Cover Image: Cry of the Hangman, The

Cry of the Hangman, The

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I am a huge fan of the Lucy Campion mysteries. However, this book seems to be the weakest installment. The novel moves at a very slow pace. The mystery is also very predictable. Still, Lucy is a compelling protagonist and an excellent amateur sleuth. The story is well-written as usual and makes 17th century England come to live. Therefore, the Lucy Camino mysteries is still an excellent series!
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This is the sixth book in the Author's Lucy Campion series and in my opinion can be read as a standalone 

The year is 1667 and Lucy is now apprenticed to a master printer and is occasionally allowed to print her own pieces . When her previous employer , Magistrate Hargrave ,is assaulted and manuscripts are stolen detailing
court cases and his musings , Lucy , on hearing details recited on the streets determines to try to help solve just who and why the Magistrate has been targeted .

This is quite a convoluted mystery which in itself was entertaining but I did find some of the narrative stiff and awkward at times 
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own
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Susanna Calkins' Lucy Campion mysteries give me the opportunity to re-visit a time and place I love: 17th century London. This latest book is no different. I loved it.

Susie was kind enough to agree to an interview for my youtube channel in November.
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It's London in 1667, which is a good start. You'd expect all the contrasts of the Restopration, the sordid and the gorgeous.  Lucy Campion, a printer's assistant, is caught up in a revenge, blackmail and murder mystery centred on a stolen book.

So far, so promising. But what made this book almost unreadable was the stream of historical inaccuracies and wrong notes in the way people spoke.

There's a lot of mead being drunk, and it comes in mugs, and it's almost always "steaming". I have to say that this is the first I've heard of mead being a widely-consumed drink in London in the 1660s, and "steaming" mead? Why would they heat it? And it's a strong drink, it's not like small beer, or even wine, both of which could have been heated, and certainly were drunk. A mug of mead could knock you sideways.

Then later someone's glugging whiskey. Why would they go to the trouble and expense of importing illegal rough spirits from Ireland? Another surprise is the sherry drinking. Does the author mean sack? It's more of an 18th-century drink, but perhaps they were early adopters.

Other oddnesses include a "leaking" printing press. What liquid does the author imagine was swilling around a printing press? Does she think they were using hot lead in the Restoration period? Or maybe somebody emptied yet another mug of steaming mead into the mechanism, fed up with it being pressed upon them almost incessantly.

Then there's a blossom-catching stall. A what? A stall for catching passing flowers? Or is it for some sort of competition to see who can grab the most buds thrown into the air? Who can guess? And a game of chess in which Lucy, I think (my mind was completely boggled by now) moves a piece two "spots" forward. Spots? Chess is usually played on boards with squares. Is Lucy, in fact, playing solitaire or nine men's morris but is also so confused she can't work out what game she's in the middle of? I blame the steaming mugs of mead, frankly.

And then names. There's a Sid, which isn't the first 17th-century name that comes to mind. Maybe he was named for Philip Sidney? I don't know. But later in the book there's an actual Sidney, too. There must be a plague of them. And it's not helpful to have two characters with the same name if you're making them up. Why not choose another anachronistic name like Alf, or Bert?

Oh, I spoke too soon. There's a Winston. Right. Presumably named after Sir Winston Churchill, a Devon squire whose daughter was the Duke of York's mistress. Because the Second World War hadn't happened by 1667 and nobody had heard of that other Winston, and wouldn't for another 250 years or so. But wait! Now somebody called Clyde shows up. Named after the river? There must have been a short-lived fashion for calling Londoners after Scottish rivers, and I look forward to meeting Tay, Spey and Tweed in later books. Or perhaps our name-chooser was a time traveller who whizzed forward to the 1930s and met Clyde Barrow in the USA after dropping in on Winnie during his wilderness years. And the constable's assistant is called Hank! Obviously this Restoration time-twister also bumped into one of several 1930s baseball players with that name while across the Atlantic..

Then there's the language. The usual thing with historical fiction is to write an English that isn't pastiche, but avoids modern words and phrases. This author takes an original approach, though. For instance, our time-traveller must have spent long enough in the States to introduce some 20th-century US phrases to Londoners. Like "Say there, friend, I could use a laugh." Then love interest Adam handing out mugs of warm mulled wine (not mead!), says "Please, enjoy." Say there, author, I could use a break.

