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Ian Hamilton Mysteries #1

Edinburgh Twilight

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As a new century approaches, Edinburgh is a city divided. The wealthy residents of New Town live in comfort, while Old Town’s cobblestone streets are clotted with criminals, prostitution, and poverty.

Detective Inspector Ian Hamilton is no stranger to Edinburgh’s darkest crimes. Scarred by the mysterious fire that killed his parents, he faces his toughest case yet when a young man is found strangled in Holyrood Park.

With little evidence aside from a strange playing card found on the body, Hamilton engages the help of his aunt, a gifted photographer, and George Pearson, a librarian with a shared interest in the criminal mind. But the body count is rising. As newspapers spin tales of the “Holyrood Strangler,” panic sets in across the city. And with each victim, the murderer is getting closer to Hamilton, the one man who dares to stop him.

446 pages, Kindle Edition

First published September 5, 2017

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About the author

Carole Lawrence

6 books373 followers
Pseudonym for C.E. Lawrence

Author Carole Lawrence is an award-winning novelist, poet, composer, and playwright. Among her published works are eleven novels, six novellas, and dozens of short stories, articles, and poems, many of which appear in translation internationally.

She is a two-time Pushcart Poetry Prize nominee and winner of the Euphoria Poetry Prize, the Eve of St. Agnes Poetry Award, the Maxim Mazumdar playwriting prize, the Jerry Jazz Musician award for short fiction, and the Chronogram Literary Fiction Award. Her plays and musicals have been produced in several countries as well as on NPR; her physics play Strings, nominated for an Innovative Theatre Award, was recently produced at the Kennedy Center. A Hawthornden Fellow, she is on the faculty of NYU and Gotham Writers, as well as the Cape Cod and San Miguel Writers' Conferences.

She enjoys outdoor sports such as hiking, biking, and horseback riding, and you can often find her cooking and hunting for wild mushrooms. She also writes under the names C. E. Lawrence and Carole Buggé.

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Displaying 1 - 29 of 842 reviews
Profile Image for Luca.
65 reviews21 followers
August 7, 2017
Edinburgh Twilight by Carole Lawrence was a bit like a walk down memory lane. I am fortunate enough to have been to Edinburgh, the enthralling capital city of Scotland. Thus I’ve been to several places that play an integral part in this novel. I’ve seen Arthur’s Seat, Holyrood Palace, High Street, St Giles' Cathedral and basically all the tourist attractions in the Old Town. Talks of these places reminded me of my time in Edinburgh, which, at that time, was bustling and noisy. It was during The Fringe festival when street performers overtake the city and spectators come from all around the world to enjoy all kinds of shows.

This is the atmosphere that Edinburgh Twilight reminded me of with its descriptions of markets that filled the city with the noise of people haggling and trying to find the best products. Of course my experience is of the modern Edinburgh while Carole Lawrence depicts a city in the late 1800s where streets were often dark and filthy and people died of cholera.

That’s not how Ian Carmichael Hamilton lost his parents, though. It was a fire that still haunts him and what is actually the main reason why Hamilton became a policeman. By the young age of 27, he’s become a Detective Inspector who is looking for a case that would make his career. He immediately finds it when a young man’s body is discovered by Arthur’s Seat with a unique playing card on him.

This is how Hamilton's hunt starts which is decorated by more and more victims all around Edinburgh, all with one playing card from the same enigmatic deck of cards. But Hamilton isn’t alone, his loyal and quick-learning right hand in the investigation is Detective Sergeant Dickerson. The two of them go off on a wild goose chase to stop the serial killer as quickly as they can.

It wasn’t just the two of them whom I adored instantly but Derek McNair, an urchin with a big mouth, the always grumpy DCI Crawford, George Pearson, a reference librarian and self proclaimed sleuth and Donald Hamilton, Ian's brother (who might be gay so I hope we'll get to know more about him in book #2 because...diversity!)

I think the strongest point of this novel was the way it was written, characters well developed and with a great eye for details. It added even more to its quality that Hamilton couldn’t seem to refrain from quoting Shakespeare and many Robert Burns poems are referenced as well. The killer and his motives are well described as well which help you understand the why in the murders.

Long story short, I fell in love with the characters – Hamilton, Dickerson and Edinburgh, of course. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series!

I received a copy of this book from Thomas & Mercer via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Debbie.
3,210 reviews60 followers
July 7, 2018
The characters were well-developed and interesting, but I didn't finish the book because there was a fair amount of bad language and graphic sexual scenes. The killer was sexually aroused by killing, so we got a graphic masturbation scene and I quit at the scene of him picking up a male partner at a bar. At halfway through, Ian is doggedly asking questions but hasn't gotten very far in solving the mystery. As we have scenes from the killers POV, I think I know who it is, however it's realistic that Ian hasn't guessed. The book wasn't bad in terms of writing, but it's not a book that I care to read.

