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Devoured (Hatton and Roumande Mystery #1)

3.36 of 5 stars 3.36  ·  rating details  ·  290 ratings  ·  80 reviews

One of London’s first forensic detectives chases a grisly killer in this stunning debut mystery rich in period detail and sinister intrigue.

London in 1856 is gripped by a frightening obsession. The specimen-collecting craze is growing, and discoveries in far-off jungles are reshaping the known world in terrible and unimaginable ways. The new theories of evolution threaten

Hardcover, 319 pages
Published August 20th 2012 by Allison & Busby (first published October 16th 2010)
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I'm never sure what to do with a mystery. Can I just sit back and enjoy it, or am I supposed to be trying to solve it? Not knowing the answer to that plays havoc with my rating. I loved the subject matter of Devoured. It is set in mid nineteenth century London at the time natural sciences are developing and the public are being exposed to all that means. Some are not happy about it. I won't give away more than that.

My problem with rating it is that I loved the subject matter, but would a regula
D. E. Meredith's Devoured struck me as an incredibly interesting historical mystery when I started seeing reviews of it strewn about the blogosphere. I felt like everybody but me was reading this novel which features an early Victorian-era forensic detective and his assistant. That being the case, I ordered it up from the library to add to my "Everybody But Me" Book Bingo reading list.

The mystery begins with the death of Lady Katherine Bessingham--a bohemian and a free-thinker, who collects spec
Historical fiction set in England, early forensics, science versus religion...what's not to like. That's what I thought when I picked up this novel, I SOOO wanted to love it. Sadly, "Devoured" left a lot to be desired.

My main complaint is that the story plodded along at a snail's pace without much character development (especially the main two forensics experts) and the little vignettes from all the different perspectives felt really choppy and not cohesive. The mystery aspect of the plot I fel
I had quite high expectations from this book given the great cover and Sherlock-esq write up. However, it fell slightly short of what could have been a good read.

The storyline was intriguing, with a good flurry of characters, but it all seemed to be a bit all over the place in the first half of the book. It was almost deliberately confusing so you wouldn't be able to piece anything together yourself. Also I felt that the characters of Hatton and Roumande could have been built upon more - as much
I kept thinking this book would get better and it never did. The characters were poorly drawn - I couldn't have cared less about them. It felt like a poor replication of an Anne Perry.
Cathy Cole
First Line: The door creaked open as the maid stepped into the room.

The year is 1856, and the London elite find themselves gripped by the craze of collecting specimens. Expeditions are being sent to far-off jungles to gather the known and the unknown. Combine this addiction with the new theories of evolution that are changing the ways people think about themselves and the world around them, and a potentially explosive situation is being created.

Glamorous Lady Bessingham prides herself on being a
Sharon Kennedy
This was a really well written murder mystery, set not in the Ripper years, as so many of the recent Victorian age novels are, but 30 years earlier. Forensic investigation is in its infancy, and is considered to be a lower class of occupation, far below that of surgeon or doctor.
The book revolves around the murder of a wealthy aristocrat, who supported specimen collection, and centres around some missing letters. However, as the tale draws you slowly but surely into its grip, you begin to wonder
Kate Mayfield
I thoroughly enjoyed D.E. Meredith's DEVOURED, and cannot resist saying that I did indeed devour it. The author has bravely tackled subjects, which during the mid 19th century, were shocking, even horrifying to some. There are twists and turns in this dark story that surprise and take the reader on a swiftly paced excursion.

