Member Reviews

I really enjoyed this book! Sebastian Bell was a kind of character I don't read about much. I also really enjoyed the little bit of romance that came in with him and Gemma Tate without it being a primary force in the novel itself. I read a lot of thrillers, but it's hard for me to find mysteries that I find enthralling enough to want to keep up with. This was one! I'm very much looking forward to read more about Bell and Tate in the next books Shapiro puts out about them!

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"The Highgate Cemetery Murder" by Irina Shapiro is the first book in her new Tate and Bell Mystery series.

This well written murder mystery set in 1858 Victorian London will catch your attention with the gruesome murder and keep you guessing as you try to figure out the clues along with the police. It is engaging and a clever plot if you can stand all the discussion about rape.

Characters 5/5
Writing 5/5
Plot 4/5
Pacing 4/5
Unputdownability 3/5
Enjoyment 1/5
Narration 3/5 Imogen Church is a very good narrator with clear diction and good character voices, but in this her main character voice was harsh.
Cover 5/5

Thank you to Netgalley, Dreamscape Select, and Storm Publishing for providing this audiobook in exchange for my honest review.

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What a very different kind of story!

This one takes us back to the 1850’s in London!

Bell is a detective who has been tasked with the case of a young girl found murdered in a very cruel and despicable way.
As he delves into what happened he discovers that there are others who’ve been murdered, and yet others abused…but still living, in the same way.

Additionally, they come upon a young man who died, under the wheels of a carriage.

As the two stories emerge, developments are made, and the cases seem to possibly be related? But no. That can’t be.
And as the other murders/cases come to light, can this one be by the same person/people??

The young man’s twin sister is a nurse who trained under Florence Nightingale…and she is very smart. She starts to ask questions about her brothers death…and is shunned by the police! Which only makes her work harder to find out what really happened?!!

Lots of twists and turns as we go. Some are shocking!

Great storyline. Terrific characters. Love the old time setting too!

Thanks to #NetGalley, #DreamscapeSelect and #StormPublishing for an ARC of the audiobook which was released on 2/29/24.

#TheHighgateCemeteryMurder by #IrinaShapiro. Beautifully narrated by #ImogenChurch.

4 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ for me!

Feel free to like, follow and friend me on: Goodreads,
IG @ #BookReviews_with_emsr or
My Facebook Book Club: Book Reviews With Elaine.

Thanks so much for reading!📚⭐️📖

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Copied from Goodreads:
London, 1858: "The Highgate Cemetery Murder" opens with a--wait for it--murder in Highgate Cemetery. We are introduced to key players and morose clues from the book’s first page. This pace is generally maintained throughout as nurse Gemma Tate, sister of the late journalist Victor Tate and Sebastian Bell, a Scotland Yard inspector still reeling from a personal tragedy, investigate two possibly connected murders. The two reluctantly join forces to solve the murder of Victor and the girl in the cemetery. As a frequent reader of historical fiction mystery, I had untangled the culprit quickly. However, this by no means diminished my enjoyment of Irina Shapiro's novel. I would have liked more of Gemma Tate, but as the first in a "Tate and Bell" series, I hope she will feature heavily in future installments. Any fans of Veronica Speedwell, Eliza Scarlett, or Charlotte Holmes will enjoy this outing to Victorian London.

"The Highgate Cemetery Murder" audiobook was released in the U.S. on February 29, 2024. Thanks to Dreamscape Select, Storm Publishing, and NetGalley for this audio ARC given in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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Super creepy and atmospheric. This was a fantastic book! Highly recommend it to anyone who loves gothic mysteries or historical mysteries.

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I’ve been on a tear of mystery audiobooks lately but I was happy to dive into a historical mystery for a change. I’m so glad I was able to receive and review this book from Shapiro, I love me a detective duo. The tagline for the blurb said for fans of Andrea Penrose and Deanna Raybourn, two of my faves, and they are right, fit right into that wheelhouse.. I believe it is going to be the first in the series and I am looking forward to spending more time with Gemma Tate and Sebastian Bell.

Sebastian Bell is a Scotland Yard detective who just caught the case of a very grisly murder in Highgate Cemetery. Gemma Tate is a nurse whose brother died after falling in the street and being trampled. But Gemma is sure he was pushed and that his death is related to the dead body in Highgate. So Gemma and Sebastian join forces to figure out who did this dastardly deed.

Since it is the first in the series, it does have to build the background, which takes a little time, but still the plot moves right along. I am very intrigued by Gemma Tate as a character. She joined Florence Nightingale as a nurse in the Crimean War, so I feel like there is a lot of material to plum from that period. For the women who decided to take up the calling and serve on a battlefield at a time when the woman’s sphere was largely domestic, it must have taken such courage. And Sebastian has a fascinating backstory, one I am still accessing actually, and I think he will make an interesting character.

If you are a historical mystery fan, put this one on your list.

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TW for the book: mentions of rape and abuse.

This was an interesting premise, and I enjoyed going on the ride. I look forward to reading more from this series.

