Crow Court (Hardback)Andy Charman (author)
Set largely in 1840s Dorset, Charman’s beautifully constructed narrative charts the long-reaching effects that ripple from an act of violence at the heart of a community.
Longlisted for the Desmond Elliot Prize 2021
Spring, 1840. In the Dorset market town of Wimborne Minster, a young choirboy drowns himself. Soon after, the choirmaster-a belligerent man with a vicious reputation-is found murdered, in a discovery tainted as much by relief as it is by suspicion. The gaze of the magistrates falls on four local men, whose decisions will reverberate through the community for years to come.
So begins the chronicle of Crow Court, unravelling over fourteen delicately interwoven episodes, the town of Wimborne their backdrop: a young gentleman and his groom run off to join the army; a sleepwalking cordwainer wakes on his wife's grave; desperate farmhands emigrate. We meet the composer with writer's block; the smuggler; a troupe of actors down from London; and old Art Pugh, whose impoverished life has made him hard to amuse.
Meanwhile, justice waits...
Number of pages: 336
Dimensions: 222 x 141 mm
'Over fourteen intricate, interconnected chapters Charman's clever, elegantly constructed, utterly convincing debut paints an intimate picture of a community wondering about the killer in their midst, as the wider world slowly transforms an old way of life' - Daily Mail
'Charman is less interested in unravelling a mystery and more concerned with the consequences that ripple out from the original violence . . . Skilful' - Sunday Times
'Debut novels shouldn't be this perfectly formed. Its subject is historic, yet its exploration of morality feels utterly modern. A rarity in historical fiction: it truly places you in the here and now of a world once removed. Crow Court already looks, feels and smells like a classic' - Ben Myers, author of The Gallows Pole and The Offing
'A confident and exciting debut: exactly observed, densely textured and richly flavoured, Crow Court is throbbing with life' - Rick Gekoski, author of Darke
'This clever narrative is both page-turning and original - an innovative and beautifully written historical novel that features an array of diverse characters and voices from its vividly realised Dorset setting' - Jane Harris, author of Sugar Money
'Inventive, original and deeply moving. There is a warmth and humanity, an acceptance of the vagaries and challenges of life' - Alice Jolly, author of Mary Anne Sate, Imbecile
'A gripping mystery, beautifully teased out over several decades, full of intrigue and ambiguity' - Andy Hamilton, author of Longhand
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“Stick with it despite chapter one”
Thanks to the author and online book club Pigeonhole for the opportunity to read this and encouragement to give an honest review.
This is a really interesting and cleverly written read. I have to give a very... More
“An incredible debut novel”
1840, Wimborne in Dorset, a young choirboy Henry Cuff takes his own life in the river. The Choirmaster, Matthew Ellis is known to rule by fear and abuse and is blamed for the young boys death. Found murdered, relief... More
“An impressive debut that brings together fourteen interlinked stories in 19th Century Dorset”
My thanks to Unbound for a digital review copy via NetGalley of ‘Crow Court’ by Andy Charman.
This proved a fascinating work of historical fiction set primarily in the Dorset market town of Wimborne Minster. It... More
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