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The prize-winning author of Edinburgh Twilight returns to the darkening shadows of nineteenth-century Scotland to track a killer on a profane mission of revenge.

A wicked Scottish winter has just begun when pioneering female physician Sophia Jex-Blake calls on Detective Inspector Ian Hamilton to investigate the suspicious death of one of her patients—a railroad lineman who she believes succumbed to the horrific effects of arsenic poisoning. The most provocative aspect of the case doesn’t escape Hamilton: the married victim’s numerous sexual transgressions.

Now, for the first time since the unexplained fire that killed his parents, Hamilton enters the Royal Infirmary to gain the insights of brilliant medical student Arthur Conan Doyle. Then a second poisoning occurs—this time, a prominent banker who died in the bed of a prostitute. It appears that someone is making Edinburgh’s more promiscuous citizens pay for their sins.

As the body count rises and public panic takes hold, Hamilton and Doyle delve into the seedy underbelly of the city, where nothing is as it seems, no one is immune to murder, and even trusted friends can be enemies in disguise.

398 pages, Kindle Edition

First published September 18, 2018

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About the author

Carole Lawrence

5 books369 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 - 30 of 325 reviews
Profile Image for Literary Redhead.
1,591 reviews484 followers
July 17, 2019
“Edinburgh Dusk: Ian Hamilton Mysteries, Book 2” by Carole Lawrence brings us back to the author’s atmospheric setting of nineteenth-century Scotland, in an addictive read that teams physician Sophia Jex-Blake with Detective Inspector Ian Hamilton to investigate the suspicious death of one of her patients, a railroad lineman. Significantly, the man had many sexual transgressions although he was married.

As they seek answers to his untimely death, which the good doctor believes is due to arsenic poisoning, Detective Hamilton returns for the first time since the unexplained fire that killed his parents to the Royal Infirmary, to confer with brilliant medical student Arthur Conan Doyle. Then another victim is found — a well-known banker who died in the bed of a prostitute — and the bodies stack up while the public panics. Hamilton and Doyle are forced to burrow in the city’s seedy underbelly for clues, where anything is possible and not even friends can be trusted.

Edinburgh, a 19th century female doc, Holmes, sex — what’s not to love? In my estimation, “Edinburgh Dusk” has it all goin’ on! 5/5

A Note From the Publisher
Author Carole Lawrence is an award-winning novelist, poet, composer, and playwright. Her previous novels include Edinburgh Twilight, the first Detective Inspector Ian Hamilton novel. She is also the author of 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.

Pub Date 18 Sep 2018

Thanks to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine.

#EdinburghDusk #NetGalley
February 21, 2020
3.5 stars

Detective Inspector Ian Hamilton is back and this time he's investigating the suspicious death of a railroad lineman that female physician Sophia Jex-Blake believes to be caused by arsenic poisoning.

It doesn't take long for Hamilton and his partner Sergeant Dickerson to determine that the married victim was known to have had several affairs.  They visit the Royal Infirmary to gain insight on poisoning from the well-known medical student Arthur Conan Doyle.

When another poisoning victim is discovered in the bed of a prostitute, it appears that the killer is seeking revenge on Edinburgh's promiscuous residents.  
When the prostitute is found dead in the river soon after, Hamilton isn't as quick as the medical examiner to call it a suicide by drowning.

As the body count rises, Hamilton considers the commonalities in the cases and follows a series of clues.  If he isn't careful, he could become the next victim.

At the same time, Hamilton discovers a letter that was written by his mother to his aunt Lillian warning of danger shortly before the fire that killed both her and her husband and injured Hamilton.

I enjoyed Edinburgh Dusk as much as the first in the series!  I really love the cast of characters and was thrilled to see Sergeant Dickerson, Chief Inspector Crawford, and young Derek McNair again!  The author has me so curious about the truth behind the death of Hamilton's parents and I enjoyed the development of his relationships with his brother Donald and aunt Lillian.

I'm looking forward to the third book in June!

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

For more reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com
Profile Image for Alex Cantone.
Author 3 books33 followers
January 10, 2023
From the nefarious Deacon Brodie to famed garrotters Burke and Hare, Edinburgh seemed to breed criminals as promiscuously as it did poets and philosophers.