I loved how the occult was brought in, and how the story developed around it. I also enjoyed what felt like a critique of rich dudes in secret societies.

Excellent read for those who like this kind of genre, which is 100% me.

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Gemma Tate and her brother Victor are very close and share a residence. But upon hearing of Victor's death, Gemma is beyond distraught. As she works through her grief, however, she finds that there may be more to Victor's death than initially thought. Gemma explains the discrepancies to Sebastian Tate, the Scotland Yards investigator tasked with solving the "Highgate Cemetery Murder". Upon discussion it seems there may be a relationship between the two events, and, as Gemma is dealing with her grief, she forces her help on Sebastian (despite his desires). As they work together will they be able to solve the two mysteries?

Overall, this was an okay novel. It kept my attention, but I will say that I found the ending motives to be a little bit far-fetched. I was also surprised at the amount of gory details in the crimes explained in the novel. I did like the character development of both Gemma and Sebastian, and I was partial to the surgeon side character as well. The audio quality was good, and easy to listen. Overall, I would recommend to anyone wanting a historical mystery novel that's looking for something, "just for fun".

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This was a great audiobook! I stayed invested in the characters and the plot the entire story and I’m hopeful for a series from this! The mystery unfolded perfectly and I’m happy to say I did not quite see the ending coming.

Thank you NetGalley and Storm Publishing for this advanced audiobook copy.

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A woman is found brutally murdered, terrifyingly posed in a cemetary. Hours later, Gemma’s brother is killed in what appears to be a carriage accident. Detective Sebastian Bell, quietly assisted by Gemma Tate are in a race against the media to solve the crimes and have the killers put away.

I enjoyed this crime mystery, with the setting and story being reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes. Whilst the crime and investigation was the focus of the book, the characters were well developed and I enjoyed the exploration of themes of gender, class and profession. Gemma’s character was interesting, and I look forward to learning more of her in later books. The public perception of nursing was particularly compelling.

The story was darker and more grisly than I anticipated due to the nature of the crime. This felt appropriate and not gratuitous, but I would suggest checking trigger warnings if you are concerned.

I’m glad I picked this up as an audiobook - the narration was great. The various character voices were engaging and articulate. The ending was satisfying, and the development of the relationship of the main characters is well set up for later books in the series.

Thank you Dreamscape Select, Storm Publishing and NetGalley for a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed are my own.

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1858 English historical murder mystery. With the press reporting as fast if not faster than the police there isn’t time to lose. Inspector Bell is trying to figure out this case which might just be last. This murder mystery has it all while maintaining historical appeal.

# The Highgate Cemetery Murder
# 2/29/2024 ~ 3/1/2024
# 4.0 / 5.0

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It has been a minute since I’ve read a procedural mystery. I adored the historic setting that gave Sherlock Homes vibes. I forgot how much questioning of subjects there is in these types of mysteries, and I’m not sure how I feel about it pace-wise.

I liked the writing, but nothing about it stood out to me.

The characters were three-dimensional and I am sensing some satisfying tension between them. Definitely excited to see where the friendships lead!

Overall this is a fantastic start to a series and I am highly looking forward to the next book!

Thank you Irina Shapiro, Dreamscape Select, and NetGalley for my advanced review copy. My opinions are my own. The Highgate Cemetery Murder is out now!

Plot - 4
Writing and Editing - 3
Character Development - 4
Narration - 5
Personal Bias - 4
Final Score - 4

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Tate and Bell Mystery book 1

Historical fiction set in Victorian England. I had the audiobook read by Imogen Church. A favourite narrator for me, and a clincher for choosing the book as the author is unknown to me. As usual Imogen did an excellent performance, I’d recommend the audiobook 💯

I had anticipated a cosy historical mystery from the era and book cover, but was pleasantly surprised by the darkness it contains. It may contain triggers for some. Plus for a mystery it’s got a decent pace, as mysteries can be on the slower side. It’s dark but not gritty, so doesn’t register on my gore score.

Gemma a returned Crimea nurse teams up with a constable after her brother died in an omnibus incident, after seeing the scribbling in his diary she became suspicious. She calls upon Sebastian for help, he already has his hands full looking into the death of an aristocrat.

Sebastian has his own problems to contend with, one being the much used of the times opium addiction. Gemma defies the conventions of the time by being an independent woman. I enjoyed their partnership,along with the will they won’t they adding to the storyline I found them both likeable.

The author gives a good description of the times, including people’s opinions and societal expectations, one example being the views that people held of the returning Crimea nurses. The language used gave a good feel for the era. The plot had a decent level of complexity.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I’m on the cusp of really enjoying it and loving it. It will suit those who enjoy murder mysteries. Not cosy, but doesn’t stray into gritty, it spans the two nicely.
I’m looking forward to the next one in the series, as it looks it be set up for a sequel. I hope that they keep the same narrator 🤞

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My biggest issue with this book was the narration. I can't figure out if the problem I had with the narrator's volume was due to underprocessing the audio to even it out, or direction/production missing the fact that she yelled some character's voices and quietly spoke others. I kept turning it up when Bell had a number of lines in a row, and down when most of the other characters screeched at him. I hope that gets fixed before release.

