Publisher: Minotaur Books + Macmillan Audio
Release Date: August 04, 2020
Genre: Historical Mystery / Fiction
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’.
I was looking for something fun and unique, and boy did I find it in The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne by Elsa Hart. This author wasn’t on my radar before, but she sure is now. This is my first book in the historical mystery genre, and I quite enjoyed it. I kept forgetting it was 1703 London, but I think the author set the scene perfectly, and I would always be reminded through her writing. The idea of the collectors was just fascinating to me, and although I don’t know anyone like this, I kind of wish I did now. I loved the chance to journey back to this time period through the novel, and the main characters, Cecily and her old friend Meacan, were the best female leads anyone could ask for. I loved their spirited natures, and their sleuthing was a whole lot of fun to read.
And if you are an audiobook lover, The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne is completely fantastic on audio as well. The narrator is Barrie Kreinik and her enthusiasm for her narration and the book made her very fun to listen to. Her accent made me feel like I was actually in the book and I couldn’t have asked for anyone better. The mystery was also layered and interesting, and I did not have the killer guessed. I thought the ending left great potential for this to be a series and I would honestly love it if Hart decided to do that. I really want more of Cecily and Meacan, and you will fall in love with their characters and bold attitudes, especially Maecan’s! I also loved the way the book was written and there is no shortage of suspicious characters. I saw one reader compare The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne to a game of clue and I completely agree!
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.