2nd in the ‘Edinburgh’ mysteries trilogy, set in the latter part of the nineteenth century, finds DI Ian Hamilton, fond of quoting from the Bard, drawn into a series of murders due to poisoning, alerted by one of the alumni of that time, as he explains to his loyal Sergeant

Dr. Sophia Jex-Blake was one of the most famous — and notorious — women in Edinburgh. She and six other women had attempted to upset centuries of tradition by petitioning the university to let them study medicine. Known as the Edinburgh Seven, they were derided and savagely attacked.

Following on from Edinburgh Twilight, Hamilton regularly visits his Aunt Lilian (an amateur photographer) and shares his house with his brother Donald, a recovering alcoholic now studying medicine at the University of Edinburgh, and a cat named Bacchus. Both brothers are still locked in grief at the suspicious house fire that killed their parents. It’s Ian Hamilton’s sense of justice and fair play that lands him into trouble in a pub brawl.

If there was one thing that united all Scots, it was their thirst for a good fight.

Taken by Donald to the infirmary for his injuries, introduces two other illustrious names from the time: Arthur Conon Doyle, then a fourth year medical student, and Dr Joseph Bell, surgeon and lecturer at University of Edinburgh — the inspiration for the character Sherlock Holmes.

But Shakespeare is never far away, and in this one the killer seems to be bringing the crimes in Hamlet to life. Believed to be the act of a woman with medical training, but which one?

Another fine mystery, with the annoying homeless waif Derek McNair, his street-smarts allowing him to flit between a brothel and the newspaper offices of the Scotsman, his network of contacts making the difference. I enjoyed the attention to detail in the wintry weather, the landmarks and street-scapes, the Scottish pubs and food, Aunt Lilian’s Glasgow accent, the elegant dwellings nestled against crowded tenement slums.

Only minor issue was (nit-pick if you will) — the American English spelling and use of ‘Fall’ for ‘Autumn’ and ‘sidewalk’ for ‘pavement’. But this was an ebook – well-established authors like Daniel Silva have publishers and editors on both sides of the Atlantic to ensure the expectations of the ‘local’ readership are met.
Profile Image for Luca.
64 reviews21 followers
September 28, 2018
*4.5 stars*

Ever since I've read Edinburgh Twilight, I've been waiting for the next book of the Ian Hamilton Mysteries. That book was everything I love when I need a lift-me-up book: a smart detective, in a historical setting, plus the added bonus of it being in my dreamland, Scotland. Obviously it made me intrigued and reading that first book didn't disappoint.

The second part of the series, Edinburgh Dusk, was really enjoyable and gave me all the warm and fuzzies with how it was written, the humour and the plot. I have to admit, though, that there were some minor details that I feel I need to mention, which stopped me from rating this tome as highly as the first one.

The first point is only a typo, I'm sure, but got me confused for a while. Edinburgh Twilight was set in 1881, but this book, Edinburgh Dusk, which is the second one, starts off in 1880. I mean, this could very well be a prequel, right? But then you find out that Donald, DI Hamilton's brother is in medical school, which he was reapplying to in the first book. So this little error kept me guessing for a while, "do I remember wrong?" and "did I forget everything about book #1?"

After this, the book continues as expected and even more: fantasy meets real life characters! DI Ian Hamilton gets a visit by Sophia Jex-Blake, one of the Edinburgh Seven - "the first group of matriculated undergraduate female students at any British university" - who were actual living people! I find this touch of reality and grounding in history very well placed and I think it gives the story certain credibility as well as it showcases these seven female doctors' importance.
So Sophia Jex-Blake, who runs a clinic, calls on DI Hamilton because she finds the death of one of her patients' rather suspicious. Turns out she's right, the man indeed was poisoned. And so the hunt for the killer begins!

Helping Hamilton, and introducing him to the Greyfriars Dramatic Society's adaptation of Hamlet, is Sergeant Dickerson again, who is still in awe of his Detective Inspector and his quick thinking. But he's clearly rubbing off on Dickerson because he is starting to show the same brilliance in police work as his boss.

As always street urchin Derek McNair is vital to knowing what's going on the streets of Edinburgh, and this time - just like in the other book - it's thanks to him that Hamilton learns about murders, disappearances and any shady business.

There are two new characters, who fit Hamilton's world perfectly, who he gets to know through his brother, Donald; both medical people. One of them is young Arthur Conan Doyle, a medical student working at the Royal Infirmary, who is very keen to hear as much as he can about Hamilton's case as he has an affinity for solving crimes. The other character is Fiona Stuart, a nurse working at the same hospital. One of them becomes a very good friend of Hamilton, the other - well, kind of how Darcy and Lizzie Bennett started out; irritating each other but secretly admiring the other. Both of them, though, help Hamilton in his quest to find the poisoner, who kills people like flies, always alternating the poisons used.