This is not a cozy. This is a dark, brutal, disturbing story and there should be PTSD and horrific assault warnings on it. I don't know how believable it is that a woman could "help" a Scotland Yard investigator interview witnesses, but it was good to imagine. The dialog felt a bit stilted and unnatural, and I wasn't convinced of the romance developing between a nurse and an opium-addicted detective. However, this is the first in a series and character development moves along at a much slower pace, so perhaps I'll feel the spark at some later point. I would like to continue in the series and cross my fingers that the discomfort of this book is resolved and fleshed out in the near future.

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The Highgate Cemetery Murder opens with the discovery of the gruesome murder a young woman on the morning of All Saints’ Day, 1858, who is displayed on a cross in Highgate Cemetery with a pig’s heart around her neck. A journalist who may have witnessed the crime falls under the wheels of an omnibus and is killed. Gemma Tate, a nurse recently returned from the Crimea, is the sister of the journalist and doesn’t believe his death was an accident. Sebastian Bell is the police officer assigned to investigate the murder of the young woman victim in the cemetery. Soon the two begin working together against Bell’s better judgement to solve the two suspicious deaths.

This book is a little darker than what I usually read. The details around the murder really are horrific. And this is not a romanticized Victorian London; it’s dirty, grim, and harsh for many that live there. The author shows us the prejudices, class distinctions, and poverty that abound.

The mystery itself was well-thought out and compelling. The clues are sprinkled throughout and there were several good twists.

What makes this book strong is the characters. Sebastian is deeply troubled, blaming himself for his wife’s murder and addicted to opium. Gemma is resourceful and smart, but battles sexism and nurses are typically looked down on. They are both lonely and in pain, but are stronger, more in control when working together. They make a good team.

I listened to the audio and while overall, the narrator did a good job, occasionally her tone pulled me out of the story. She was overly dramatic at times and her pacing was a bit odd.

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Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to listen to this audiobook in exchange for an honest review. This book was absolutely amazing from start to finish. From the first chapter I was hooked. A fantastic mix of gothic murder mystery with a historical setting; it gave everything I was after. The first book in the series I cannot wait for what's next to come! Fantastic writing and the perfect narrator to really bring this story alive and set the scene with all the characters. Miss Tate and Sebastian are the unexpected yet perfect pairing to help solve a string of murders and assaults that might be connected. Please let Miss Tate be in the next books alongside Sebastian!

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I chose this book primarily because of the narrator. She’s one of my favorites with distinct character voices, she puts on a great one woman production for every audiobook! She automatically makes any book even better and it feels like I’m inside the book with the characters. I also loved the author’s writing style- mysterious yet detailed at the same time. I loved the relationships between the characters and can’t wait to read the next book in the series! Highly recommend!

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Please give me all of the Victorian inspired crime/ mystery novels. It is a genre which I eagerly look for in new reads. Plus I was able to receive this novel as an audiobook which was very well done.

As the story opens, a young man is in a graveyard paying respect to his wife’s grave, when he stumbles upon a woman who has been strangled and mounted on a cross within the graveyard. There is a mysterious man lurking in the shadows and the grieving man runs for his life to find the closest constable. He is able to convey some of what he saw but his words are a jumble as he is still filled with the shock and horror of the incident. Soon after, the man’s twin sister, Gemma Tate, receives a visit that her brother, Victor, has been killed. Once she receives his personal effects from the mortuary, something tells her that her brother’s death was no accident and she is spurred to try to figure out what happened and seek justice. With the partnership of Sebastian Bell, who seems on the verge of being fired from Scotland Yard every other day, they must work together to solve the mystery of the woman in the graveyard as well as what happened to Victor.

I thought it was well paced and I think the atmosphere was perfect for a cold winter day. I love curling up with a good crime novel and helping the characters figure out “who dun it”. I want to thank NetGalley and the publisher, Storm Publishing, for allowing me an advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review. I give it about 4.5 stars for keeping me engaged and feeding into my love of the mysterious reads.

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I loved this audiobook and through the narration I really felt like I was part of the mystery and didn't want to stop listening until I knew more.

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"The Highgate Cemetery Murder" by Irina Shapiro is the first book in new historical mystery series set in Victorian London. I love a good historical mystery, so I was eagerly anticipating listening to this audiobook.

Gemma Tate is a nurse returned from Crimea and living in London with her brother in London. Sebastian Bell is a Scotland Yard detective, who harbours an addiction and a deep personal sadness that is beginning to interfere with his ability to do his job. They are thrown together as her brother is killed shortly after discovering a horrific murder in Highgate Cemetery, which Bell is in charge of investigating.

This was a really good book, and the narrator was on point. Victorian London and the class structure and societal expectations are well fleshed out and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series!

I received an audiobook copy from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

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