Just to round things off, a couple of random eyebrow-raisers. A rogue bookseller grins and his "handsome visage" causes several ladies to "flutter and swoon". Bit of an over-reaction, fainting, perhaps? Or were they just tipsy and fell over? And Lucy's brother appears out of nowhere a third of the way through the book. With no warning that I noticed that she in fact had a brother.

All of which is a shame because a bit of research and/or a careful editor could have weeded these bizarre mistakes out and it might have made a readable book. But there's nothing like a constant stream of wrong, wrong, wrong to unsuspend your disbelief.
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Many thanks to NetGalley and Severn House for the opportunity to review “The Cry of the Hangman.” All opinions and comments are my own.

Printer’s apprentice Lucy Campion manages to ger herself involved in yet another mysterious tale in this, this sixth in the series, set in London in 1667.  Investigations aside, Lucy’s personal life plays a big part of the books.  Her former life as a maid to a magistrate looms large in these books, as the magistrate’s son has declared his intentions towards her.  But the difference between their social stations is still the same; a great chasm.  

“The Cry of the Hangman” begins with a break-in at the home of Master Hargrave, her former employer.  He has been assaulted, and some things have been stolen, the worst a manuscript of the magistrate’s past cases.

It soon becomes obvious that someone is using the magistrate’s stolen notes to write up lurid tracts detailing the trails and their aftermath.  And that someone wishes him harm, because they hold him responsible for the outcome of these cases.  How is this new printer in town involved, and his associate, the one that Lucy has met?  Then someone sends a blackmail note to the magistrate, too.  Things are becoming very personal.  

There are more murders in this book, and lots of speculation about what is actually going on.  Which leads to a lot of exposition.  The book does become somewhat bogged down in the middle, becoming rather convoluted; be prepared for that.  Eventually, of course, Lucy figures everything out, and murderers are caught twice over.  But it does take a while to get there.

Can’t fault the author for her sense of time and place, though.  The London of Charles II is a character here itself, as Lucy moves along the streets, seeking answers.  Our time period is also Christmas, and readers will get a sense of holiday customs as the story unfolds.  

Speaking of the story unfolding, Lucy’s story moves along a bit, too.  We’ll have to see how that goes in the next book.

An author’s note explains the role that an important plot point has in 17th century England.  Susanna Calkins has once again done her homework for “The Cry of the Hangman,” and those who enjoy well-researched historical mysteries will enjoy this one.
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The Cry of the Hangman is an immersive, page-turning historical mystery that pulls you into its world.

It's got everything you want from a historical novel: wonderful period detail, a great sense of place, strong and engaging characters, and a cracking good story. Along with just enough sociopolitical backdrop to make the period and place come alive, without boring the reader.

What I can't figure out is why a publisher would publish the sixth book in a series without first ensuring that readers have easy access to the earlier books? Only book 5 is available in Kindle (horribly expensive) and books 2, 3 and 4 are only available in paperback at 33, 53 and 73 quid! Surely the whole point of a series is that fans can read the series?

So, I have to say that while I thoroughly enjoyed this Lucy Campion novel, without being able to read the series I see no reason to commit to it. If the others had been available at a very low price, I'd have nabbed them by now, to further immerse myself in Lucy's world.
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Very enjoyable and well written mystery. I enjoyed this twisty tale as it kept me guessing and the overall atmosphere. Well done. Thank you netgalley and publisher for this arc in exchange of an honest review.
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This sixth Lucy Campion mystery is set in 1667 London, a time of rebuilding after the devastation of the Great Fire. The narrative delves into justice and penalty in the 17th century, when people routinely gathered and heckled at hangings and bribed the hangman for a quick death for a relative. Trials were held without a jury, and sentencing was often quickly passed with little evidence. Justice was swift and merciless, hanging for murder was a given, and commuted sentences were rare, but that didn’t mean that some judges were not susceptible to bribes. Interestingly, the novel touches on commuting a hanging if the defendant agrees to become the executioner, the eponymous hangman!