I really liked that some of the chapters were written from the perspective of the killer, shedding light on their reasons and difficult past. I have to say, though, those chapters, especially Chapter 14 should come with a trigger warning for . That being said, I felt that the author didn't explicitly explain why the killer went on a killing spree, it's all between the lines in those chapters written in first person. This way the end, when they catch the murder is just that: killer caught, their motives, to Hamilton and the police, still hidden; only pieced together by what they think was common in the victims.

And to top all of that off, Hamilton finds out some new info about his parents' death which I really hope will be explained in another book because there's so much potential in it!

All in all, this is one of my favourite guilty pleasure series, because Hamilton is just too adorable (and reminds me sometimes of the BBC version of Sherlock in his social skills). Oh, and another similarity is that at this point, I think, Hamilton could end up having feelings for both Conan Doyle and Fiona Stuart, which I really hope will keep going because I really would to see a bisexual character in a historical setting. Again, it might be just me seeing things here lol Where I am NOT imagining things is Donald who has come out to Ian, and nobody threw a tantrum, which is great, although at that time and age it must have been a bit more of a shock.


Profile Image for Bettie.
9,988 reviews15 followers
September 18, 2018
Thomas & Mercer

Description: A wicked Scottish winter has just begun when pioneering female physician Sophia Jex-Blake calls on Detective Inspector Ian Hamilton to investigate the suspicious death of one of her patients—a railroad lineman who she believes succumbed to the horrific effects of arsenic poisoning. The most provocative aspect of the case doesn’t escape Hamilton: the married victim’s numerous sexual transgressions.

Now, for the first time since the unexplained fire that killed his parents, Hamilton enters the Royal Infirmary to gain the insights of brilliant medical student Arthur Conan Doyle. Then a second poisoning occurs—this time, a prominent banker who died in the bed of a prostitute. It appears that someone is making Edinburgh’s more promiscuous citizens pay for their sins.

As the body count rises and public panic takes hold, Hamilton and Doyle delve into the seedy underbelly of the city, where nothing is as it seems, no one is immune to murder, and even trusted friends can be enemies in disguise.

The prologue is sex and death in 1880 Edinburgh, and to be honest, this small section could have been handled better. Nevertheless, I persisted, and am pleased to have done so.

If, like yours truly, you sat down in the afternoons to listen to BBC radio 4's production of Levy, the prominent detective in Edinburgh during the mid-19th century, you will enjoy the age and setting here. Being an unrepentent pedant, there was enough real history to ferret out and pull the threads on to keep me happy. The problem was the atmosphere, Edinburgh was not pinned down for me. Landmarks were mentioned, tick. Local denizens, tick. All slightly two-dimensional.

Overall it kept me to the end and am pleased with the encounter, yet who else felt the play-within-a-play, the Hamlet trope, was a pudding over-egged?

DI Ian Hamilton
His boss is DCI Crawford
Constable Bowers
Sgt Dickerson
Mr Thomas Carruthers
Dr Sophia Jex Blake*
Dr Henry Littlejohn**

* Sophia Jex-Blake, 1874-1877: Ran London School of Medicine for Women.
1886: Opened Edinburgh School of Medicine for Women, as Director and Dean. Jex-Blake’s powerful nature began to get her into trouble. Students Ina and Grace Cadell felt Jex-Blake was too domineering, and were joined by student Elsie Inglis in opening a competing school, the Medical College for Women, based in Chambers St. When the College gained access to the Royal Infirmary wards for teaching, the Edinburgh School of Medicine for Women could no longer compete. It closed in 1898. 1878: Opened Edinburgh Hospital and Dispensary for Women worked there until 1899, retired to farm. Died 1912.

Profile Image for Trish R..
1,728 reviews43 followers
September 23, 2018

This was a decent second story BUT I just hate when an author has to have the father molesting a 7 year old and then she becomes a killer. The men actually deserved it but that’s beside the point. If I’d known it was going to be on incestuous molestation I doubt I would have read it. If the mystery writers aren’t writing about killing kids they’re writing about molesting them. I’ve reached my limit with those.