UPDATE: In my experience, writers that are graphic in one scene tend to do so again in similar scenes. I assumed that if the masturbation scene was mildly graphic then the implied upcoming sexual encounter was going to be graphic as well, and I quit reading at that point. However, Nellie kindly informed me in the comments that "...the only sex scene in it was the masturbation scene..." I prefer no graphic sexual scenes, minimal gore, and no bad language. I didn't like to be in the head of and watching a character who is sexually aroused by mentally reliving the details of his murders. I didn't care for the 25 uses of God, Christ, or Jesus in a swearing sense or the 20 uses of d*mn, 5 uses of h*ll, 1 use of f*ck, 1 use of fa ggot, 8 uses of bug ger, and British readers may object to the 33 uses of bl**dy. (There may be some bad language I'm overlooking as it's been a long time since I read this book and merely did a search for the words I vaguely remembered being used.)

I received an ebook review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
Profile Image for Veronica .
744 reviews177 followers
February 13, 2018
I listened to this on audiobook and I'm pretty sure this is a case where I would've enjoyed the story more if I'd read it myself. The narrator's voice sounded a bit dry to me and though he did a pretty good job differentiating the voices for all the male characters, his attempts to do the female voices left a lot to be desired.

As for the actual story, there's a serial killer in 1880's Edinburgh and D.I. Ian Hamilton, a man haunted by his own tragic past, tasks himself with bringing the killer to justice. I never quite warmed up to Hamilton. He quotes a lot of Shakespeare which was okay at first but grew progressively annoying the more he did it. He's also fairly rude to several characters who didn't deserve it. It also seemed to me that the major clues in the case came because of the efforts of other characters. It never really felt to me that D.I. Hamilton ever did much actual sleuthing himself, unless you count declaring that the second victim was killed by the same person even before seeing the body as proper detective work. The story also felt longer than it needed to be. I attribute part of this to the fact that the author gives life summaries to practically every one-off character that appears on the page. Overall I wasn't sold on the characters or the murderous plot but I may still give the second book a try when it comes out - though I'll read it myself to see if that makes a difference in my level of enjoyment and investment.
Profile Image for Olya.
399 reviews1 follower
March 29, 2018
American snooze more than Edinburgh twilight. Madam, throwing in an "upon" every once in a while does not make your writing more Scottish - it's still as American as you are. Adding in a ton of Shakespearean and Baconian and other such literary quotations does not make your characters seem more British (or smarter) - it does make you seem particularly insecure though.
There was no hook in this story - nothing that would make me want to find out who (which was revealed pretty much from chapter two), why (because he's a psychopath with daddy (and probably mommy) issues - the author is a modern American, after all), or how the detective was going to put all this together (at his current rate, it would be through divine intervention).
Profile Image for Alaina.
6,290 reviews215 followers
March 17, 2018
You're welcome.

Thank you, thank you to my amazing Buddy Reader for life (basically) Jennifer because you have brought this book into my life. I can't wait for all of the other book we have planned to read for this month.. and many more throughout the year!

Now onto this book. Edinburgh Twilight was fascinating to listen to. God, I loved the audio book so much I had no idea that I stayed late at work. I was so focused on the book I didn't even realize the time - which was so funny because everyone came up to me and asked why I wasn't home. However, they already knew that my soul was being sucked into another book so it didn't really matter when I went home because the book was going to be finished today no matter what!

Now I loved Ian's character BUT I loved Aunt Lillian even more. Now the whole murder aspect got me hooked from the start. I love a good murder mystery or ya know a serial killer every now and then. Well, look no further because this book delivers just that!

The killer in this book has a super creepy voice that will make you shiver all over and probably cringe or poop your pants. I cringed but to each their own. Now the killer, who goes by The Holyrood Killer, leaves a calling card on the victims bodies. Now cards kind of make me think of the joker or like a magician killer. Whatever helps the killer sleep at night is fine by me. Once the killer starts targeting people that Ian knows.. well shit hits the fan. He's running out of time, friends, and suspects.

Overall, I really liked the book. I think listening to the audio version made me like it a whole lot more. I loved the accents of every character that the narrator used. I can't wait to dive into the next book.. whenever I get the chance.