Previously a maid assigned to the household of a retired lawyer, Master Hargrave, Lucy Campion is now apprenticed to a master printer and sometimes even allowed to print her own pieces. She spends much of her days selling books and pamphlets whilst standing on a barrel calling out her stories like the news carriers of ancient days. During a break-in at the judge’s house, his private musings on past trials are stolen, and Lucy hears them recited in the streets, in a scandalous format used to deliberately discredit the judge. Along with information gleaned from her friend Corporal Duncan, her exploits turn dangerous all too soon. The heart of this mystery is complex, and its unravelling is convoluted. My disappointment is not in the plot, but in the writing, particularly the dialogue, which feels stiff and awkward at times, and some of the characters seem very one-dimensional. Many readers may well enjoy this twisty tale but, despite the popularity of the series, this entry is insufficiently compelling as a murder mystery.
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Susanna Calkins' The Cry of the Hangman offers a satisfying read for those who enjoy historical mysteries with central female characters. The mystery itself isn't obvious, though one could wish for a few, more red herrings. Lucy Campion, a printer's "apprentice" (she hasn't been authorized by the guild) who plays the role of detective, continues a life that alternates among broadside selling, broadside writing, broadside printing—and being able to to take breaks in her apprenticeship every time she encounters mysterious circumstances. She also continues to juggle two admirers, one a detective, the other the son of a judge for whom she used to work as a maid, which allows for some exploration of class and social mobility.

If you're looking for a weekend escape, this title would do nicely. 

I received a free electronic review copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley; the opinions are my own.
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The Cry of the Hangman is historical mystery fiction set in working-class London in 1667.

Lucy is a printer’s apprentice. When her mentor, Magistrate Hargrave, is beaten and his court notes stolen, Lucy suspects a rival printer. She soon begins to investigate.

The Cry of the Hangman is excellent historical fiction. It places the reader in the period seemingly effortlessly. All the details feel authentic and well-researched. The pacing is a bit slow for a mystery. However, the mystery itself was well done. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars!

Thanks to Severn House and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
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A sort of cozy set in 1667 London!  Lucy Campion, who works for a bookseller, also writes and, as it turns out, solves crimes as well.  I enjoyed the period atmospherics and the twisty mystery that kept me guessing.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  I'd not read this series and this installment as fine as a standalone.
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Spend a little time in the middle ages with the working class, but without the discomfort of having no modern day conveniences. Accompany Lucy, printer’s apprentice, unregistered as they don’t allow women, as she investigates the theft of Magistrate Hargrave’s papers. Lucy was his servant before he took an interest in helping her advance herself, teaching her to read and play chess as well as making her apprenticeship happen. He has accepted her as more of a daughter than a former servant, and encourages his son Adam’s romantic interest in her. All this ties her to the family, both the Hargraves and the servants who were her former co-workers.

When Master Hargrave is attacked in his home, having not accompanied the household to services that Sunday, Lucy is focused on getting him medical help even though the theft of his papers seems odd. When a rival book seller shows up, poaching Lucy’s crowd and telling a tale with direct connection to one of the Magistrate’s papers, she becomes determined to investigate. Who stole the papers and why?

Things become even more serious when there is a murder in town and it seems to be related to Magistrate Hargrave’s missing papers. Lucy gets Lach, the official apprentice to Master Aubrey, the printer, to accompany her on some of her investigations as she has promised both Adam and Constable Duncan, who is also romantically interested in Lucy, she will not put herself in danger. As the reader accompanies Lucy around town, interviewing people, and stalking Phineas Fowler, the rival bookseller, the reader can see how she justifies and rationalizes her actions.

Things go from bad to worse when, not long after the first pamphlet maligning Master Hargrave is written, sold and results in the death of two people, another paper is produced. It too is called out and recounted to a crowd who buy the second tract while Lucy becomes more determined to find out who wants to destroy Master Hargrave’s reputation and why they are doing so. More questions arise than answers when Lucy discovers Phineas’ home and printing press, but becomes convinced he is not responsible for the thefts or the vendetta. Before she can ask him more about his involvement, she and Lach, who has accompanied her on her most recent investigation, must hide in the basement when Phineas’ father and brother show up. Much to their dismay, before they can free themselves and discover more about Phineas he, too, is murdered. 

