Read The Hidden Man by Robin Blake Online


The year is 1742, and the people of Preston are looking forward to their ancient once-every-twenty-years festival of merriment and excess, the Preston Guild. But the prospect darkens as the town plunges into a financial crisis caused by the death of pawnbroker and would-be banker Philip Pimbo, shot behind the locked door of his office. Is it suicide? Coroner Titus Cragg suThe year is 1742, and the people of Preston are looking forward to their ancient once-every-twenty-years festival of merriment and excess, the Preston Guild. But the prospect darkens as the town plunges into a financial crisis caused by the death of pawnbroker and would-be banker Philip Pimbo, shot behind the locked door of his office. Is it suicide? Coroner Titus Cragg suspects so, but Dr Luke Fidelis disagrees. To untangle the truth Cragg must dig out the secrets of Pimbo's personal life, learn the grim facts of the African slave trade, search for a missing Civil War treasure and deal with the machinations of his old enemy Ephraim Grimshaw, now the town's mayor. Cragg relies once again on the help and advice of his analytical friend Fidelis, his astute wife Elizabeth and the contents of a well-stocked library.As in his previous Cragg and Fidelis stories, Robin Blake brings a vivid cast of characters to the page in this third historical mystery about the dramas that breeds below the surface of life in a provincial Georgian town.?...

Title : The Hidden Man
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781250054944
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 352 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Hidden Man Reviews

  • LJ
    2019-05-19 07:08

    First Sentence: Standing in the doorway, with medical bag in hand, Luke Fidelis peered into the shadowed room until its main features had resolved themselves: the outline of the low pallet bed; the man’s gaunt, ghostly face looking steadily upwards; the pale hand resting motionless outside the covering blanket.From the very beginning, Blake transports us to 1742 England, and it’s not a particularly pleasant place to be. Life can be hard; particularly for women. The people of Preston are looking forward to the celebration of the Preston Guild, until Phillip Pimbo, the pawnbroker and man responsible for keeping the event funds secure is found shot behind the locked door of his office. For Coroner Cragg, all evidence points to suicide; Doctor Fidelis isn’t as certain. To learn the truth, and even to open Pimbo’s safe, Cragg must learn the secrets of Pimbo’s life, including facts about the African slave trade and missing Civil War treasure.Blake is incredibly clever about aligning his two characters, even down to how it can be possible for Coroner Titus Cragg to set down, in third person, the events and dialogue of Doctor Luke Fedelis without Cragg being present, while events occurring to Cragg are written in first person. It is the complete attention to detail that makes Blake’s writing so impressive.An author who seamlessly educates and informs, while entertaining and intriguing their audience, is one of real skill. To learn about banking in the 1700s is fascinating. Not only are the two main characters interesting and a good balance to one another, but one cannot help but like Titus’ wife, Elizabeth. She is wonderfully clever. However, her winning point comes with the words, “Titus, dearest, I’m reading.” Some will also appreciate Titus’ issues with his in-laws.Don’t for a moment be concerned that this is a slow read. Whilst some may find the level of detail overwhelming, it is the details that make the story completely fascinating, thanks to the pacing of the story that picks up as one reads. It is fascinating to see who they weave together form the whole fabric.Blake presents the different views and attitudes of the time toward the slave trade. It is sad that, although now that the focus of present-day concerns is different, many of the attitudes remain the same: “…it is conducted by evil men. Why is there no outcry?” “Because people are making money.” Blake’s writing occasionally causes one to pause and consider…”Death is all around us, yet we will never treat it as commonplace. I suppose it is because we don’t know the manner of our own deaths that we are so powerfully drawn to discover how others have died.”“The Hidden Man” is a very good read with an excellent plot twist, captivating characters, and a compelling plot. It is also part of a series well worth reading.THE HIDDEN MAN (Hist Mys-Cragg/Fidelis-England-18th Cent) - VGBlake, Robin – 3rd in seriesMinotaur Books – March, 2015

  • Charles Finch
    2019-04-29 07:26

    My review from USA Today.***One of the pleasures of being a mystery reader is the way a series can change and grow. Robin Blake's first two novels about Fidelis and Cragg – a doctor and a coroner in northern England during the 1740s – had a nice command of the period, but The Hidden Man is a cut above them, smart, absorbing, funny, and beautifully researched. It's about the death of a man named Pimbo, who was in charge of investing the budget for a grand festival held every 20 years. What seems a local crime soon takes on all sorts of broader issues, however, including Britain's slave trade and, in the book's most interesting scenes, the emerging concept of banking. Blake's protagonists lack an edge, but when he surrounds them with such vivid history that matters less, and the book's intriguing final lines suggest that the series still has new directions in which to develop.

