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Rules of Engagement (Sir John Fielding, #11)
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Rules of Engagement

(Sir John Fielding #11)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  560 ratings  ·  48 reviews
When Lord Lammermoor plunges to his death from Westminster Bridge before a dozen witnesses, his death is ruled a suicide. But his fatal leap coincides with the arrival of Dr. Goldsworthy--a student of the famous Dr. Anton Mesmer and his research into animal magnetism. Sir John's suspicions grow when he learns that Goldsworthy's patron in London is none other than the beaut ...more
Paperback, 274 pages
Published February 7th 2006 by Berkley Books (first published March 3rd 2005)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  560 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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Lana Glover
Jul 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm so sad this series is over. I'm going to miss all of the characters. ...more
Nov 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful ending of a wonderful series. Bruce Alexander sadly passed away (2003) before this book was completed. However, according to the book flap his wife complied her husband's notes and rough draft material and managed to complete the series with the help of John Shannon. I think I noticed a few style differences in #11 from the others, but it just may have been simply Alexander wrapping things up. I do not know whether his intentions were: furthering or ending the series.
I DO know
Vannessa Anderson
Chief Justice Lord William Merrick, the Earl of Mansfield asks Justice Sir John Fielding to look into the death of his personal friend Lord Lammermoor whom the outcry is that he committed suicide witnessed by a number of people his jumping off the Westminster Bridge. Lord Merrick doesn’t believe his friend committed suicide.

My curiosity was peaked on how Sir John was going to prove a witnessed suicide was actually not a suicide but murder.

I liked how the story is told through Jeremy’s, Sir John’
Mar 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Sadly, with “Rules of Engagement,” one of the best historical mystery series comes to a close. I missed Bruce Alexander's mystery series first time around; however, Mary a friend of mine highly recommended it ~ and I will forever be glad she did. The central character is Sir John Fielding; while serving in the Royal Navy, he was blinded at the age of 19. Despite this handicap, he became a magistrate of the court and was the founder of London's police force - the Bow Street Runners. Our narrator, ...more
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am sad to be at the end of this series which was one of my favorites. I'm also grateful to John Shannon and Bruce Alexander's wife for finishing this book following the death of the author. I did, however find some of their writing style to be strange such as several times where they would say "I made haste to the spot and witnessed this: ..." or "This reader, is what followed: ...". I haven't read any of John Shannon's books so I'm not sure if this is the way he writes, but it seemed awkward. ...more
Picked up eight of this 11 part series in a second hand bookshop in Hay for £1 each, so quite a bargain! Generally enjoyed the series overall. This is the last book and it sounds like the author died before finishing, but left plot notes. It does feel as though the ending is by someone different. On the plus side they correctly use 'kerb' for the edge of the pavement (although this isn't corrected in the early part of the book oddly) but the ending feels a bit unsatisfactory for the main plot an ...more
Virginia Tican
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This would take the reader to the world of Mesmerism and the Occult and of course, murder. As this is, at present, the final book from this author published posthumously, it is but fitting to have Jeremy's and Clarissa's wedding within its pages given the event's inevitability. And so I say a tearful Good~bye to them as well as to Sir John Fielding and the rest of the beloved characters and to their Creator... who will forever live in the written word and in the memories of those readers who app ...more
Marilyn Saul
Mar 05, 2020 rated it did not like it
What a disappointing book. I think I just may be done with this series (voluntarily dropping out). lSo many side-tangents that had nothing to do with the story (dare I say "filler"?; so much ignorance on Jeremy's part - has he REALLY learned nothing over all these years? So many bad decisions by Jeremy, and his garbled explanation what went on during his Mesmerizing event. Bah!!! Humbug!!! ...more
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Not one of my favorite Sir John Fielding novels. It was SLOW through the first 3/4 of the book. The last quarter was excellent, but it was slow-going until then. I will miss this series' characters. ...more
Bob Harris
May 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
Not quite what I was hoping for after reading an earlier book in the series. Gave up before finishing.
Brett T
Sir John Fielding was a real person, the man who created the first London police force in 1750 with his brother Henry. Although blind, he served as magistrate in London after his brother's death and continued to develop some of the methods modern police forces still use, such as keeping files of criminal records.

