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Mystery / Crime
Sam Plank Mysteries Book #4
Portraits of Pretence is the fourth in a series of novels about Samuel Plank, a Constable in the service of Magistrate Conant. In this adventure, a French artist is found dead in his rooms clutching a miniature portrait of a young girl. As the investigation continues, Sam and his trusty junior Constable, William Wilson, find themselves embroiled in forgery and fraud, smuggling and a secret group that threatens the fabric of Regency Society.
I enjoyed this very much – the writing is good and the characters well defined. The plot moves along nicely and plausibly. I was also impressed that the crime was not solved in a matter of days, as is so often the case, but over the course of a few months, which is a much more realistic timeline and I applaud the author for that.
Sam Plank is a recognisable character, logical and methodical, encouraging to his protégée and clearly in love with his wife, Martha. He is amiable too – and perhaps if I was to criticise anything it would be that he is perhaps too amiable.
There were a couple of loose ends although the probable outcome was clearly hinted at and the reader must assume that those hints did, indeed come to fruition – though I really would have liked to have known the fate of the former highwayman! (Although as this is a series I wonder if those loose ends will be tied in a future novel?)
A nice cover hinting at the subjects of the miniatures in general and a useful glossary at the end for some of the typical phrases in use at the time. All in all, a nice crime story that has a lot of appeal.
© Richard Tearle