A Matter of Grave Concern

9 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 11 hrs. Brilliance Audio. 2014. ISBN 9781491529218. $52.97; 9 CDs. retail ed.; 1 MP3-CD. library/retail eds.; digital download. F
OrangeReviewStarWhen first they meet, bookish Abigail Hale and arrogant Maximillian Wilder haggle over the price of a corpse. In 1830s England, only bodies of executed prisoners may be legally dissected; London's medical schools look to the black market for cadavers supplied by "resurrection men." One such transaction, Abby's purchase for her father's school, derails when Max and the London Supply Company abscond with the institution's operating funds. A bungled scheme to retrieve the purse strands Abby within the den of "sack 'em up men," and Max—posing as a grave robber to investigate his half-sister Madeline's disappearance—must conceal his regard for Abby or risk both their lives. Michael Page's expressive narration captures the Dickensian ambience of London's shadier denizens but also radiates the chemistry of an otherwise self-possessed couple charmingly discombobulated by lust. Abigail's eager curiosity and Max's gentlemanly restraint are endearing; erotic encounters assume greater tenderness against the grimly atmospheric backdrop. Evoking dark realities of the period—despoiled graveyards, urban poverty, exploited women—Novak (Through the Smoke) imparts suspicion and suspense for a nicely paced, satisfying audio experience ideal for historical romance fans.
VERDICT Highly recommended.

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