Profile Image for Purple Country Girl (Sandy).
150 reviews23 followers
December 31, 2017
I received a copy of Edinburgh Twilight from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Edinburgh Twilight is the first book in Carol Lawrence’s Ian Hamilton mystery series set in Edinburgh, Scotland, in the 1880s. Ian is a Detective Inspector with a sad history: his parents were killed and Ian was injured in a fire when he was a child and he still has physical and emotional scars from the tragedy. Ian’s father was a policeman but the suspicious fire was what really pushed Ian to become a policeman himself. After his parents died, he was raised by his Aunt Lillian. He has an older brother, Donald, but he is not a big part of Ian’s life, having drowned his guilt for not being there the night of the fire and his own emotional scars in alcohol and gambling.

Ian is eager to have his first, big career-making case and, when the body of a young man is discovered at the bottom of a rocky hill in Holyrood Park, he may have found just the case. It is assumed the man fell to his death but Ian isn’t quite so sure and requests an autopsy. It is soon determined that the young man was strangled. The only clue is an odd-looking playing card found in the victim’s pocket. Unfortunately, it is only the beginning as more victims are discovered strangled, all with a mysterious card left behind.

Aided in his investigation by a young sergeant named Dickerson, Ian starts to scour Edinburgh in the hopes of finding any clue in unmasking the killer who has been dubbed the “Holyrood Strangler.” Ian is also assisted by his Aunt Lillian; a librarian named George Pearson who is interested in the inner workings of the criminal mind; and a young, cheeky street urchin named Derek McNair. They have to work fast as the killer is on a spree and the victims are piling up quickly.

The characters and the atmosphere really shine in Edinburgh Twilight. I was really impressed with how fleshed out and real the characters are. Ian Hamilton is a flawed but strong character who seems calm and collected but tends to lose his cool quickly at times. His loyal assistant, Dickerson, is loveable and more intelligent than he seems on the surface. Their boss, DCI Crawford, is super grumpy and not impressed with Ian’s abilities at first but he gradually and reluctantly begins to get on board with Ian’s ways. In addition to the characters, Lawrence also brings 1880s Edinburgh to life with her wonderful period detail. You can tell she put a love of love into creating the setting and characters.

I’d say the only downsides were the quoting of various famous figures like Shakespeare and Burns as well as the inclusion of Ian’s poetry. Lawrence has both Ian and DCI Crawford uttering quotes quite often and it was fine at first but it did get a little annoying as it continued throughout the book. I didn’t really care for some of Ian’s poetry being included in the book but I’m not a poetry fan so other readers may not mind it.

I admit that I initially selected Edinburgh Twilight due to the beautiful and intriguing cover. It really grabbed my attention and I requested a copy after just glancing at the description. I’m really glad I did because Edinburgh Twilight turned out to be a really good read and one I recommend to historical mystery buffs. I look forward to the next book in the series.
Profile Image for Alex Cantone.
Author 3 books34 followers
July 19, 2022
“Suspicion is a heavy armor—’”
“‘And with its weight it impedes more than it protects.’ I don’t believe Robert Burns was talking about police work when he wrote those lines, sir.”

As author Ian Rankin’s bluff DI John Rebus, fighting crime in contemporary Edinburgh, is a favourite of mine, I was pleased when a GR friend in Canada introduced me to the works of Carole Lawrence, and her fictional character DI Ian Hamilton, set in the dying years of the nineteenth century.

Here are the familiar landmarks of the steep incline to the top of Arthur’s Seat, the moody volcanic ridge looming over the city of Edinburgh, Holyrood Park and the Cowgate – in contemporary Edinburgh part of the nightclub scene, 120 years earlier the access point to the weekly markets for farmers herding their cattle and sheep over cobblestone streets slick with rain or sleet. The sounds and smells aside, visions here of pickpockets milling in and around housewives and servants out shopping; rowdy pubs and street fights, wealthy merchants and the poor whose number is swelled by those escaping the potato famine in Ireland (those of means buying a passage to the states or Australia).

Amidst all this, DI Hamilton is out to catch a serial killer, with a modus operandi of strangulation, seemingly not for financial gain but sadistic pleasure. With a doughty Sergeant, an inquisitive librarian and a street urchin, he searches for clues to his identity.

DI Hamilton is a sympathetic figure, much-given to quoting the bard and Robert Burns (even Robert Browning gets a mention), haunted by the house fire that took his parents and which he narrowly escaped, a wastrel of a brother turning up unannounced, suspicion arising that he might be the killer?

The buildings of Old Town loomed above them, seeming to lean in as the streets twisted and wound around one another. Most of the windows were dark, though the occasional gas lamp still flickered behind curtains.

For this reader, the pleasure ran in the descriptions of the houses and crowded tenements, the wynds and closes, in an era predating motor vehicles, electricity and the telephone. Here are Hanson cabs and other horse-drawn vehicles and the leeries - men with poles lighting the gas lamps in the streets. This was a good introduction to a new series and one I will be following.

