The Calton Papers by Norman Russell

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The Calton Papers by Norman Russell

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Category: Crime (Historical)
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The latest book in a long-running series featuring Jackson and Bottomley works well as a stand-alone novel. There are some great characters and an intiguing plot. Recommended.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 224 Date: January 2010
Publisher: Robert Hale Ltd
ISBN: 978-0709089544

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Philip Garamond had had an abiding interest in botany since his teens and when we first meet him he's on his way to Sotheby's intent on making a bid for the Calton Papers. Sir George Calton's papers include an unpublished account of Darwin's explorations on the Beagle, some letters and a geographical survey of the British Isles. Garamond's ambition had always been to own a botanical garden on Madeira, but he lacked the funds and the Calton Papers seemed to be as close as he would get to owning something special.

Meanwhile, back in Copton Vale, Inspector Saul Jackson and Sergeant Herbert Bottomley have been warned that there might be a safe cracker operating in the area and Jackson sets out to warn Sir Nicholas Waldegrave that his elderly safe might not be up to the challenges of the eighteen nineties. Before long he'll be investigating murder.

If I'd borrowed this book from the library I might have given up at any time during the first couple of chapters. You see, this book is part of a series and Norman Russell fills in some of the back story by having characters tell each other details of past cases. Eyes rolled and sighs were heard. Most annoyingly, it wasn't even necessary as the book reads perfectly well as a stand-alone. Why not show which of Russell's earlier books are Jackson and Bottomley novels and develop a brand?

It would, you see, have been a great pity if I'd given up as I would have missed a top-class story. Jackson and Bottomley are likeable and engaging. We're told a little about them but they don't get in the way of the plot, which is peopled by some real three dimensional characters who will leave you swaying about as you try and work out whodunit.

There's a real sense of time and place, but it's the plot which steals the day. I really did wonder what was going to happen next. Even when I was happily settled on a perpetrator there were more twists to come and I was sorry when I turned the final page.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If this type of book appeals to you then you might also enjoy Murder in Paradise by Alanna Knight or Death on a Branch Line by Andrew Martin.

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Buy The Calton Papers by Norman Russell at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Calton Papers by Norman Russell at


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