  • S.J.A. Turney
    2019-05-06 02:16

    Every now and then I come across a new series of books and wonder ‘why haven’t I come across these before?’ This is most definitely one of those. Robin Blake has created an immersive series set in, for me, a largely unknown era.The Scrivener is in fact the third in a series, currently of 4, of mysteries set in mid 17th Lancashire. The book is billed as a Cragg and Fidelis mystery. Cragg is Preston’s coroner, and his friend Fidelis is a doctor. Between them, their skillsets and authority give them most of what they need to pick apart complex murders and plots, but it is not quite that straightforward. In fact, the book is written from the point of view of Cragg, and Fidelis seems to be more of a supporting character. In fact, Cragg’s clever and forthright wife is almost as helpful in their solution as Fidelis, though I have thus far read only one of the four books.The Scrivener is a complex plot, which seems to have several threads with at best tenuous connections. A businessman shot dead in Preston, who seems to have been swindled. A trade mission to Guinea which is being investigated by an insurance agent. A trove of Civil War treasure found on Preston moor by a man now suffering a dreadful disabling medical condition, a will with peduliar conditions… it’s a wealth of fun for the mystery fan. The threads tie up nicely as the book draws to a close in the manner of all good mysteries. If I had one complaint about the plot it was a minor dissatisfaction that not everything in those threads is fully detailed and viewed by the reader. Some of it is reduced to a single line of second hand report. Still, this is merely the tidying up of the case. It just set my OCD twitching. The one that got away still nags at me, but enough about that in case I cause spoilers.The writing is excellent, in that Blake manages to evoke the feel of the 17th century and create a brooding atmosphere while at the same time making everything relevant to the modern reader, easy to digest and at times perfectly light-hearted and enjoyable. The characters are likeable and believeable. They do not so conform to stereotypes that they are common, which is nice, since mystery protagonists often do. Again, with characters, there is one thing that nags at me, which is that the protagonists (or Cragg at least) is at times a little too good and politically incorrect for the time, in respetc of slavery and bear-baiting, for example. It really doesn’t spoil the book, mind, and probably makes it accessible to a number of readers who would otherwise be put off. Blake’s history and social culture of 1740s Lancashire is stop on, thorough, and fascinating, to the extent that I lost track of the things I learned in this book. Best of all, for me, is that I live just across the Pennines from Preston and have spent quite a bit of time in the area, so a lot of this is quite familiar to me.I would recommend this book (and therefore probably the series) to readers of historical fiction, and to lovers of mystery. To those who fill the middle group in that Venn diagram, you’ll love it. I see readers of D.E. Meredith’s Hatton and Roumande mysteries loving Robin Blake, for example.

  • Vilo
    2019-05-02 09:22

    This mystery should appeal to a wide range of readers. It has a puzzle, history (Preston, England 1742), philosophy (Montaigne and others), and interesting, well developed characters male and female. The story is lively, not too grisly and -- of course -- mysterious. I will be looking for more. The author shows how thoughtful people unconnected to the slave trade probably felt about it, which I feel parallels current concerns about immigration and human trafficking.

  • Becky Tatar
    2019-04-24 02:12

    Philip Pimbo, a pawnbroker and would be banker in Preston, England, has been found shot in his office. To Titus, it looks like a suicide, but to his friend, Dr. Luke Fidelis, it looks like murder. Lots of red herrings, discussion of the slave trade in 1742, possible embezzlement of the Guild Funds, and an angry mayor, make it difficult for Titus and Luke to figure out whodunit. This is a great series, and gives a great feel for the mid 18th century small village England.

  • Vontel
    2019-05-08 06:22

    This book also is known as The Scriverner, depending upon in which country it is published. Third book in the series, which I started with the 4th volume and then went back to the beginning, so I should be caught up with this historical fiction mystery series taking place in Preston, Lancashire, in the early 1640's.Another good read, and I look forward to a 5th in the series. This book did not have a section at the back indicating which portions were based on historical facts, as did the first two volumes.