Verdict: atmospheric.
Profile Image for Annie.
135 reviews12 followers
August 28, 2017
Edinburgh Twilight is set in the year 1881 and is book #1 in the Ian Hamilton mystery series. Detective Inspector Ian Carmichael Hamilton, now aged 27, joined the Edinburgh police at the age of 17 and quickly worked his way up the ranks.

A man’s body (Stephen Wycherly) has been found at the bottom of Arthur’s Seat in Holyrood park. Initially, it was thought that the death was due to suicide. However, after some facts emerge about Wycherly, Hamilton believes that the man had been murdered. He goes to see Chief Inspector Robert Lyle Crawford and asks if an autopsy can be done. Crawford refuses, but gives permission for Hamilton to go to the morgue to view the body and instructs Sgt Dickerson to accompany Hamilton. At the morgue, they find that Wycherly had very little in his pockets – a dirty handkerchief, a set of keys and a 3 of clubs playing card with a very unusual design. They also deduced that from his appearance, the man probably worked in an office. Hamilton spotted something on the body that he was hoping to find and went to visit his aunt, Lillian Grey, a keen photographer. He arranged for his aunt to meet him at the morgue the following morning, to take photos of the body. Once the photos had been developed, Hamilton went to see Crawford to present his evidence that Wycherly had in fact been strangled to death. Crawford agreed and asked Hamilton and Dickerson to investigate the murder.

As the investigations continued, it was established that Wycherly had worked in a solicitors office. Hamilton went to talk to Eugene Harley, Wycherly’s employer. Harley told him that on the day of his death, Wycherly had received a letter which appeared to cause him distress. Caroline Harley, a colleague of Wycherly, was not in work, but Hamilton said that he would at some point visit her at home to ask the questions that he had for her. As he left the office, a man started to follow him.

Hamilton went to visit George Frederick Pearson, a university librarian and an amateur sleuth. He asked him for books on strangulation. Pearson managed to find him one crime book and said that he had more books on crime in his own personal collection at home. They arranged to meet the following day.

Another man’s body was found. The man’s body was found by two street urchins, Derek McNair and his friend Freddie. They immediately went to tell the authorities. The dead man was Robert Tierney, he had been strangled and a 4 of clubs playing card was found at the scene. The playing card was of the same unusual design as the one found in Wycherly’s pocket. Hamilton said that both deaths had been committed by the same person.

When Hamilton met Pearson in the pub, Pearson showed him a French newspaper article about two deaths in Paris, also from strangulation. Pearson said that the Paris murders could be related to the Edinburgh murders. After Hamilton left the pub, he went to the post office and sent a telegram to Chief Inspector Louis Gerard of the Surete Nationale. Gerard replied and stated that he was going to travel to Edinburgh from Paris the following day. When Gerard arrived, Hamilton, Crawford and Gerard had a meeting and decided that indeed the deaths were linked. The 1 and 2 of clubs playing cards, had been found on the bodies in Paris.

Derek McNair came to see Hamilton. He had a message from Elizabeth Sutherland, Wycherly’s landlady. McNair said that Mrs Sutherland needed to see Hamilton as she had something to tell him. However, before Hamilton could talk to her, she was killed. Hamilton and Dickerson, are able to establish that the death even though it was from poison, not strangulation, her murder was still committed by the same person.

The storyline unfolds and other characters are introduced. Henry Standish Wright (alias Monsieur le Coq) a hypnotist currently doing shows at the local theatre. Wright’s mysterious brother visits him. Hamilton’s older brother Donald arrives unexpectedly at Hamilton’s flat on Victoria Terrace. Hamilton becomes quite suspicious of his brother as he finds a pack of playing cards with the same unusual design in his brother’s rucksack.

The next murder is that of Kerry O’Donohue. On his body was the 5 of clubs playing card. Gerard did not hear about this murder until later and was very miffed that a police officer did not come to fetch him from his hotel. Gerard later left saying that he had to get back to France.
When Hamilton next saw Pearson, Pearson told him where the playing cards could be purchased. Hamilton asked him how he knew about the playing cards because he was sure that he had not mentioned those details.

Unfortunately, McNair’s friend Freddie was the next to be killed. However, when he was found he was just alive and managed to utter a few words. From those words, Hamilton was able to establish who the murderer was.

A very enjoyable read and I am looking forward to reading book # 2 in this series. A great detective mystery using the old grey matter to solve the crime, instead of modern technology and DNA etc.