The author's resplendent characters make their way through the muck of murder, the enlightening forensics and the new procedure of autopsy. The team of Hatton and Roumande ar
Superb Victorian mystery, encompassing scientific and evolutionary expeditions in Borneo, the glamorous mansions of dukes and the muck and gloom of London's poorest streets. Devoured is an exciting and intelligent thriller which weaves together a thread of trails in an atmospheric and riveting manner. Gory and polished, this is a thoroughly enjoyable thriller and mystery, set at a time when forensics were in their infancy and science was undoing beliefs. Plus lots of twists which I didn't guess. ...more
Sarah Seymour
D E Meredith's Devoured is an engrossing read set in both Victorian London and the jungles of Borneo.
It is a Victorian mystery with a very complex but absorbing plot... an unputdownable read.
I was immediately drawn into the world of Victorian England and felt immersed in the plot from the first page.
I loved the beautiful prose, descriptions and meeting intriguing and likeable characters as well as the wicked and twisted ones.
A gripping, absorbing page turner that I can't recommend enough....
Graham Crawford
This is pretty superficial stuff. Occasionally slightly interesting but not enough research or period detail to sink your teeth into. It has really stupid plot. This book is supposed to be about the first forensic investigations in the Victorian London- But the characters "solve" the murder by non-forensic means. The structure and the point become null and void. Really don't bother reading this - The writer is a bit stupid and the publishers more so for letting this slip through into print.
Suzie Grogan
I did really enjoy this. OK so it wasn't exactly a 'whodunnit' (although there were enough loose ends to keep you interested to the end)and characterisation was a little sketchy - I still have only the vaguest mental picture of the two forensic experts who are the heroes of this series - but it was a good read for a long coach journey back from London and it was an entertaining - if gory - 24 hours of escapism.
AA Palliser
I loved this book. Dense with characters, meaty, interesting. The forensic detail from it's inception was really great and I found myself having to slow down or I would miss detail! A great who done it, and really for readers whom enjoy the complex and rich stories with a flavour of Doyle. I look forward to this authors next outing!!
I thought this sounded like an interesting premise - Victorian murder mystery with the protagonists being at the forefront of forensics - specifically pathology. It didn't live up to my expectations, as I found it to be a bit too much of a sensation novel, with particularly gruesome murders rather than the more intense focus on the scientific side and puzzle solving that I was expecting. The stuffed man was a particular 'ick' moment and I rather think I won't lend this particular book to my mum! ...more
Wayne Farmer
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jocelyn Khor
I wish I could rate it higher but this book was just... *sighs* Such disappointment.

This is a crime mystery set in London during the 1850s, I mean, a mystery setting in the Victorian times, who doesn't like that? That itself drew me into buying this book, plus, it was sold at a bargain price!

So, I thought I was gonna enjoy the story but no, reading the first half of it was torturing, I had a slight headache reading it at school. Everything was very confusing. In the first 100 pages or so, I co
I liked this immensely because, unlike so many other Victorian crime novels, it doesn't pretend to be something it isn't and its original! I loved the fact that the plot revolved around 'botanicals' and the ideas perpetrated by Darwin and his contemporaries. It's easy to forget in this day and age what a storm those sorts of things caused and it was such an interesting premise to base the plot on. Also, this book didn't try and make either Hatton or Roumande Sherlock or Watson, which made this e ...more
Jenny Macdonald
A delightful book.A superb Victorian mystery, encompassing scientific and evolutionary expeditions in Borneo, the glamorous mansions of dukes and the muck and gloom of London's poorest streets. Well written it tells of a time when forensics were in their infancy and science was undoing beliefs. A series of macabre murders and lost letters drives you towards the theories of evolution that were abounding at the time - but you gradually get the sense that this was not the only reason behind the mur ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Devoured is set just a few years before Darwin published The Origin of Species, when England was in the grip of a mania for collecting specimens of fossils and forms of life from all over its far-flung empire. The unconventional Lady Bessingham, a wealthy, attractive widow who is a patron of the new scientific ideas about evolution, is murdered in her bedroom and a packet of letters sent to her by a friend on a collecting expedition overseas has disappeared. Adolphus Hatton, a doctor and practit ...more
The Lit Bitch
Another excellent book by DE Meredith that kept me guessing and reading, it was hard to put down at times thats for sure. The exotic 'flavor' also really added a little extra the to book, great job!! I'm looking forward to see what you do with the third book :)