  • Cheryl Gatling
    2019-05-04 07:23

    Titus Cragg the coroner, and Luke Fidelis the physician are something like what Holmes and Watson might be if both of them were smart, two friends who observe and reason, bouncing their ideas off each other. I liked the story, and I liked the period details of 18th century England, but what I liked best were these two cool dudes. Cragg is the more cerebral of the two, as he loves to read and ponder new ideas and literature. But both of them are down-to-earth observers of the facial expression, the markings in the shoe, the small details that add up. And both of them are nearly unflappable, not allowing the bluster of the mayor or the ill-temper of the horse-trainer neighbor to deflect them from their pursuit of the truth. I admired them.The story is a quiet one. Despite having its share of gore (the body of Pimbo the goldsmith is found shot in the head with a puddle of blood around him, and the body of Tybalt Jackson is found brutally beaten around the face and with a wooden stake through his heart), and even a high-speed horse chase, this is not a thriller. The excitement comes from the mental challenge of piecing together and finding out. One of the plot elements is that the slave trade is declared to be Very Bad. Of course it is. Was. And some people thought so even then. But I always wonder when seemingly modern ideas are put into the minds of historical characters. Surely the majority of people did not question what they were used to, the ideas they had grown up with. How much then is historical accuracy, and how much is twisting history a little bit to make it palatable to the sensibilities of modern readers.

  • Jen
    2019-05-18 02:14

    The Hidden Man by Robin Blake is an historical mystery that arrived in the mail. I read it sometime before Christmas. I like mysteries set in different time periods, often as much for the historical details as for plot or characters. The Hidden Man is the third in a series featuring Coroner Titus Cragg and Doctor Luke Fidelis in the mid 1700's and does give a unique perspective of life in the Georgian period.Historically, the novel contains a number of fascinating topics, including the beginnings of investment banking (which, in this case, go sadly awry), the circumscribed lives of women, medical practices that sometimes both doctor and patient are reluctant to change, the evolving judicial system of the 1740's, issues with the slave trade, and more. I was a bit put off by the slow beginning. This may have been partly because I had not read the two earlier novels, but it took the lack of anything else to read at the time to keep me reading. Eventually, I became quite involved with the characters and plot.The circumstances surrounding the death of pawnbroker Philip Pimbo in a locked room situation are mysterious, but the mayor is less concerned about Pimbo's death than he is about the money that the Preston Guild invested with him. Coroner Cragg and Dr. Fidelis each play a role in solving Pimbo's murder and a subsequent related murder.I ended up enjoying the book, but unless another free copy arrives in the mail, I probably won't pursue the series.From Minotaur BooksHistorical Mystery. 2015. 353 pages.

  • Jim Leffert
    2019-05-05 02:17

    An interesting but not especially compelling or exciting historical mystery (perhaps the other books in this series are superior), The Hidden Man takes place in an English provincial town in 1742. The Town Coroner, Titus Cragg, and his friend, the Sherlockian physician, Luke Fidelis, probe the death of pawnbroker Phillip Pimbo. Pimbo seems to have signed on to a dubious get rich quick scheme, organized by a murky figure named Zadok Moon, to invest in the potentially highly profitable journey of a slave ship transporting slaves from Africa to Barbados and then rum back to England.Blake explores the issue of the slave trade. Characters in the story vary widely in their attitude toward it. Some are repelled by it; others view it as a favorable commercial enterprise. For other characters, different issues are at the forefront; notably, the disappearance of funds that the Mayor entrusted to Pimbo for safekeeping, and the provenance of a silver spoon that might be part of a treasure hoard dating back to the English Civil Wars.The characters, for the most part, are not especially subtly drawn and the mystery itself is not especially mysterious. Still, the two sleuths are endearing characters and the historical background is of some interest. If you imagine that life in the English provinces in the 18th century might be interesting but not exciting, this book would confirm that opinion.

  • Louise Allen
    2019-05-06 02:07

    Another great story in this series. Complex characters, well-written, great atmosphere

  • Bonnie
    2019-04-24 01:03

    The year is 1742, and the citizens of Preston are looking forward to their once-every-twenty-years festival. The atmosphere changes when the death of a pawnbroker is discovered behind the locked doors of his office. Coroner Titus Cragg suspects it is suicide, but Dr. Luke Fidelis disagrees. To untangle the truth, Cragg must dig out the secrets of the Pimbo's personal life, learn the grim facts of the African slave trade, search for a missing Civil War relic, and deal with his old enemy, Ephraim Grimshaw, now the town's mayor. Cragg relies on the help and advice of his friend, Fidelis; his astute wife, Elizabeth; and the contents of his will-stocked library. Robin Blake brings a broad cast of characters in his third historical mystery about the dramas that breed below the surface in provincial Georgetown.

