Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Watery Grave (Sir John Fielding, #3)” as Want to Read:
Watery Grave (Sir John Fielding, #3)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Watery Grave (Sir John Fielding #3)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  905 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
'Blind Justice', the first novel featuring legendary eighteenth-century London judge Sir John Fielding, was one of the most highly acclaimed mystery debuts of 1994. 'Murder in Grub Street', the second novel, was named by The New York Times Book Review as one of the Notable Books of 1995 in crime fiction. Now Fielding returns in his most baffling case yet.

John Fielding was
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 1st 1997 by Berkley (first published September 24th 1996)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Watery Grave, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Watery Grave

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Christopher Taylor
As of this book I have now read the entire John Fielding mysteries series, and in my opinion, this is the best of the set. The characterizations are very fine, the various elements of the mystery well woven, the legalities and complexities of the legal system from the time fascinating, and most of all the events not only ring true but are very engaging.

Jeremy Proctor continues to be a bit of a Mary Sue (everyone likes him, he's stronger than most, smarter than most, more skillful than most, alwa
Jul 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The blind Sir John Fielding has his assistant young Jeremy Protor to assist him in his investigations into various crimes and in this, the third novel in the Fielding series, he is asked to investigate the death of a ship's captain while on the high seas.

The captain was constantly ill, and regularly drinking and was therefore confined to his cabin. Another member of the crew took on the role of acting captain and it was he who made the accusation that another crew member had pushed the captain o
May 26, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Beware of uber-spoilers about the ending:

(view spoiler)
Sandy Shin
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
The tird Sir John Fielding book deals with the special case of the British Navy and the lengths taken to make sure the Navy's public face eas not besmirched. A harder read because of the injustice done is so disappointing, but still a book I enjoyed.
Paula Dembeck
Dec 02, 2013 rated it liked it
This is the third book in the Sir John Fielding series.
It is about a year since the events of the last book, Murder on Grub Street. Jeremy Proctor is now 14 years old and settled in the home of Sir John who is married to the second Lady Fielding. Tom Durham, Lady Fielding's son has arrived after spending two years at sea aboard Her Majesty’s frigate the Adventure and is heartily welcomed home. But when the crew arrives in Tower Wharf we learn there is a senior officer who has been accused of mur
Bruce Alexander (like Elliot Roosevelt and Stephanie Barron) takes his detective from real life. This time, it is Sir John Fielding, the famous London Magistrate known as the "Blind Beak." His Watson is Jeremy Proctor, a young orphan Sir John has taken under his wing.

In Watery Grave, the third of the series, Sir John is approached by his old friend Sir Robert Redmond, currently Lord High Admiral of the British Royal Navy. His nephew, John Landon is an officer on the HMS Adventure and has been ac
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Watery Grave” is certainly one of the better historical mystery series I have read in the past 20 years. (Thanks Mary!) “Murder in Grub Street,” the second of the Sir John Fielding mysteries, was named by The New York Times Book Review as one of the Notable Books of 1995 in crime fiction. Now in “Watery Grave,” Sir John Fielding returns in one of his most perplexing cases yet, both for Fielding and the reader. Another intriguing aspect of Bruce Alexander’s historical series is that his main cha ...more
Brandy Painter
From a review originally posted here.

Watery Grave takes a place a little over a year after Murder ends. Jeremy is now a settled member of the Fielding home. Sir John has remarried and the new Lady Fielding is welcoming home her son, Tom, who has been aboard ship in the Navy for the past three years. The ship he crews has come into port with a scandal and an old Admiral friend of Sir John's asks him to help in the investigation. The Captain of the ship went overboard during a storm and the First
Aug 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was a little slow to get into this one, but once I did, I remembered why I love the series so much. Great writing. The characters are interesting, true-to-life, and seem to be accurate, historically (although I'm admittedly not an expert). The story is widely varied- gripping, grotesque, comical, heart-rending... and I'm left appreciating again Sir John's sense of justice and pursuit of truth.

Two additional thoughts:
(view spoiler)
Rena Sherwood
I didn't like this book as much as the previous two since it was much sadder. I don't want to explain more than that since it would give away too many spoilers. I'm still glad I read the book and will continue with the series. I wish I knew more of the history of that time but from what I do know of it, the portrayal of the Royal Navy was accurate.