Meredith’s thriller, Devoured. In the budding world of Darwinism, botanical study, forensics, and science in general– Hatton is using early forensic science to solve crimes all around Victorian London hoping that this new manner of solvin
Simon Turney
I am of a strange, divided opinion about the Victorian world. As a historian it bothers me, since it is almost too current and understandable to class as history in my mind, and the fact that it feels too recent often steers me away from it. I have, of course, watched and/or read the staple works of the era. I find Sherlock Holmes to be a little awkward and badly-tied together in literature and often too gung ho or arty in cinema (with perhaps the exception of some recent re-imaginings). But reg ...more
Marguerite Kaye
I like historical crimes stories a lot, so when my mum found this one, I was looking forward to it. Straight up, I had a real problem with the way it was written. I found the sentence structuring really distracting - lots of sentences without either a verb or an object, and way, way, too many starting with 'and' or 'but'. I found the jumps in POV difficult to follow, and I found the way the plethora of characters were introduced, seemingly slotted in at random without context, really quite diffi ...more
This novel details the rising field of forensics in 19th-century England. The reader is not spared, either the sordid mess that attends dealing with the dead or the fascination of coping with new discoveries. We are brought into forensics and many of the subjects that touch upon this subject, along with the hostility, alarm and suspicion among the hidebound elite who viewed this then-new science as an abomination of religion and disrespect towards the dead.

There are many diverse tangled threads
London, Victorian London is the place and the time is nineteenth century . London, the capital of the mightiest empire on the face of the earth in ushering in the new age of science and technology. New invention and discoveries are the call of the day. One such novelty is Forensics, a new branch of science dealing with examination of cadavers and crime scenes. And this one of the many reasons why the elite class of London is finding it hard to accept and Our protagonist and the purveyor of this ...more
Lucy Perry
I'm a stickler for a victorian mystery and the premise of this one sounded irresistable to me. There were times where I found the story deliciously captivating but then others where I felt a little let down.

I didn't feel many of the characters were developed with any depth and therefore didn't conmnect to any of them. Roumande's character clearly had legs but everytime I started to warm to him I was whisked elsewhere. Hatton on the otherhand wasn't particularly likeable at all - I felt as though
As I began to turn the pages of Devoured, one of my first thoughts was to marvel at the depth of research undertaken by D E Meredith in order to immerse us fully in Victorian life. The detail is astonishing and, at times, both gory and shocking.

We experience the extreme poverty of the era, the sight and sensations of the jungles of Borneo plus the immunity enjoyed and power exerted by London's influential middle and upper classes.

I have always been fascinated by Darwin's voyages and theories yet
Tracey Walsh
I've just returned from spending a few days in the mid 19th century in the company of some fascinating characters and a cleverly constructed plot. I have to confess that until a few weeks ago I was unaware of D E Meredith and her work. I was lucky enough to win a signed copy of The Devil's Ribbon and was keen to read it, so I consulted and found that the author's previous novel was Devoured. Ignoring an assurance from the author herself on Twitter that her novels can be re ...more
"Devoured" began promisingly, introducing a mid-nineteenth-century duo of early forensics experts just starting to develop a relationship with Scotland Yard. But I thought both plot and characterization was thin. The villains had more substance than the heroes--never a good thing in a mystery where you're supposed to root for the good guys. I had the weird feeling I was reading the work of multiple authors, cobbled together to make one book. There are sections presenting "flashbacks" via the let ...more
There is much to like about this historical mystery. There is the beginnings of the science of forensics, the study of botanicals, and the sedition that is Darwinism.

And yet, Meredith tries to do too much, at least as far as I'm concerned. I seldom read jacket blurbs and read most books based on recommendations from trusted friends. So, I had no idea who the main characters were in this book. There is Lady Bessingham, her friend Benjamin Broderig, the morgue workers Aldolphus Hatton and Albert R
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D. E. Meredith is the author of the HATTON AND ROUMANDE historical crime series: DEVOURED (Book One), THE DEVIL'S RIBBON (Book Two) feature the first forensic scientist, Professor Adolphus Hatton, and his trusty French morgue assistant, Albert Roumande.

After reading English at Cambridge, D. E. Meredith ran the press office at the British Red Cross, where she oversaw media response all internation
More about D.E. Meredith...

Other Books in the Series

Hatton and Roumande Mystery (2 books)
  • The Devil's Ribbon
The Devil's Ribbon

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