I did like Ian Hamilton and his partner Sergeant Dickerson, as well as Ian’s brother Donald and his Aunt Lillian, and Ian’s friend Arthur Conan Doyle, who was studying to be a doctor but told Ian “he did do a little writing.” LOL. I thought that was pretty funny.

There was a smidgen of romance in this but absolutely no swearing.

I’m assuming there will be a 3rd book because there were unanswered questions left BUT it was NOT a cliffhanger.

As to the narration: Simon Mattacks kind of went with the flow, not great but not terrible either. His female needs help and his emotions when he reads is just okay. I’m sad to say his narration wasn’t as good as Napoleon Ryan in the first book.
Profile Image for M.
1,377 reviews
October 13, 2018
Distastefully Graphic Descriptions of Pedophilia

In the past six months or so, I’ve returned Kindle Unlimited books and asked for Kindle refunds after reading several chapters of mystery-suspense books with primary plots featuring graphic descriptions of sex-trafficking, sexual abuse of women, and pedophilia.

A few Goodreads reviewers have mentioned this book’s prologue, but that prologue is restrained when compared to other, more detailed descriptions of a seven-year-old girl being sexually abused by her father. Yes, the abuse may be germane to character psychology and a motive for murder. I get that, but I really don’t need to read a painstakingly written account of child abuse.

That said, yes, I can choose to not finish this book. DNF at 25%.
Profile Image for Sasha Ambroz.
464 reviews45 followers
January 18, 2022
It becomes repetitive, especially all the owl hooting, mouse squeaking, Derek appearing out of nowhere to feed Detective Ian Hamilton new info. But somehow it is still not boring, what a miracle. I didn't like the appearance of Arthur Conan Doyle, but that's just my prejudice against real characters in otherwise fictional story.
Profile Image for Monique.
626 reviews40 followers
August 7, 2019
This was another well-crafted story in the life of Detective Ian Hamilton. As the tale of a serial-killing poisoner unfolded (paralleled with Shakespeare's 'Hamlet' via an officer's theatrical group), more of the detective's personality and inner thoughts were revealed. While I'm no psychologist, the handsome and aloof Ian came across as being slightly on the Asperger's spectrum.
I got confused with the revelation of the killer, as I didn't recall much of the character in the story when they interacted openly with the others. Maybe it's just me, but the 'ah-ha' moment was a little underwhelming.
Anyway, 'Edinburgh Dusk' had a lot of great twists and turns, and wonderful characters - returning and new - including the real-life author/doctor Arthur Conan Doyle, who was awesome!
4.5 stars.
Profile Image for Lynn Horton.
356 reviews40 followers
March 22, 2019
Ms. Lawrence is a good storyteller, but I found this book to be sensationalist. Her characterizations are strong, and she writes an evocative setting. In other words, her work is powerful and professional enough that she could have told this story without somewhat graphic child-molestation scenes (in the form of memories). Also, although I have no problem with a homosexual character, the character’s orientation didn’t in any way enhance the story line or affect the story, so it appears to be an attempt at relevance.

I’ve generally enjoyed both books in this series, but find some of the author’s themes to be a distraction from her fine talent.
Profile Image for Karen.
1,799 reviews34 followers
April 10, 2019
2.5. This second book in the Ian Hamilton Mysteries is similar to the first. Well written. My problem with the series is the sexual deviance that is displayed in graphic detail. To be honest, one of the redeeming factors in this novel is that Arthur Conan Doyle is a character.
Profile Image for Stephen Bentley.
Author 21 books166 followers
September 3, 2018
A new author for me and I was delighted with this book. It is #2 in a series but I had no issues with it as a standalone novel.
The author, Carole Lawrence, is American but through research and consultation with a Scottish expert, she captures the very essence of Edinburgh and its inhabitants at the time of the setting which is late 19th Century.
It is a wonderful whodunnit detective story with the denouement a fitting and apt end to the tale; I say no more on that to avoid a spoiler.
The characters are great and well fleshed-out. They range from DI Hamilton himself, a thinking, sensitive policeman with his own demons through to Derek, the street urchin who is an informant for both police and newspaper. There are many in between characters, not least the strong female characters ranging from a doctor to nurses and fallen women.
The book is littered with literary references and the author uses them to great, and sometimes, comical effect. She even has a character called Arthur Conan Doyle. Indeed, the entire book is reminiscent of some of the Sherlock Holmes works by that author. I did note the use of the word "fiend" on a few occasions which I believe was a literary reference to those famous books, as it's not a word I expect to see in contemporary fiction.
On the same topic, the author also touches on the sexuality of DI Hamilton's brother. It wasn't done gratuitously in my opinion, though it formed no part of the plot. Instead it got me thinking about the sexuality of DI Hamilton himself and his relationship in the book with the fictional Arthur Conan Doyle who in the book is a medical doctor - a deliberate reversal of roles? A budding Sherlock Holmes the medical man (Watson) and DI Hamilton the sleuth?
The plot is excellent and is told at a steady pace. It starts off with a man found dead - poisoned. He appears to be the first victim of a series of poisonings but with different poisons. DI Hamilton works hard through all the possible and baffling scenarios with his trusty Sergeant at his side. Eventually he cracks the case in a literally dramatic finale to this wonderful book.
Ms. Lawrence is one talented writer. Highly recommended.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Net Galley. I was under no obligation to review it and all opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Denise.
6,371 reviews103 followers
February 13, 2021
DI Ian Hamilton, aided by his eclectic assortment of companions, investigates a series of murder by poison and makes the acquaintance of a medical student with an interest in scribbling and detective work: one Arthur Conan Doyle, whose assistance comes in quite handy.