And it was just a gosh-darn interesting book in and of itself. I do recommend reading at least the first book in the series Blind Justice before this
Jan 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Again a new author for me. Sir John Fielding is the Magistrate of the Bow Street Court in London of the 1700s and having been blinded while serving in the Navy is assisted by a young boy of 14. Jeremy is Sir Johns legs and eyes and general help around the court and living quarters which are attached. Sir John is called by an old friend in the Navy who has been put in charge of the court marshal of a Lieutenant from a Man-o-war currently at anchor of Tower Hill. When Sir Joseph hears the charges ...more
John Lee
The third in the series that I have read and more of Sir John's life story is revealed- his 2nd marriage which was just mentioned in the previous book and also the cause of his blindness.
The main story (pardon the pun) centres around a death on board a Navy ship and although I thoughtthat the story got a little bogged down somewhere near the middle, it finished as quite a page turner.
I have said before that I have read another series of books about Sir John Fieldings court and in Watery Grave th
Jan 07, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Did he fall or was he pushed? From the deck of the H. M. S. Adventure in a heavy storm in 1769, that is. Sir John Fielding’s interest in this case began when the ship returned to London carrying Sir John’s stepson, Tom Durham, a crew member. The unfortunate death was that of the captain of the ship which occurred earlier in the voyage, but Lt. Landon wasn’t charged with the crime until the ship returned to London. Fielding a blind magistrate, is asked by Admiral Robert Redmond to help with the c ...more
Denise Kettering
Oct 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Sir John Fielding and his young helper Jeremy Proctor return in the third installment of the Sir John Fielding mystery series. The story unravels at a pace that is easy to follow, but keeps the reader on her toes as she follows the plot through its many twists and turns. The historical details are very accurate and realistic throughout this series, a trend that continues in this book. In this book, Sir John and Jeremy set out to solve a mystery that occurred on the HMS Adventure, where Sir John' ...more
Jul 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: victorian, mystery
Another EPIC book -- a really nice surprise! Well researched, nice Victorian setting and a great mystery to boot! Well, I say mystery. There was never any doubt as to who the culprit was, only what would happen to the accused -- and that was a surprise, although one that was believably so. The story was more about the personalities and the intricacies of Victorian law. The down side of Victorian life was painted over a bit, but it was acknowledged and there, much more than say, The Death Collect ...more
Apr 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though this is the third in the series it is the first Sir John Fielding mysteries I have read. I plan to read others. The style of writing matches the time frame and setting - eighteenth century London and takes a little getting used to. Once into it however, it flows smoothly. I don't know about the others but this one is written from the point of view of Sir John's ward, Jeremy. Apparently early tomes tell the story of how he became Sir John's ward. Sir John is a blind magistrate in London wh ...more
Apr 19, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very enjoyable mystery series based on the London magistrate who established the first metropolitan police force in the City-the Bow Street Runners. The author writes in a style evocative of the period, and the main characters are interesting and likable. This wasn't my favorite in the series so far, but it did present an unusual portrait of the Navy's twisted code of ethics at the time (hopefully evolved, though I'm not convinced it has changed enough). If you are looking for somethin ...more
Feb 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I didn't think much of this book at the beginning, it really grew on me. The author I think struggled in his last book with creating dialogue that was appropriate to the period but didn't sound twee; he struggled also with having a young protagonist who was observant but not too precious. In this book, he appears to have resolved those issues, and it's fun to see his narrator grow in maturity. That said, were 90% of women in 1760s London really prostitutes? In the author's view, this se ...more
Sep 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'm a big fan of Sir John Fielding. He's a man after my own heart. I love his righteousness, integrity, keen intelligence and sense of humour. And I love Jeremy Proctor, Jimmy Bunkins and Black Jack Bilbo as well as Mr. Bailey and his colleagues, Lady Fielding or Annie. In other words, those characters are so vivid, so friendly, the stories are so enthralling and well written, I can't wait to read their following adventures. After reading the first three novels, I can't tell which one I prefer, ...more
Nov 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
best in the series so far. i like the way jeremy is maturing and relationships are evolving.this was a good story. alexander is good at matching up details and not leaving things hanging. he doesn't come up with some odd thing at the end that doesn't relate to anything else.he reminds us of previous history without going into too many old details, and his characters keep unfolding . he's just good at storytelling and this time, he showed that a good story doesn't require a neat and tidy ending. ...more
Watery Grave - VG
Bruce Alexander - 3rd in series
A naval lieutenant is charged with the murder of his captain and Sir John Fielding is invited to intervene by his old friend Admiral Robert Redmond. Of course, the matter isn't anywhere near as cut and dried as the navy would have everyone believe and Sir John eventually uncovers sinister happening on board His Majesty's Ship Adventure.