Many thanks to Netgalley, the author and the publisher for the digital copy in return for the above review.
Profile Image for Melanie.
551 reviews291 followers
January 13, 2020
Goodness this was boring. Every single item everywhere got described and the constant references to poets - jeez
December 3, 2019
3.5 stars

At twenty seven, Ian Hamilton is the youngest Detective Inspector in the Edinburgh City Police Department.  Once determined to be a great writer, Hamilton ended up following in his father's footsteps after his parents died in a fire which he believes was set deliberately and left him with scars.
Now Hamilton pursues criminals with a fierce determination and analyzes crime scenes with a keen eye.

When a young man is found at the bottom of a cliff, it is quickly ruled a suicide.  Hamilton isn't so quick to jump to such a conclusion and after viewing the body quickly determines the man was strangled before being thrown from the cliff.  As he investigates, the body count begins to rise and each victim is found with an unusual playing card.

With the help of his widowed aunt and a librarian who studies the criminal mind and the assistance of Sergeant Dickerson, Hamilton must determine who or what all of the victims have in common. Panic is beginning to spread across the city as the newspapers print sensational stories of the "Holyrood Strangler" and it's up to Hamilton to catch the killer.

This was a fun beginning to a historical fiction mystery series.  There's plenty to unpack in Hamilton's past that I'm sure will slowly be revealed over the course of the series. I enjoyed his relationship with the Chief Inspector who has a gruff exterior but is kind deep down and I'm looking forward to getting to know his aunt and Sergeant Dickerson better.

I recommend this book to readers who enjoy historical fiction and mystery.

For more reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com
Profile Image for Amanda.
302 reviews
October 21, 2018
I downloaded this book for free to rate and review it, and I chose it just by its cover. The picture and the title grabbed my attention and I hoped the story would hold my interest just as much. Happily, it did! Though there were a few slow parts that didn't seem to do much to further the plot, I found it hard to put this book down. I'm a big fan of mysteries, though the ones I normally read are set in present day, so it was a really interesting change for me to read one set over 130 years ago, and in Scotland, no less! It was also a change for me to read a book with a male protagonist. Detective Inspector Ian Hamilton is a fascinating character with a complicated family history. He can be altogether too serious and focused on his job, which makes for a great detective. The supporting characters are pretty well developed and realistic, especially when you remember the time and setting of the story. There are hints and clues throughout the story about the culprit, but not too much to give anything away to the reader or the detectives on the case. I'm really excited that this is the first in a series, as I'm really interested in reading more!
Profile Image for Amina.
1,254 reviews265 followers
April 30, 2019
3.5 rounded to 4!

I really enjoyed this novel, not only because it took place in one of the greatest cities: "Edinburgh" but for the very well developed characters, intrigue and the greatly detailed events.
The main character is "Ian Carmichael Hamilton", 27 and already a Detective Inspector. He's gentel, clever and very strict, he also has a past that still haunts him.

A young man is found dead with a playing card on him, first conclusion, the victim slipped and fell, but Ian isn't that sure, he goes to the morgue and finds out it was no accident. As the investigation progresses further, the body count rises and the culprit seems impossible to reach.

With his side-kick "Detective Sergeant Dickerson", the little foxy pickpocket "Derek McNair", the human form of grumpy cat: "DCI Crawford" and a very sharp and gifted photographer for an aunt, Ian will leave no lead unfollowed to put his hand on the now so infamous “Holyrood Strangler”.

A real treat!
Profile Image for Cindy.
950 reviews32 followers
October 16, 2017
I really wanted to like this book but after taking 6 days to make it through chapter 26, I quit.

The cover is what originally caught my eye and I expected a dark mystery. It started out okay but I was losing interest the further that I got into the book. It was very slow and truthfully I became bored.

Since this was first in the series, I was looking forward to having a new series of books to read in the future. But I'm sorry, that won't be happening.