Things continue getting worse for Lucy, at least for a while, as she pursues answers to her questions. The plot is intricate and engaging and moves at a steady pace at the same time the reader is given an opportunity to examine the middle ages a little more closely. The job of the hangman, while not dwelt on within the novel, is central to the plot and there is an interesting reveal toward the end that is the result of excellent research on the part of the author.

There are a number of secondary characters who help create a sense of time and place and add to Lucy’s overall story. There is Adam, Magistrate Hargrave’s son who is romantically interested in Lucy and wants to convince her the difference in their classes doesn’t matter. There are also Lach, fellow apprentice, Master Aubrey, printer, Constable Duncan who also is romantically interested in Lucy, Will, Lucy’s brother,and the servants with whom Lucy used to work, Annie the maid, and the cook. These relationships have been ongoing throughout the series and while the mystery and main storyline of this novel is fully completed within this book, these relationships have changed and developed over the series. If the reader prefers reading series and following the development of secondary storylines, they probably will prefer to read the series in order.

My thanks to Canongate Books, Severn House and NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy for review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
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I had not read any of the Lucy Campion mysteries, but I did not have trouble diving into The Cry of the Hangman. I found the setting fascinating with excellent historical detail. This mystery takes place during the Restoration of the Monarchy, a few years after the Great Fire of London. Lucy is a printer's apprentice and previous servant of Magistrate Hargrave, who is attacked one morning and his commentaries of various court cases are stolen, As a printer's apprentice, Lucy must also sell the stories that are printed. When those commentaries start appearing in a rival printer's pamphlets, Lucy is determined to find out why the Magistrate has been targeted. I appreciated the description of everyday life, particularly as Lucy is selling her stories. Much like the contemporary love of true crime books, the early 1700s also had a love of true crime accounts. I also learned how justice was swift and often merciless. There also is a bit of romance for Lucy. Should she choose Adam Hargrave, who is desperately in love with her but, as the son of the magistrate, is of a higher social class, or Duncan, a police constable? Overall, this was a solid mystery but a better look at life in restoration England.
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A compelling Restoration mystery set in London with lots of twists and turns  taking place among the very competitive world of urban book printing and peopled with some very fiendish and pitiless pamphleteers holding lots of big venomous grudges, some very dangerous blackmail shenanigans and violent murderous intents to keep the reader on the edge of his or her seat for a few hours....
A magnificent 17th century tapestry of a great city still dealing with the disturbing wounds left by the plague and the Great Fire that wreaked its world at the beginning of the 1660s and teeming with a vast and wonderful cast of higly colorful but often very sinister characters and great and fascinating historical details.

The delicious Lucy Campion Mystery series keeps getting better with each new episode and Ms Calkins keeps dazzling me with her magnificent prose and rollicking imagination!
I simply can't wait for the next installment👍👍

Historical fiction at its best that truly deserves to be enjoyed without any moderation whatsoever! 

Many thanks to Netgalley and Canongate/Severn for giving me the opportunity to read this wonderful novel prior to its release date.
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I have read all the books in the Lucy Campion historical fiction series and was excited to see a new one on Netgalley. I immediately requested it and dove right into it when I was approved.

This latest outing centers around murder and a rival printer who may be able to spin a better tale than Lucy. I’ve found that the mysteries are consistently interesting and leave me puzzling as to who the culprit is. However, what has me returning to the series is Lucy and those who fill her life.

From who she works for and with, to her friends within the Hargrave household they add to the story and make me want to see how their lives are progressing. I’ve also enjoyed seeing Duncan and Adam vie for Lucy who while working to develop her printing skills does carry feelings for both.  It was exciting to see we are getting resolution as to who wins those affection.

If you enjoy historical fiction and haven’t picked up this year series what are you waiting for?
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1667 While the majority of the household are at church Magistrate Hargrave, is attacked in his home and some items stolen including personal documents with cases he has commented on. These views soon become known and death will soon follow. Printer's apprentice Lucy Campion investigates to clear Hargrave's name.
An enjoyable and well-written historical mystery
An ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This is truly an excellent novel! I have read the other books in the series and this lastest addition is just as good if not better than the others. It’s expertly written with such vivid prose and great historical detail. Lucy is both a likable and relatable character. The mystery itself is interesting and contains lots of twists and turns dispersed throughout the novel. I relished every moment of this novel and highly recommend!
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