The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne Summary and Reviews

The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne

by Elsa Hart

The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne by Elsa Hart X
The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne by Elsa Hart
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  • Published Aug 2020
    352 pages
    Genre: Mysteries

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Book Summary

From the author of the acclaimed Li Du novels comes Elsa Hart's new atmospheric mystery series.

London, 1703. In a time when the old approaches to science coexist with the new, one elite community attempts to understand the world by collecting its wonders. Sir Barnaby Mayne, the most formidable of these collectors, has devoted his life to filling his cabinets. While the curious-minded vie for invitations to study the rare stones, bones, books, and artifacts he has amassed, some visitors come with a darker purpose.

For Cecily Kay, it is a passion for plants that brings her to the Mayne house. The only puzzle she expects to encounter is how to locate the specimens she needs within Sir Barnaby's crowded cabinets. But when her host is stabbed to death, Cecily finds the confession of the supposed killer unconvincing. She pays attention to details―years of practice have taught her that the smallest particulars can distinguish a harmless herb from a deadly one―and in the case of Sir Barnaby's murder, there are too many inconsistencies for her to ignore.

To discover the truth, Cecily must enter the world of the collectors, a realm where intellect is distorted by obsession and greed. As her pursuit of answers brings her closer to a killer, she risks being given a final resting place amid the bones that wait, silent and still, in the cabinets of Barnaby Mayne.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"The author has a gift for vivid similes (randomly displayed objects are 'like guests at a poorly planned party who cannot find a common topic of conversation'). Hart is bound to become a household name for readers who love clever and fair whodunits." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"This glimpse into the intimate circles that will eventually spawn the great museums is highly recommended for historical fiction readers looking for a peek into a fascinating closed society. It is an equally solid choice for historical mystery readers who want to see women with intelligence and agency navigate a time and place not meant for them, but where they thrive nonetheless while solving a delightfully twisty murder." - Library Journal (starred review)

"Hart's juicy character portraits and graceful prose make for a delightful period whodunit." - Kirkus Reviews

"A must-read series debut for fans of Tasha Alexander's and Deanna Raybourn's historical whodunits." - Booklist

"Spectacular. An extraordinary time machine of a novel, transporting us three centuries into the past, when Stuart London roiled with color and clamored with the grinding of carriage wheels. Like Hilary Mantel and Kate Mosse, Elsa Hart applies historical detail with a fine-tipped brush, not a mason's trowel; like Kate Morton and Ken Follett, she devises plots both intricate and exciting. And Cecily Kay, the supremely winning botanist-sleuth braving hidden dangers in The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne, is a hero for the ages ― her and ours. Open this splendid novel and jump back to a vanished world." - A. J. Finn

This information about The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Elsa Hart Author Biography

Photo: Jason Gray

Elsa Hart was born in Rome, Italy, but her earliest memories are of Moscow, where her family lived until 1991. Since then she has lived in the Czech Republic, the U.S.A., and China. She earned a B.A. from Swarthmore College and a J.D. from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. She wrote her first novel, Jade Dragon Mountain, in the mountain borderlands of Southwest China.

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