** I received a copy from the publisher and NetGalley. It was my decision to review the book.
Profile Image for Elliot A.
533 reviews39 followers
November 26, 2017
I was given this ARC by NetGalley in return for an honest review.
A serial killer, a detective with his own demons and lots of possible suspects and all set in one of the most captivating cities I ever had the pleasure of visiting. They combine to make for a great detective story that keeps the reader bound in its world long after the story is over.
The characters were fully and richly developed. From the protagonist to the over enthusiastic want-to-be assistant, they all had character traits that kept the reader on their toes. A detective with a few issues that could annoy even the most understanding reader blurred the lines between a person doing good and being good in their own way. And with secondary characters that have their own flaws, it is a perfect ensemble to fill the story with intrigue and mystery.
The plot was a typical murder mystery, but very nicely executed with enough tangents and little red herrings to maintain the readers interest without getting boring, but not too many to distract from the main purpose of the story. In addition, the reader obtains little snippets of the protagonist’s past and character to look forward to the next installment.
The writing was very smooth with a seamless integration of imagery and technical explanation so as not to get too caught up in one or the other. Although, I have to comment on one thing I noticed in the latter part of the story: there was a bit of repetition in the descriptive words used, which took only slightly away from the narration.
Overall, I loved this story and it stayed with me for almost a week after finishing it. If I had the sequel already, I would have started it immediately. I would recommend this story to anyone who loves a good murder mystery, complex characters and Scotland at the turn of the century.
Profile Image for Elaine.
1,551 reviews1 follower
September 24, 2018
I was excited to win a Kindle copy of Edinburgh Twilight from a Goodreads Giveaway, mostly because I was in Edinburgh last December! I climbed Arthur's Seat with a friend and stood on its peak!

I visited most of the landmarks and historical sites mentioned in the story and it was great to see the locations in my head as I read.

DI Ian Hamilton is a tortured wannabe poet, still suffering the loss of his parents in a deadly fire when he was a teenager.

He quotes Shakespeare, bears the scars of the tragedy that fractured his relationship with his oldest brother and is an intuitive and respected detective before the age of 30.

In the first book of the series, he attempts to catch a murderer targeting gay men in 19th century Edinburgh who leaves bizarre calling cards with dancing skeletons on their bodies.

At the same time, a mesmerist by the name of Monsieur Le Coq is in town for a performance who knows more than he should about the local murders. And the bodies continue to pile up.

With a diverse cast of background characters assisting him that include his colleague, DS Dickerson, a local pickpocket named Derek, a librarian named Pearson and his feisty aunt Lillie, Hamilton uses his natural instincts as a rational and sensible man to figure out the clues at a time when modern science and technology have not been developed yet.

As the investigation continues and his wayward brother reappears in his life, Hamilton must come to terms with the loss of his parents and the truths he refused to see in his own family.

The author paints an atmospheric, dismal time in Edinburgh when the poor and rich were seriously divided, tempers flared easily and the criminal element was never more than just a step or two away.

I liked Hamilton, I found him not brilliant but logical, believable, open minded and adaptable to his surroundings.

In the beginning, his constant quoting Shakespeare seemed like an eccentricity but when his superior began to quote Burns to counteract the Shakespeare, it became silly and corny.

The story sort of dragged, considering all the characters and minor characters, plus the short chapters that described how each body was discovered, which I found unnecessary.

The book could have used an edit and shaved off a good 50 pages, at least.

The writing was good but my main issue was the identity of the killer. Who is he?

He's a nobody. He's unremarkable. He has no personal ties to Hamilton. It's not personal. He's just a crazy dude. He's not brilliant. He's not imaginative. He's not interesting. He's just nuts because his daddy beat him.

The End.
Profile Image for Diane Challenor.
350 reviews67 followers
July 9, 2019
“Edinburgh Twilight” is set in Scotland’s city of Edinburgh in 1881, when the police force was in its infancy and forensic science was practically nonexistent. The book’s description of Edinburgh gives me the impression that, if you went looking, you’d be able to find all the landmarks mentioned in the story, if they still exist. In the founding days of the Police Force, collecting evidence and clues was haphazard and depended on the skill of the Detective, the co-operation of his colleagues, reliable information obtained through goodwill, and luck.

Within this first book in the series, the author, Carole Lawrence, takes the opportunity to build the characters, gradually, as the story evolves. By the end of the story, they are fully formed and interesting; the goodies being likeable and the baddies being despicable. In a good way, the book is a bit melodramatic, which suits the story; the reader is held securely, with a good plot, to the very end. A very readable mystery.

The main character, Detective Inspector Ian Hamilton, is a well-read, intelligent and humane individual, who sets out to solve a set of serial killings with very few clues to the identity of the villain. He sprinkles, within his dialogue, short quotes from Robert Burns and Shakespeare which add texture to his character. He is helped in his pursuit of the villain by several well drawn characters, including, his off-sider Sergeant Dickerson, George Pearson, a librarian who insists on helping, along with a street-kid, Derek McNair, who is shrewd, courageous and quirky.

At the beginning of the story, I found the pace is a bit slow and melodramatic, and the narrator, Napoleon Ryan, gave me the impression that at any moment he may read-out those famous words: “It was a dark and stormy night”; happily, he didn’t.

After the first few chapters the pace picks up. The slow pace of the early chapters gave the author an opportunity to build the characters and their back-story, giving way to a good plot that kept me intrigued to the very last page.