Another engaging mystery read that kept me guessing. (And really, really wanting to visit Edinburgh again.)
Profile Image for Susanna.
287 reviews19 followers
May 23, 2020
So, so good. Though I feel if I'd actually read the physical copy (I listened audio book) I would have guessed the murderer 😅
Profile Image for Jan.
489 reviews64 followers
September 21, 2018
This is the second in series of detective novels set in Victorian Edinburgh, Scotland. Ian Hamilton is a likable main character, and the entertaining supporting cast includes people from vastly different levels of society, including some real-life personalities in this case.

The descriptions of the city in 1880 are very good and the atmosphere is fun. I did question a few things that didn't seem authentic to the time period, but I tried not to let those throw me off. There are also times when the author goes a little overboard with philosophy, but otherwise the story moves along at a decent pace. The mystery itself was presented very well, and the denouement was satisfactory but not exciting.

I have to add that the coming out of one of the characters as homosexual was—as far as I can tell—just jumping on the gay bandwagon. It seems all authors these days feel they must include the topic, although it didn't add anything to the plot. That was a disappointment, merely because it was unnecessary.

The narrator of the audiobook (not yet listed here on Goodreads at the time of this review), Simon Mattacks, was very good. His timing was particularly good, and his Scottish accents really added to the story; I wasn't fond of one of the voices, but a narrator only has so many choices.

Quite a bit of sexual references, some violence but nothing graphic, no foul language. The tone is quite dark, but so is the plot; this is definitely NOT a cozy mystery.
508 reviews
October 3, 2018
I enjoyed this book and the evocative setting but there were a couple of things that made me decide to lower my rating by a star. First, and most annoying, was the new woman/love interest. Using the trope of irritating, officious behavior and dialogue as a prelude to romance was so offputting that I plan to carefully read the reviews of the next book in this series (if there is one) before I buy it. I also thought the constant quoting of Shakespeare to be unnecessary. Memorization skills do not necessarily equal intelligence and it just makes one sound like he is trying too hard.

I liked the family relationships and the partnership that Hamilton and Dickerson have established. The introduction of Arthur Conan Doyle as a potential friend was interesting, but I hope Ms. Lawrence doesn't strain the Sherlock Holmes story too much. One "elementary" is enough for me. There is plenty to work with in the backstory without introducing an annoying romance and the Baker Street irregulars. I hope Detective Hamilton finds a smart, kind woman to date but that the relationship is a side note and does not detract from the mystery.
Profile Image for Jen.
1,783 reviews58 followers
August 15, 2018
Edinburgh Dusk is also a second in a series by Carole Lawrence. After a perfectly ugh prologue, the book improved. It is better than the first book in the series, although I didn't review the first book here.

I love Edinburgh so I couldn't help giving the series another try. While I did like this one better (aside from the yucky prologue), I still couldn't quite get a feel for Ian Hamilton.

The Hamlet trope was way overdone.

Favorite character: Conan Doyle is a secondary character that will probably be in the next book as well. We even get a cameo appearance of Dr. Bell, Doyle's mentor.