An example of when preserving an image is more important than justice
Apr 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
The third John Fielding novel. This one focuses on the navy. One officer claims another threw the captain overboard during a storm. That officer says he was trying to pull him back in. Anyone who disagrees with the claim of murder winds up dead. The admiral is an old friend and brings in Sir John and yet when the true motive comes out tries to silence him. Sad tale, but Jeremy is always fun as a narrator.
Pamela B
Another worthy entry in this series starring Sir John Fielding, the blind and wise 18th century magistrate and his very young, penniless assistant. This is my third read of this series, and each time I start slow and am not sure I'm into it. But I keep reading, and about half way I'm totally enjoying it. I like London history, so that increases my interest. I think these books read better with time between each book, but each one brings enjoyment.
This was only the third part in Sir John Fielding series and so far it was a delight, especially this part, which was truly tragic at the end, an innocent had to die, horrible. But I least John Fielding dealt with the killer appropriately, he got the same fate, death by hanging.
This is especially well written series in my humble opinion, each mysterious case is special, unique in it's own way, and really pulling.
I'm definitely looking forward for more!!
Jun 02, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: will-not-finish
Not my style. Written in a period voice. (Not an English major. Not sure that's the correct term.). Also talks to "the reader" occasionally. Another technique I am not fond of. Finally, in an early chapter there was "a myriad of reasons". That's simply bad grammar and editing which I am unable to ignore.
Dec 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brent is ahead of me in this series. He liked this one better than the first two. Guess I better get it read.

I think that Bruce Alexander's story telling gets better as his series goes along. I did like this book. And even though it was fairly obvious from the beginning who the real culprit was, it was fun to watch as "Sir John" unraveled and trapped him. Great series!
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm really fond of this series. The characters are growing and becoming even more human with each book, as if we've met (despite the difference of 2 1/2 centuries and their fictionality). The texture of the 18th century is so compelling, and the plot is believable and intriguing. On to book 4.
Highly recommended.
Feb 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
When it comes to institutions that have caused a lot of grief, the British Navy is up there with the Vatican in terms of corruption, arrogance, and placing itself above the law, and certainly above any individual. I am impressed with what Alexander does NOT say; he clearly has a lot of faith in his readers, which I appreciate in a mystery writer.

The last paragraph is devastating.
Sandy Bell
Mar 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Sir John Fielding Mysteries are superb historical fiction. I love being transported to 1760's London. His artful writing creates lovable, colorful characters. The simplicity of his story leads me to a 4 star instead of a 5. Yet, I'm not saying that is a problem because I have fun - from start to finish.
Second in Alexander's Sir John Fielding series. In this book, young Jeremy Proctor helps Sir John investigate an accusation of shipboard murder, hindered by the Royal Navy. Justice is both done and not done in this excellent story. 18th century London is well portrayed.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
watery gray 1 10 Nov 04, 2011 07:05PM  
  • Whom the Gods Love (Julian Kestrel Mysteries, #3)
  • The Black Hand (Barker & Llewelyn, #5)
  • Last Respects (Inspector Sloan #10)
  • Why Mermaids Sing (Sebastian St. Cyr, #3)
  • Good Morning, Irene (Irene Adler, #2)
  • Beneath a Silent Moon (Rannoch/Fraser Chronological Order, #7)
  • Death in the Dark Walk (John Rawlings, #1)
  • Death of a Squire (Templar Knight Mystery #2)
  • The Gap in the Curtain (Sir Edward Leithen #4)
  • Gone to Her Death (Lloyd & Hill, #3)
  • The Chatter of the Maidens (Hawkenlye Mysteries, #4)
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.
More about Bruce Alexander