I enjoyed the story so much that I’ve purchased the second book in the series, “Edinburgh Dusk”, and I look forward to DI Ian Hamilton’s next escapade.
Profile Image for Kat O'B.
309 reviews11 followers
June 18, 2018
I picked up this free, kindle book because I was headed for a visit to Scotland, so thought I'd try something set there. The story has a decent plot, but the writing is just ok and the setting and Scottish characterization seem very forced, maybe a bit cheesy. For example:

"Ian...was long and lean, solid as a caber, the wooden pole tossed by beefy Scots at the Highland games he had attended as a boy."

"...and drew hos cloak around his shoulders. Made of good Scottish wool, it had been sheared from shaggy Highland sheep, woven on border looms, and sold in the High Street shops lining Edinburgh's famed Royal Mile."

Sorry, these sound like blurbs from a brochure, not something someone would actually say. These are classic examples of the author trying to "tell" rather than "show."

Beth says in her review:
"This is one of those historical mysteries that is supposed to be taking place a long time ago, but feels like the author has done no research and no one checks the anachronisms. I enjoyed the mystery, but there is a lot of clunky dialog."

Don't get me wrong- I read the whole story just for the plot, but the whole time I felt like I was eating poptarts (junk food) for dinner.
Profile Image for Amanda.
1,932 reviews53 followers
December 18, 2018
It took me a moment to get use to the multiple point of views but once I did, it was a great way to progress the mystery of the novel. You really get to know the characters beyond the surface, especially the murderer himself. The mystery was interesting, the characters complex. Set in Scotland with a detective who quotes Shakespeare ... I was a happy reader 😍I'm already looking forward to reading the next book in the series !
Profile Image for Hannah.
31 reviews18 followers
September 20, 2017
Thanks to Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer for allowing me to read this book early

Background summary
This book is set in Edinburgh in 1881 where there is a murderer on the loose whose killing style is to strangle people along with a calling card of leaving a playing card with dancing skeletons on.... It's up to Detective Ian Hamilton and the rest of the Edinburgh Constabulary to catch them.

Thoroughly enjoyable read and very much looking forward to reading part 2 of this series, I wonder how it will carry on. A different detective mystery book using historical methods including the old brain cells to solve crimes instead of having the use of modern forensic science methods such as DNA. This made for a nice change and made the book stand out for me.

Just a warning to anyone wanting to read this book there is quite a dark nature to the murderer. Yeah okay I understand he is a murderer but it was something different and not expecting the author to do. The thing is his character also gets sexually aroused each time they kill. So be prepared for some graphic sexual moments. However I didn't mind this as I found it made the character more realistic because sadly this does happen in real life.

Definitely well worth a read.
Profile Image for Sasha Ambroz.
465 reviews46 followers
January 7, 2022
Such a good read! Perfect start of the year. I forgot when I was so engaged by detective last time. Intriguing story (though we know who the killer is from the start), super solid characters, both main - beautiful highlander detective Ian Hamilton, who is clever, damaged by the family tragedy and I'm sure not so straight he'd like to be - and secondary, all of them. Dynamic dialogues didn't let me put the book down and I wasn't surprised when in the end I read that the author is also a playwriter (author also confesses her love for gathering wild mushrooms and I'm like in love). And Edinburgh, my love, lives and breathes and fucks with the head as a perfect villain.
Profile Image for Hannah.
305 reviews15 followers
February 22, 2019
Edit: I forgot to say that I listened to this book and HATED the narrator. His Scottish accent is great and creepy but his female characters were atrocious. Honestly. They all sounded the same and like what a 8 year old boy sounds like when he is imitating his sisters, just high pitched and squeaky.

I was really waffling between a 2 and a 3 but decided that since I would read the next in the series there must be more that I liked about it then didn't like. The pacing was great and using multiple perspective chapters to create ambiguity around the murderers identity worked well. I like Ian; he was smart, capable and self aware. We didn't get to see a tremendous amount of actual detecting in this mystery, but I enjoyed the suspense nonetheless.

What did not work for me was the overwhelming number of similes, metaphors and overwrought anthropomorphism. They were far more likely to distract from the story then to help set the scene.

Dawn slunk timidly through the streets of the city the next morning, as if afraid of what it might find.

The sky was slinging down sleet in thick long shafts that caught the light from gas-lamps, shinning like the tails of tiny comets hurtling from the night sky.

They had their own rules, regulations, and rituals known only to them. Secrecy was their constant companion, silence their motto. They were the lamplighters and night watchmen, thieves and brigands, pickpockets and prostitutes. And they lived in the spaces between waking and sleeping, their existence's deep and still as a held breath.