Reviews of Edinburgh Twilight ran the gamut from one to five stars on Goodreads (I gave it a generous 3), but so far the reviews of Edinburgh Dusk are positive, but I'm giving it another generous 3 stars. Since twilight and dusk are synonyms, maybe one should have had a different title. I don't know that I'd try another in this series.

NetGalley/Thomas & Mercer
Historical Mystery. Sept. 18, 2018.
Profile Image for Caroline.
359 reviews92 followers
July 11, 2022
I didn't read this book so your logical question is "why is she writing a review of it then?"

And I'll tell you why this is the first time ever I've felt I was qualified to rate a book I've never read - Because the summary itself makes no sense.

The first book states that it takes place "As a new century approaches" so this is the beginning of either the 1800s or 1900s. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh Medical School between 1876 and 1881. Which means this book (the SEQUEL to the first) before you even begin it, is either 20 years too early OR 80 years after the first one making our MC between the ages of 100-110.

And I can't even begin to hope that a historical fiction book that can't even mange to keep an anachronism out of it's 10 sentence blurb is anything but one star material.
Profile Image for Connie.
331 reviews11 followers
March 9, 2020
The second book in the Ian Hamilton series.
Dr Sophia Jex-Blake is convinced that one of her patients has been murdered and asks DI Hamilton to investigate, and it's not long before another body is found in similar circumstances.
This is a dark psychological thriller set in a cold wintery Victorian Edinburgh. At times the author's Americanisms come through which I found a bit off putting, and the Scottish slang still needs work -as I said before, you notice these things when you're a Scot.
Overall this is an ok read and I'll probably read the next one.
2 reviews
October 25, 2018
Spoiled by Americanisms

I enjoyed the story in this book but it was spoiled by American words like "side walk" and "icebox". I doubt that domestic "iceboxes" we're used, or even needed in wintery Edinburgh in 1880. Especially as the house was lit by gas light !
Also the way the Scottish dialect was written, it came across as more Cockney than East of Scotland !
Maybe being Scottish I noticed these things more but it spoiled my enjoyment of the book to quite a degree.
Profile Image for Kathy.
3,307 reviews175 followers
February 2, 2019
I had not recalled why I did not make notes on the first in this series. I think I had hopes for historical detective fiction placed in Edinburgh. I believe I found Ian Hamilton a promising character to follow. This book really failed on several levels.
So...a poisoner is in their midst. People die. Shakespeare is performed. Fitting end for Hamlet occurs.

The end for me.
Kindle Unlimited - can't recommend
Profile Image for Joyce.
1,649 reviews30 followers
August 12, 2018
5 stars

It’s 1880 in Edinburgh, Scotland and winter season is just beginning.

Doctor Sophia Jex-Blake comes to the police station and reports to DCI Bobby Crawford and DI Ian Hamilton that she has located a murder victim. He was killed by arsenic poisoning. She had been treating his wife for a pregnancy. The victim’s name was Thomas Carruthers. He was known to have affairs, although it is uncertain if his wife knew.

DI Ian Carmichael Hamilton and his partner Sergeant William Dickerson set out to the morgue to examine the body of the victim. He had, indeed, died of arsenic poisoning. So begins the investigation.

When another man is murdered, this time with strychnine the woman he was with give Hamilton and Dickerson a name and an occupation. Since the house he died in was a bordello, the name and occupation might not be real. It turns out that he was, indeed, a banker and his name was >>>>>.

After an altercation in a pub, Hamilton is knocked unconscious and taken to the Royal Infirmary. There he meets Arthur Conan Doyle who is in his last year as a medical student. He likes a good detective yarn and exchanges ideas with Hamilton.

The story is interspersed with vignettes of what is going on in the murderer’s mind and visions of her childhood.

Then another person is murdered. This time it is a woman; the woman the last victim was with at the time of his death - Big Margaret. It turns out that she was drugged before she was put in the water. Jed, a somewhat unsavory in interfering reporter, is kidnapped. Derek McNair, a street urchin, thief and a “friend” of Hamilton’s reports him missing. Derek plays an important and big role in the story. As the police start looking for Jed, they find him in a ramshackle building, obviously under the influence of some drug. Arthur Conan Doyle, who figures large in this story, revives him.

This is a great story. The writing is flawless and flows along so nicely that the reader doesn’t realize that the pages are flying by. There are no wasted words in the novel. I liked the relationships between Hamilton and his partner, Dickerson, and Aunt Lillian, Hamilton’s brother Donald and the cat Bacchus. I just can’t say enough about the book; it’s wonderful!