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

Mystery & Thrillers Deals

  • The Bricklayer (Steve Vail, #1)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Among the Wicked (Kate Burkholder #8)
    $7.99 $2.99
  • The Snow Garden
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Breath of Malice
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Everything We Keep (Everything #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Almost Dead (Lizzy Gardner #5)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Fatal Frost (Dewberry Farm Mysteries, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Remains of Innocence (Joanna Brady, #16)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Finding Claire Fletcher (Claire Fletcher, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Outfoxed
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Huntress Moon (The Huntress/FBI Thrillers, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Zeroes
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Last Witness (C.J. Townsend Thriller)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Dead Weight (Lizzy Gardner #2)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Weekend Warriors (Sisterhood)
    $5.99 $0.99
  • The Lullaby Girl (Angie Pallorino, #2)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Eye for an Eye (Dewey Andreas, #4)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Short Drop (Gibson Vaughn, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Bridged (Callahan & McLane, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • You Only Live Twice (James Bond, #12)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Thunderball (James Bond, #9)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Casino Royale (James Bond, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • For Your Eyes Only (James Bond, #8)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Live and Let Die (James Bond, #2)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Dr. No
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Moonraker (James Bond, #3)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Diamonds are Forever (James Bond)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Spy Who Loved Me (James Bond, #10)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • From Russia With Love (James Bond, #5)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Blinds
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Little Boy Lost
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Blonde Faith
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Flush
    $6.99 $1.99
  • A Deadly Business
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Private Justice (Newpointe 911, #1)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Cutting Room (C.J. Townsend Thriller Book 3)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • First to Kill (Nathan McBride, #1)
    $5.49 $1.99
  • In the Barren Ground
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Blood Moon (The Huntress/FBI Thrillers, #2)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Lie In Wait (Canaan Crime #1)
    $2.99 $0.99
  • The Legacy
    $10.99 $1.99
  • A Fierce Radiance
    $9.74 $1.99
  • Her Final Breath (Tracy Crosswhite, #2)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Taxidermist's Daughter
    $7.74 $1.99
  • Depraved Heart (Kay Scarpetta, #23)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Standing in Another Man's Grave (Inspector Rebus, #18)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • In the Clearing (Tracy Crosswhite, #3)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Cop Hater (87th Precinct, #1)
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Jekyll Revelation
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Truth Be Told (Rogue Justice #2)
    $2.99 $0.99
  • The Book of Beloved
    $4.99 $1.99
  • A Merciful Death (Mercy Kilpatrick #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Afterlife
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Vines
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Obsessed (Lizzy Gardner #4)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • River's Edge (Cape Refuge Series, #3)
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Known (Bone Secrets, #5)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • A Pedigree To Die For (A Melanie Travis Mystery Book 1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Vanished (Callahan & McLane #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Hidden (Bone Secrets, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Kane and Abel (Kane and Abel, #1)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Bone Music (Burning Girl, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • In the Blue Hour
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Cold Moon (The Huntress/FBI Thrillers, #3)
    $6.49 $1.99
  • Stirred (Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels #8)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Raven Black (Shetland Island, #1)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Trapped Girl (Tracy Crosswhite, #4)
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Neon Lawyer (Brigham Theodore, #1)
    $4.49 $1.99
  • Coyote Waits (Navajo Mysteries, #10)
    $6.99 $1.99
  • The Sinister Pig (Navajo Mysteries, #16)
    $9.74 $1.99
  • The Kept Woman (Will Trent #8)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Claiming Felicity (Ace Security, #4)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Snowblind (Dark Iceland #1)
    $7.09 $2.99
  • All the Beautiful Brides (Graveyard Falls, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Bitter Medicine (V.I. Warshawski, #4)
    $8.49 $1.99
  • A Merciful Truth (Mercy Kilpatrick, #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Playing Dead
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Look Behind You
    $5.49 $1.99
  • Where the Memories Lie
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Cape Refuge Collection: Cape Refuge, Southern Storm, River's Edge, Breaker's Reef (Cape Refuge Series)
    $7.99 $1.99