Happyland was filthy, unsafe, and unsanitary. It stank of sin, sorrow, and surrender. Behind its crumbling walls lived a collection of thieves, rogues and whores as well as a few murderers. Sprinkled in among them were unlucky, impoverished souls doing their best to make a living on the right side of the law.

These are a few of the excerpts that made me roll my eyes. And they are all from the back half of the book because by then it had gotten exhausting to read. By themselves they might have been fine, but it was just unrelenting.
My last grip was with the constant quoting of Shakespeare, mainly because it felt so odd and out of place. Like the author was just trying to make Ian seem smart but it came off as arrogant.

Nobody likes a showoff, Hamilton

Yeah, Hamilton. Listen to your boss.
Profile Image for Linda OC.
93 reviews2 followers
July 13, 2018
Wish I liked this more because I love Edinburgh/the setting of the story. I may have liked it more if I read t even though I appreciated the voices on audible. It just felt long and unsurprising. Bummed I feel this way about it when most others have left great reviews!
Profile Image for Ashley .
22 reviews
December 26, 2017
Loved it! I have always liked detective books and historical so this hits both! is there a 2nd one coming out any time soon?!
Profile Image for Thebooktrail.
1,581 reviews283 followers
September 22, 2017
Edinburgh Twilight

Edinburgh Twilight

There’s something deliciously grim about this novel – set in the days where Edinburgh was even more gothic than it is today. There’s murder, mystery and something almost Sherlockian about it all. Cloak and dagger stuff with more monsters hiding in the shadows than you know what to do with.

It’s the early days of police work and so the basics are only just falling into place – only years before the Jack the Ripper murders would shock the world, the dark, dank streets of Edinburgh seem to have been the ones to fear.

The setting was like a fog of mystery which immersed me into the novel and seeped into my very bones. Edinburgh is brilliantly evoked and cleverly recreated on the page – some good research having gone on here and I wouldn’t be surprised if the author hasn’t been on a few ghost tours.

There was depth to this novel without the gloom of the gothic city however and the subject matter of a character’s homosexuality was something I’d not read about in this way before in a historical novel. There’s scenes of sex and dubious goings on but done in a unique way which adds another level to the overall plot.

And then there’s the rest of the Scottish flavour – the whisky, the bad weather, the Firth of Forth and the accent/dialect and unique language of the city.
A book to cuddle up beside the fire in one way, but with a red hot poker at the ready in another
Profile Image for Potato McB.
164 reviews4 followers
November 19, 2021
3.5 stars. For a mystery, the plot was just interesting enough for me to stay entertained (like watching a random British murder mystery on TV), but there was not much in the way of suspense. The supporting characters are also just likeable/interesting enough, but not standouts or anything.

The protagonist, Ian Hamilton, is probably my favorite thing about this book, closely followed by the setting. I found Ian and his loner tendencies and lack of interest in romance whatsoever highly relatable. It was fun to walk around Edinburgh with him and the rest of the cast as they went about their lives
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
977 reviews88 followers
August 21, 2017
Edinburgh Twilight (Ian Hamilton Mysteries Book 1) by Carole Lawrence
Edinburgh Twilight
Carole Lawrence
five stars all the way

what is it about:
As a new century approaches, Edinburgh is a city divided. The wealthy residents of New Town live in comfort, while Old Town’s cobblestone streets are clotted with criminals, prostitution, and poverty.
Detective Inspector Ian Hamilton is no stranger to Edinburgh’s darkest crimes. Scarred by the mysterious fire that killed his parents, he faces his toughest case yet when a young man is found strangled in Holyrood Park.
With little evidence aside from a strange playing card found on the body, Hamilton engages the help of his aunt, a gifted photographer, and George Pearson, a librarian with a shared interest in the criminal mind. But the body count is rising. As newspapers spin tales of the “Holyrood Strangler,” panic sets in across the city. And with each victim, the murderer is getting closer to Hamilton, the one man who dares to stop him.

My thoughts :
OMH I loved it, loved everything about it , the characters , the story line, the touch of Gothic to it, how it pulled me in to the story from the every start . And how the main character Ian remind me in some ways of Sherlock Homes . I also loved how it showed you and brought to life the way life was back in that century. What a really great start to a new series ,can't wait to read more of this series. With that said I would love to give a big thinks to NetGalley for giving me the chance at finding a new series to full in love with.
Profile Image for Chris.
43 reviews1 follower
April 11, 2023
I'm just done with this. The few good parts were overshadowed by the obviousness of the antagonist, the disjointedness, absurd amount of anachronisms/overall contemporary feeling, and the obscene amount of characters who added nothing to the plot. Crossing this author off my list in permanent marker.
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