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.
It has been suggested that the surface of the earth was once smooth, and that beneath it was an abyss filled with water. After many years, the crust of the earth became dry and brittle. At a command from God it cracked,...
Praise for The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne
Advance Praise for The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne
“Hart is bound to become a household name for readers who love clever and fair whodunits.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"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
“A must-read series debut for fans of Tasha Alexander’s and Deanna Raybourn’s historical whodunits.” — Booklist
“Hart’s juicy character portraits and graceful prose make for a delightful period whodunit.” — Kirkus Reviews