Journalist Bruce Alexander Cook, writing as Bruce Alexander, began a series of mysteries featuring the "Blind Beak of Bow Street" and the young orphan he begins to train as an investigat
Feb 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This is the 11th and final installment in the Sir John Fielding series, the author sadly passed away in 2005. Sir John Fielding was a real-life historical figure in late 18th Century London, a blind magistrate who founded the Bow Street Runners, London’s first organized police force, and makes for an extraordinary protagonist in this author’s hands.

The books are “written” by the fictional character, Jeremy Proctor, a young man who was adopted by Fielding as a boy and an orphan - and among other
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT (Amateur Sleuth-London-1700s) – VG
Alexander, Bruce – 11th, and final, book
Putnam, 2005- Hardcover
Sir John Fielding and Jeremy Procter look into the sudden death of Lord Lammermoor, a member of the House of Lords. Lammermoor was walking across Westminster Bridge when he suddenly goes to the edge, and throws himself over in an apparent suicide. Or is it? Questions arise and the pair is interested to learn that Lady Lammermoor is a patron of Dr. Goldworthy, a practitioner of ani
Michael Mallory
Jun 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Bruce Alexander (aka Bruce Cook)'s Sir John Fielding mystery series was marvelous while it lasted. "Rules of Engagement" is the final entry in the series, completed from notes after Alexander's death. That shows, too. It's not bad, by any means, but the point of demarcation when a new author takes over is pretty clear. The plot has a British lord dying in mysterious fashion--leaping off a bridge into the Thames after a display of bizarre gesticulations, and dying because he can't swim--and the s ...more
Sep 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This is the final Sir John Fielding historical mystery in which the subject of hypnotism and "Mesmerism" is investigated as a means to murder, when a member of Parliament jumps from Westminster Bridge into the Thames in front of a dozen witnesses, one of them being Annie Oakum, former cook of the Fielding household. It was obvious that the man jumped himself--no one pushed him--and it was known that he could not swim, but why would he jump?

The mystery itself wasn't much of a mystery in this one
May 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm so sad that this was the last book in the series, but it was a fitting conclusion to a terrific set of books. Alexander had such a fine way of incorporating research seamlessly into his novels. They have a strong 18th century flavor, meshing accurate period detail with a terrific story. A rare gift.

This one centers on a crackling mystery, with Jeremy & Clarissa's engagement and adulthood as "background." Throughout this series, it's been fascinating to watch these two characters grow up. It'
Sherrill Watson
Jul 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Considering this was written after the author's death, by his widow and John Shannon, I could have given it five stars but for the predictability.

Sir John, the Blind Beak of Bow Street, in 1775, is visited by the Lord Chief Justice, with an unexplained suicide -- or death. Jeremy, Sir John's young, somewhat rash amanuensis, is a privy to all the information. And he is in love with Clarissa -- that's sweet but inconsequential.

It was NOT clear to me that Sir John was blind until about halfway thru
Jun 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Sad to realize this is the eleventh and final book in the series. In his final case, blind London judge Sir John Fielding, and his trusted sidekick Jeremy Proctor, investigate the supposed suicide of the Fielding's old friend, Lord Francis Lammermoor.
The story line is fabulous as Jeremy is a sort of Watson looking back from near the end of the century writing about his salad days as a clerk sleuthing for his employer and mentor. Sir John and Jeremy remain true to their personalities from previo
Jan 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is the final installment in the Sir John Fielding novel series. Though the author, Bruce Alexander, had passed away prior to its publication, I was pleased that his wife took it upon herself to flush out the novel so that it could be published. I have to say that this is one of the best in the series and I appreciated that we could wind up the story of Jeremy Proctor and Clarissa Roundtree as well as their time with the Fieldings. I almost wish that we could have more time with these charac ...more
Aug 03, 2008 rated it liked it
After Bruce Alexander's untimely death, his wife and author John Shannon finished getting this book, which was virtually complete, ready for publication. Their additions to the text are generally in parentheses. It is a worthy successor to all the other books in the series, but, very sadly, it is the last. We will never know more of the adventures of the humane blind magistrate and his young assistant Jeremy, now grown to manhood at least by 18th century standards. ...more
Steven Vaughan-Nichols
I never loved this historical mystery series, but I did like it. In this, the final volume due to the author's death, the book was completed by other hands--and it shows. The ending becomes quite slap dash with trying to crowd in everyone of importance who's shown up in the series and, of all things, a "wagon" chase. It's the 1760s so we can't have a car chase.

