[Review] The Colour of Murder by Toni Mount

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London is not safe for princes or commoners.

In February 1478, a wealthy merchant is killed by an intruder and a royal duke dies at the Tower. Neither case is quite as simple as it seems.

Seb Foxley, an intrepid young artist, finds himself in the darkest of places, fleeing for his life. With foul deeds afoot at the king’s court, his wife Emily pregnant and his brother Jude’s hope of marrying Rose thwarted, can Seb unearth the secrets which others would prefer to keep hidden?

Join Seb and Jude, their lives in jeopardy in the dangerous streets of the city, as they struggle to solve crimes and keep their business flourishing.

I’ve read and reviewed Toni Mount’s works before, so when I had the latest instalment in her Sebastian Foxley mysteries delivered to my kindle on release day, I knew I’d have to do the same. My previous reviews have been absolutely glowing and the previous four mysteries really set the bar high – I honestly didn’t think Mount could do any better than the previous books.

But she’s set the bar even higher and this book has to be the best in the series so far.

As with the previous instalments, I absolutely devoured this novel. It truly was a page turner and I found myself reading late into the night just to find out what was going to happen next. Books that have me feeling that way are rare indeed but it’s something I’ve come to expect from Mount. The way she weaves the scenery together is truly exceptional and yet again it feels as if you are wandering the stinking streets of London, or in the Foxley’s kitchen as Emily is having yet another breakdown. Add that in to the utterly brilliant characterisation and you truly do have the perfect historical novel.

The Colour of Murder is once more set in medieval London before Richard Duke of Gloucester becomes King Richard III and this time involves the death of multiple people – a merchant and the Duke of Clarence. And once more the Foxley brother’s try to get to the bottom of the mysteries surrounding these deaths, however all doesn’t go well for poor Seb. Not only must he deal with the mysteries, but also a commission from Gloucester (who I absolutely adore! Mount makes him a really likeable fellow), his workshop and his pregnant wife but also something particularly nasty happens to him whilst he’s trying to escape from the Tower of London…

I won’t say any more on that side of things due to spoilers. But all I will say is holy crap, that part of the story is awesome.

Mount effortlessly twists together fact and fiction in this wonderful piece and the tapestry is only made more beautiful by the fantastic characters. Sebastian and Jack Tabor remain my favourites whilst (as I mentioned in a previous review) I found myself hating Emily more and more. Her whole attitude towards poor Seb just stinks – although I suppose you can blame that on the pregnancy in this case – although you can tell that she does love him…she just has a bit of a funny way of showing it sometimes. But Jack…oh Jack. That poor sweet little lad with his inability to speak difficult words and needing to ask so many questions. He deserves all the happiness in the world and really needs a hug. So many characters within this work evoke a sense of sympathy from the reader and sometimes even more than that, love and even hatred at times. You feel like you know them and you want to make sure that they’re going to be alright. It takes a master wordsmith to make any reader feel that way.

The whole novel is electric and so incredibly emotionally charged. I would highly recommend this book to anyone with any sort of interest in historical fiction, whether they know anything about the history of the era or not.

[Review] The Colour of Cold Blood by Toni Mount

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A devilish miasma of murder and heresy lurks in the winter streets of medieval London – someone is slaying women of the night. For Seb Foxley and his brother, Jude, evil and the threat of death come close to home when Gabriel, their well-liked journeyman, is arrested as a heretic and condemned to be burned at the stake.

Amid a tangle of betrayal and deception, Seb tries to uncover the murderer before more women die – will he also defy the church and devise a plan to save Gabriel?

These are dangerous times for the young artist and those he holds dear. Treachery is everywhere, even at his own fireside

It was my absolute pleasure to receive an advance reader copy of Toni Mount’s third Sebastian Foxley Medieval Murder Mystery. After reading “The Colour of Poison” I was absolutely hooked on the story of Sebastian Foxley and I must admit, developed a little bit of a crush on the young artist.

From the moment I picked this book up, and I know it sounds horribly cliched, I couldn’t put it down. Mount’s writing style, the twists and turns in the plot, make this novel a real page turner. The descriptions of Medieval London, the stinking back alleys and the sight of beggars who had fought for the King only to end up destitute, really make you imagine that you are there with the characters. Within this tale we see characters who have been prominent in the last books – the Foxley brothers, of course, Jack Tabor and his dog Beggar, Tom, Emily and a myriad of others; all of which are characterised perfectly. I have to admit that I found myself seriously disliking certain characters who, previously, I had loved. Without spoiling the story, all I will say is that there were points when I really hoped Sebastian would kick Emily out of his house! Other characters I grew to love even more, particularly little Jack Tabor with his constant questions on what certain words meant and his mischievous personality.

The tale itself is one of mystery, murder and heresy. With murders of young prostitutes, Seb Foxley must unravel that mystery whilst dealing with the threat of heresy in his own home and treachery from his own family. I was particularly impressed with how Mount mixed historical fact in with her tale – it was incredibly well researched which is a given for Mount. She is an incredibly knowledgeable historian and you can really tell when reading her work.

Normally, with historical fiction, I’m wary. But this novel is absolutely fantastic and one I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone. Here’s to more adventures starring the Foxley brothers!