I want to thank NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for forwarding to me a copy of this absolutely great book to read, enjoy and review.
Profile Image for Dawn .
309 reviews3 followers
August 8, 2020
Sigh, why does it seem that so many series start off really well and then hit the dreaded "Sophomore Slump?" Because that is exactly what happened in Carole Lawrence's second Ian Hamilton novel, Edinburgh Dusk.

Let's start with the good: Ms. Lawrence does wonderfully creating mood and atmosphere. Her description of 1880 Edinburgh is vivid and detailed enough that one can fully imagine the sounds, smells, and sights of the world she has created (often drawing on real places and events of the time period). She creates an appropriately gloomy atmosphere with all the impending doom of a harsh winter in which to set her murder mystery. The inclusion of Dr. Sophia Jex-Blake and Dr. Joseph Bell, briefly mentioning their real life accomplishments, was a nice touch. Since the Ian Hamilton mysteries have a very Sherlockian vibe, it felt like a wink to the reader to include Arthur Conon Doyle in the narrative.

Detective Inspector Hamilton is a nicely developing character: a brilliant investigator whose single-minded focus often causes him to be insensitive, thoughtless, and unaware of those around him and is prone to rash, and sometimes violent, decisions. He also demonstrates moments of extreme thoughtfulness, introspection and reflection, and empathy and kindness. Ian's brother Donald, who was rather flat in the first novel, is developing well and I appreciate the fact that he talks frankly about the struggles of being a recovering alcoholic as well talking about what it was like to grow up identifying as gay. It was nice to learn a little more about Sergeant Dickerson. Aunt Lillian's role seems to be to constantly feed Ian while taking him to task for not having a wife (really, it seems that every one Ian comes across is trying to marry him off). Derek is quickly becoming a bit too precocious and bordering on annoying.

The less good: There were a few inconsistencies between the books; not enough to deter from what was happening , but just enough for the reader to say "wait, but that's not what you said in the last book." A prime example being Ian's trip to the hospital after he was involved in yet another bar brawl; Edinburgh Twilight ended with Ian in the hospital, yet this book said he hasn't been in one since his parents died in the fire - seven years earlier. It may seem trivial, but the fire seems to be a pivotal point in Ian's development - not to say of the storyline. The murder mystery itself wasn't very good - the murderer was easily identified no matter how many false bread crumbs Ms. Lawrence left. The over-used trope that "daddy sexually abused me as a child so I turned to murder to work out my emotional issues" was not handled well at all. The fact that the novel's characters were in a production of Hamlet and the murders followed the pattern of the killings in the play was entirely to-on-the-nose.

The bad can be summed up in two words - Fiona Stuart. I have rarely run across a single character whose mere presence ruins the entire story; while Fiona Stuart wasn't Jar-Jar Brinks bad, she was pretty darn close. Every time she appeared on the page I groaned; she is simply unpleasant to read and causes the plot to come to a screeching halt while characters behavior out-of-character in her presence. I suppose that Ms. Lawrence wanted to create an intelligent, independent woman whose progressive views challenges Ian's intellect and belief system (especially gender roles) to be his romantic interest; that would have been awesome. Sadly, that is not what we got. Instead we get Fiona Stuart, who comes across as an antagonistical, belligerent , bully who is prone to outright rudeness - that is when she is not being sanctimoniously condescending to anyone within earshot.

Am I really supposed to root for a romantic pairing whose first interaction was the woman publicly berating an injured man for the "crime" of standing up to the drunk men who were bullying her in the local pub? Sure, Fiona Stuart had a valid point, however she could have made it without resorting to pithy, gottcha comments and refusing to let Ian state his reasons/opinions. I cannot root for a romantic paring that routinely engages in public screaming matches in hospital corridors, museums, or police station houses; or one, when not insulting each other, tries to out spite each other in displays of petty childishness.

It is not that I dislike the "meet-cute" where the eventual pairing have harsh, adverse reactions to each other at first - there are many stories where romantic pairings have overcome their initial dislike and poor opinion of each other (Lynn Messina's Beatrice Hyde-Mysteries is a great example) - it's that it is handled so poorly that is disappointing.