Some people seem to think this was a satisfying conclusion to the series, but I just found it sad and second-rate.
Aug 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful finish! Sorry to see the tale end. "Filled with Alexander's richly textured depictions of eighteenth-century London, and with a vibrant cast of characters as vivid and sharp-witted as a Hogarth sketch, Rules of Engagement is a brilliant conclusion to a splendid series!" Alexander died in 2003, he had completed most of this book. His wife Judith, and author John Shannon completed the novel. ...more
Jun 17, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, series, own, 2007
extra 1/2 star.

Last in the series. Probably not as good as the rest of the series due to the fact that the author died before finishing and left notes for another author to complete the novel. You can sort of tell where things start to feel different.

I started to read this book and then I misplaced it for about half a year. Turns out that it fell in between the sofa cushions.
Nov 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
really liked this one - unfortunately the last one, but ended the series on a good note. i would have loved to see what happened after jeremy was married and how he continued to mature and grow in his learning of the law. it was also 1775 at the end and it would have been interesting to see how things changed after 1776 - a big year, politically.
In what has been a very consistent 4 star series for me I think this last book was the least successful of them all.

I felt that it tried too hard to be dramatic and it ended up coming across as over the top.

The characters are still wonderful, the setting stellar and the writing great but I think the story suffered a little.
Dennis Fischman
Jan 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery
I know I have read something else in this series, and enjoyed it more. The characters are lightly sketched in, depending on the reader to be familiar with them already. The narrator is like Watson to the detective's Holmes, only not as consistent a voice. The series is probably worthwhile for fans of Sherlock Holmes-style mysteries, but start at the beginning. ...more
The suicide of a lord happens at the same time a hypnotism specialist arrives in London--a man patronized by the lord's beautiful wife. It's a coincidence the blind Sir John Fielding can't fail to notice. Older language might put some off, and some of the plot was pretty predictable, but a good clean listen nonetheless. ...more
Jun 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Maybe a 3.5. This is the last of the series, and I am sad to see it end. This last one was completed and published after Alexander died--thus the 3.5. But still worth reading to finish out the series.
Nov 28, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
Another Sir John Fielding mystery - Jeremy is older now, and is confronted with a series of bizarre deaths in London. Mesmer's new theory of 'animal magnetism' and hypnotism are discussed here, and have something to do with the mystery. ...more
May 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
While this book did have a few redeeming qualities, due to a lack of editorial contribution I would not recommend.

My Rating System:
* couldn't finish, ** wouldn't recommend, *** would recommend, **** would read again, ***** have read again.
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Pseudonym of American journalist and author Bruce Cook.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Bruce Alexander Cook (1932–2003) was an American journalist and author who wrote under the pseudonym Bruce Alexander, creating historical novels about a blind 18th century Englishman and also a 20th century Mexican-American detective.

Other books in the series

Sir John Fielding (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Blind Justice (Sir John Fielding, #1)
  • Murder in Grub Street (Sir John Fielding, #2)
  • Watery Grave (Sir John Fielding, #3)
  • Person or Persons Unknown (Sir John Fielding, #4)
  • Jack, Knave and Fool (Sir John Fielding, #5)
  • Death of a Colonial (Sir John Fielding, #6)
  • The Color of Death (Sir John Fielding, #7)
  • Smuggler's Moon (Sir John Fielding, #8)
  • An Experiment In Treason (Sir John Fielding, #9)
  • The Price of Murder (Sir John Fielding, Book 10)

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