Crime and Historical Novelist
The Scent of Death
'Andrew Taylor is arguably the most consummate writer of historical crime fiction today…. A mesmeric read’ - Marcel Berlins, The Times
Winner of the 2013 CWA Historical Dagger
Selected for the ITV3 Crime Thriller Book Club
‘This is the story of a woman and a city. I saw the city first…’
New York is a city of secrets, profiteers, loyalists and double agent, where loyalty is a commodity like any other. Manhattan in 1778, during in the American War of Independence, is surrounded by the French fleet and the rebel armies, and packed with refugees seeking justice from the British crown.
Edward Savill is sent from London to investigate the claims of dispossessed loyalists. No sooner does he land than he becomes embroiled in the case of a gentleman murdered in the city’s notorious Canvas Town.
Lodging with the respected Wintour family, Savill senses the mystery deepening. Judge Wintour’s beautiful daughter-in-law, Arabella, hides a tragedy in her past, while his son plans a dangerous mission into enemy territory. And what of Mr Noak, the enigmatic clerk seemingly bent on a dubious course of his own?
What the reviewers say
‘Andrew Taylor... has been quietly producing superb historical fiction since long before Hilary Mantel’s Man Booker wins bestowed literary respectability on the genre… superb’ - Telegraph
‘Taylor has emerged as a historical novelist with a rare gift for mood and atmosphere’ - Independent
‘...an intriguing, interesting mystery...also an excellent novel - beautifully written and highly original. Andrew Taylor’s earlier books have already won him multiple prizes, and this book is as good as any he has written’ - Literary Review
‘Andrew Taylor's historical crime fiction is always an event… Taylor has always been interested in the precariousness of life, and the concomitant truth: that if it becomes necessary, everything – truth, honour, love – is for sale’ - Guardian
‘Taylor's gift is to lift the quality of both the writing and social observation above the run of genre fiction… Graham Greene's distinction between the torturable and the untorturable classes is implicit here. Taylor adds an acute eye to details of landscape, to New York's teeming masses, and their fragile places in the shimmering sun’ - Times Literary Supplement
‘Taylor shows once again how skilful a historical novelist he is’ - Sunday Times
‘A triumph… a detective story, and a piece of period writing that excites and surprises in equal measure’ - Spectator
‘Taylor… achieves to perfection the crucial balance between the mystery that has to be solved and the the historical context surrounding it’ - The Times
‘The premise alone makes this a fascinating book but Taylor doesn’t stop there. He puts a score of brilliantly conceived characters into a plot that takes Savill on a harrowing journey through a place known as the Debatable Ground. Andrew Taylor is one of the most imaginative historical mystery novelists writing today. His research is impeccable and his ability to change voice to suit period is a marvel’ - Toronto Globe and Mail
‘It's hardly a surprise that the multitalented Taylor has such an impeccable grasp of period and locale (both might be considered a sine qua non in his work); but what is new here is perhaps the sense of a phantasmagoric, heightened reality which makes The Scent of Death such a mesmeric, frequently challenging read, right up to its icy climax. If there is any justice, the book will create quite as much of a kerfuffle as The American Boy’ - Barry Forshaw, Crime Time
Signed copies are available from the Forest Bookshop, Coleford, and elsewhere.