work, along with Manzerotti and a number of secondary cast members. Perhaps it was felt that the last novel was too much about Crowther, so it was time to tip things the other way. I'm only hoping the next book is a bit more balanced.

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