  • Garryvivianne
    2019-04-27 03:24

    It is the mid 1700's & Coroner Titus Cragg is called to a murder that seems impossible to solve. A merchant is shot & killed while locked in his own office at his private bank. Cragg's crony & fellow sleuth, Dr. Luke Fidelis are busy working this case. The writing is somewhat humorous, witty & the characters are lively. An enjoyable mystery. (And apparently more books which highlight this delightful duo.)

  • Janice
    2019-04-26 09:11

    Sometimes I feel like I give high ratings to too many books, but then I realize that in most cases I only read them if I check and the rating is good. In this case, I just got the book off the shelf at the library. It has all the making of my kind of book, but I just didn't care abut the characters or the story. It wasn't bad at all, which I guess is the reason I finished it, but I wouldn't read another in the series.

  • Scilla
    2019-05-22 09:07

    Very good story in 1742. A goldsmith is found dead in a locked room. The money in his strong room is missing, including all the money belonging to the guild for the upcoming fair. The story comes out that Pimbo has been swindled, told he would make a lot of money from investing in the slave trade. Titus, the lawyer/coroner and his friend Luke, the doctor work hard to find out what happened and who is guilty. There are many twists and turns, but it all makes a well-connected yarn.

  • Damien G
    2019-05-12 02:20

    Found in my library gave it a chance and liked it.The settings of Preston in the eighteenth century was a highlight.The book was well written and the doctor and coroner complemented each other.It was well researched and true to historical facts.I am looking to reserve all books in the series,and would recommend this book to all lovers of historical crime fiction.

  • Kathy
    2019-05-19 09:07

    I enjoyed this third one in the series more than the first two, but I am glad I read them in order to acquaint myself with the characters, the friendships and particular challenges. I don't like to spoil it for others, so I won't talk about the plot. There were some rather charming countryside descriptions in this one, and the coroner and doctor continue to refine their working relationship.

  • Dave Hoff
    2019-05-03 02:27

    The who-dun-it becomes a what did it, followed by solving a con job. No bank in a small town, the goldsmith holds the treasure of pawned items and the town's funds. Supposed treasure dates to Cromwell's time. Shoes that don't match, a real murder,and a dog involved in the Coroner and Doctor solving the mystery.

  • Linda
    2019-05-18 01:25

    I read this book in Australia with the title 'The Scrivener'. This was my favourite book in the series up to now. I always enjoy reading about Preston in the novels and especially as I have an ancestor also named Titus Cragg who lived north of Preston at the same time - he was a farmer. The story kept me interested all the way through.

  • Sandy
    2019-05-14 06:14

    Another good Cragg and Fidelis mystery. I think this is the third in the series, preceded by Dark Anatomy & Dark Waters, as Briggs is now a presiding... whatever he was not but was aiming to be in Dark Waters. 'Mayor', I think. Anyway, another well-crafted, engaging and satisfying mystery from the village/town of Preston on the River Flyde (?) in 16th century England.

  • Emily
    2019-05-02 03:25

    This was a good mystery set in the 1800s. It kept my interest, and I liked the main characters, Luke (the doctor) and the lawyer who helped each other solve the murders. I would definitely read another book by this author.

  • Kathy
    2019-05-08 02:01

    Slow-starting mystery, this ends up with lots of interesting twists and a very surprising epilogue, this will appeal to any fan of historical mysteries where part of the appeal is how they solve the mystery given the limitations of the time (in this case, mid-18th century in small-town England)

  • Christine
    2019-04-27 06:18

    Pleasant surprise to find another good author of historical fiction

  • Kate
    2019-04-28 01:14

    Thoroughly entertaining. The historical background is wonderfully evoked. Excellent!

  • Marg Corjay
    2019-05-14 07:11

    A strong traditional historical mystery. Interesting characters, good background information, suspenseful climax.

  • Mary G.
    2019-05-02 04:16

    Well plotted mystery. A little slow in places.

  • Kimberlee
    2019-05-02 05:14

  • Jodie
    2019-04-30 03:23

    Ran out of time to finish

  • Jayw
    2019-04-27 01:18

    Coroner Titus Craig investigates a shooting death and disappearance of town's money in 1742 English town.