This novel, for me, was a huge disappointing mess and makes me question whether it was a true Sophomore Slump and book three will be better or if the series is doomed.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Alana White.
Author 5 books82 followers
February 5, 2019
Edinburgh, 1880. In this, the second Ian Hamilton mystery, Detective Inspector Hamilton investigates the death of a married railroad lineman from the effects of arsenic poisoning and then the death of a prominent banker in a prostitute’s bed from strychnine poisoning. The link in the two cases appears to be sexual transgressions on the part of both men.

Several characters from the first book, Edinburgh Twilight, walk through these pages, including Hamilton’s brother, Donald (an alcoholic presently “on the wagon”) and Hamilton’s likable aunt, Lillian Grey, a talented photographer who in this story assists her beloved nephew as a crime scene photographer. Interesting new additions are medical student Arthur Conan Doyle and pioneering physician Sophia Jex-Blake, the first practicing female doctor in Scotland, and one of the first in the wider United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, who reports the first death.

As in Edinburgh Twilight, the author casts readers into the killer’s point-of-view. Soon enough, we suspect the killer is female. Deaths are piling up—and she is watching Ian. The author’s description of Edinburgh in wintery November is evocative. Prospective readers should be aware that child sexual abuse forms the dark heart of this tale, with explicit scenes (graphic memories) described throughout. From Historical Novel Society Review/Issue 87/Feb. 2019.
Profile Image for Heather.
316 reviews7 followers
September 18, 2020
I’m giving this four stars because the writing is good, and I enjoy the character of Ian Hamilton. He is complex and suppresses his demons to concentrate on his work. The side characters are fantastic, the young ruffian Derek who sees himself as the detective’s sidekick and is proving himself worthy of the task is not the only nod to Sherlock Holmes in this novel. In fact, we meet Arthur Conan Doyle as a resident in the local hospital, and he immediately befriends Hamilton as they share an interest in forensics and deduction.
The only issue I had was scenes of pedophilia. I found these hard to read, and I understand they are used to introduce to the mind of the killer, but I could have done with less graphic descriptions.
I will continue with the series because of Ian Hamilton and the fun references to Shakespeare and Holmes.
Profile Image for Mai.
114 reviews34 followers
August 14, 2018
I received an ARC via NetGalley, thank you! All opinions are my own.

Edinburgh Dusk is a historical mystery that takes place in 1880. Ian Hamilton is confronted with a horrific poison murder. I haven't read the first novel in the Ian Hamilton Mysteries series, but I was able to follow the story anyway - still, now I want to read the first one, too. The plot is gripping, the characters so vivid, that they seem to have a life on their own, even if I close the book - and the cameo of a certain medical student named Arthur Conan Doyle utterly fascinating. I really enjoyed this and will follow this series from now on.
Profile Image for Susan.
5,386 reviews47 followers
September 6, 2018
In Edinburgh Dr. Sophia Jex-Blake wants Detective Inspector Ian Hamilton to investigate the death of the husband of one of her patients. During the case he meets Dr Bell and Conan Doyle whos knowledge of medical matters helps his case. But then another victim is discovered.
The characters are well-drawn and fleshed out. I found this well-written story enjoyable and interesting and look forward to the next in the series.
This second in the series is easily read as a standalone story
A NetGalley Book
Profile Image for Emmie.
1,278 reviews3 followers
October 3, 2019
With every new book in this series I become more and more enchanted. This is an old fashioned detective or police procedural and I love every page. A detective spouting Shakespeare and an aunt acting as police photographer just makes this all the more appealing. I love the characters and the atmosphere in this book.

I have to say I was a bit disappointed when I was able to identify the killer before the end of the book. But it was still a very good read.
February 19, 2021
It was an easy read, short chapters, easily identifiable characters with interesting personalities.
For me, the storyline was a little predictable and I soon realised who the murderer was. So although it was entertaining I didn’t feel it held anything new.
Profile Image for Diane Challenor.
350 reviews66 followers
March 2, 2021
It’s a good story but I was a bit put off by a couple of short bits that were too explicit for me, however the scenes were important to understand why the murderer was so psychologically twisted. The plot is good, and I like the main character, Ian Hamilton, his urchin helper Derek McNair, and his off-slider Sergeant Dickerson. The atmosphere of darkness and damp puts you in Edinburgh during the period of the late 1800s. I listened to the audiobook in tandem with the eBook; the narrator Simon Mattacks read the story really well. There was a backstory using an amateur production of Shakespeare's Hamlet which I'm sure if a reader knows the play, the backstory will add an additional texture to the story.
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