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The Salisbury Manuscripts (Tom Ansell #1)

3.13  ·  Rating Details ·  56 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Praise for Philip Gooden:

“Great fun.”—Guardian

“Gooden will give you a gratifying taste of the danger and excitement of that lusty place and time.”—Publishers Weekly

In the fog-shrouded autumn of 1873 a man dies violently while searching a burial chamber on the outskirts of the city of Salisbury. At the same time Tom Ansell, a young lawyer, arrives from London to receive
Hardcover, 310 pages
Published July 1st 2008 by Soho Constable (first published January 1st 2008)
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Description: "In the fog-shrouded autumn of 1873 a man dies violently while searching a burial chamber on the outskirts of the city of Salisbury. At the same time Tom Ansell, a young lawyer, arrives from London to receive a manuscript from one of the cathedral canons. Felix Slater wants the compromising memoirs of his late father to be locked away until after his own death. But Slater's death arrives much sooner than expected, and it is Tom who discovers the clergyman's body and comes under susp ...more
THE SALISBURY MANUSCRIPT (Ama. Sleuth-Tom Ansell-England-1837) – G+
Gooden, Philip – standalone
Soho Constable, 2008, UK Hardcover – ISBN; 9781569475126

First Sentence: The man turned aside from the farm-track as the autumn afternoon closed in and storm clouds were scudding from the west.

Lawyer Tom Ansell is sent by his firm to Salisbury. Their client, Canon Felix Slater, has a manuscript, a memoir written by his father, that he wants the law firm to hold until after his death. Although there are s
Interesting read. I did not like the plot, found it forced and pointless, but I did enjoy the historical setting and the main character, Tom Ansell, and his love interest (later fiancée) Helen. After reading this book, I am rather sick of the word "fossicking". I feel that the author could have varied his word choice a bit. Also, the eccentric name of the establishment where Tom Ansell stayed in Salisbury was jarring to me. It felt like satire in an otherwise fairly realistic novel. (I hope it i ...more
Will Hogarth
Dec 03, 2012 Will Hogarth rated it liked it
I would have to say that this book was not the fastest to get going. In fact it seemed to take me nearly half the book to get into it. The first half seems to be a collection of loose woven plots and sub-plots that are not pulled together to much later in the book.


I am glad I persevered. When it does get going it is transformed into a very engaging, good old fashioned, mystery.

The characterisation is very well done and helps the late 1800’s, when it is set, come to life to the point where you
Laura J
I read this shortly after visiting Salisbury, touring the Cathedral and its Close and climbing the cathedral tower to the base of the spire and out onto the parapet/viewing platform, so I really liked reading a novel set there. I could picture the locations in my mind as I read. The mystery story is interesting enough.
I wonder why the US edition's title was changed to The Salisbury Manuscripts, plural, when within the book it is singular. The UK edition is singular.
Feb 13, 2013 Audrey rated it it was ok
To be honest I just could not get into the book. It started very slowly and even 100 pages in the story was slow and had not really started. Lacked tension and excitement to be honest. I gave up in the end after about 150 pages of waiting for something interesting to happen lol hence the 2 stars.
Started slowly, picked up speed, and eventually just sort've died.

The atmosphere was pretty good, but the mystery and the writing style both started to annoy me before the end.
Oct 23, 2015 Linda rated it liked it
Slow to start with, but a pretty good read.
Feb 03, 2009 Sonia rated it really liked it
Good pulpy mystery. Enjoyable!
Susan Jo Grassi
Oct 06, 2011 Susan Jo Grassi rated it really liked it
For some reason I had a hard time getting started but once I finally got into it, I was hooked and can't wait to get the next one in the series, The Durham Disappearance.
May 02, 2010 Gena rated it it was ok
Starting out a bit slow...but then we've only just met the freaky family at the center of this story. I feel kinda sorry for the the protagonist!
Andrea Sachs
Sep 14, 2012 Andrea Sachs rated it liked it
An old-fashioned type of mystery. Lots of mystery but not much action. A perfect relaxing read for fall weather!
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Philip Gooden lives in Bath. In addition to his Nick Revill series, Sleep of Death, he is the author of The Guinness Guide to Better English and the editor of The Mammoth Book of Literary Anecdotes. Each of his Nick Revill mysteries revolves around a Shakespearean play mirroring life - in Sleep of Death the play was Hamlet, in this offering it is Troilus and Cressida.
AKA Philippa Morgan.

* S
More about Philip Gooden...

Other Books in the Series

Tom Ansell (3 books)
  • The Durham Deception (Tom Ansell, #2)
  • The Ely Testament

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