Reviews

Praise for The Dark Palace:

 ”Morris’ excellent writing pulls the reader in at once and makes it difficult to stop until the end…” Historical Novel Review

“stellar… Ruth Rendell fans open to stories set a century ago will be well satisfied.” Publishers Weekly starred review. 

“excellent, atmospheric” Laura Skippen, Shots Mag.

“Recommended” Geoff Jones, Eurocrime

“The plot … kept me entertained and transfixed until the very last page. I did not want this book to end, it was such a fascinating historical page turner. May this author write many more novels of this high quality in the future. Recommended.” Terry Halligan, Eurocrime

“a gripping read” Booklist

“Dickensian zest” Kirkus 

 

Praise for The Mannequin House:

“Morris excels at heartbreaking scenes of pain and violence, imbuing a classic whodunit plot with emotion and psychological depth.” Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

“[A]n excellent historical mystery book with a very intelligent and historically accurate plot.” Eurocrime

“A nifty period whodunit packed with flamboyant characters and brisk dialogue.” Kirkus Reviews.

“A sort of Edwardian Dirty Harry” Mike Ripley, Shots Blog

“Entertaining and engaging” Booklist

“rewardingly abundant in quirky episodes and oddball players” J. Kingston Pierce, Kirkus Reviews blog

“… a nice twist in the end. I’m looking forward to reading more about Silas Quinn and his team in the future.” Crimepieces

“[A] delightfully written book that was a really enjoyable page turner as well as being touching, exciting and entertaining.” The Book Geek Says.

“If you like crime fiction and period drama, you’ll be in your element. Imagine a Sherlock Homes mystery set in the department store from BBC drama The Paradise and you’ll get a rough idea of what awaits you inside The Mannequin House.” Madhouse Family Reviews

Praise for Summon Up The Blood:

“this superior whodunit” Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Mesmerizing, repellent, bizarre, intelligent, dark, provocative… utterly fascinating…” Booklist, starred review

“An engrossing and disquieting Sherlockian entry.” Library Journal, starred review

“his sense of the historical moment is strong” Kirkus

Praise for The Cleansing Flames:

Shortlisted for the 2011 CWA Ellis Peters Historical Dagger. Judges’ comments: “Reading this splendid fourth entry in the RN Morris sequence of riffs on the detective Porfiry from Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment is a bittersweet experience, as Morris is about to put the character on hold. In the new book, St Petersburg is in flames, and the fires are harbingers of the revolution that will tear the country apart. After a post-winter thaw, a body surfaces in a canal, and Porfiry is in business again. As before, character building, locale, and historical detail are all beautifully balanced.”

“… a poignant finish to an exemplary series. “ The Independent. (Picked as one of the Independent’s best thrillers of 2011.)

“The Cleansing Flames is the fourth in the series and arguably the best so far… Morris’s story succeeds admirably as a conventional work of crime fiction but is something more as well. In its twists and turns, and particularly in the divided character of Pavel Pavlovich, sympathetic to many of the aims of the revolutionaries but shocked by their methods, The Cleansing Flames is a clever exploration of the perennial conflict in political action between idealism and realism.” BBC History Magazine.

“While still fulfilling all the requirements of the historical crime novel, it is strongest in its wonderful sense of place, atmosphere and historical detail and the memorable characters that people this landscape.” Historical Novel Review.

“The Cleansing Flames with a combination of meticulous research, an interesting plot, an intelligent thought provoking narrative, and dialogue that fits the time and place is an excellent but not particularly  fast read. But it is well worth taking the time to get immersed in the story…”  Crime Scraps Blog.

“So ends a marvellous series… I’ll return to it, for sure, as I’m sure it will reward rereading, such is the depth of the historical tapestry woven.”  Lizzie’s Literary Review.

Praise for A Razor Wrapped in Silk:

“The streets of St Petersburg are vividly portrayed as the author shows the imperial Russian capital on the brink of upheaval… If you like historical crime novels, you will enjoy this.” Historical Novels Review.

“A multi-layered crime narrative, a history lesson and an inspiration to explore classic C19th Russian fiction.  3 for the price of  one.  Good value for my reading time?  I should say so.  Bring on book four!” Lizzie’s Literary Life.

“The book perfectly evokes the foggy, dangerous atmosphere of St Petersburg in those times and highlights the contrast between the wretchedly poor and the effete lifestyles of the aristocracy. R.N.Morris, a Londoner born in Manchester, must know his history and his Russian city very well indeed to be able to hijack one of Dostoevsky’s characters and activate him with such convincing authenticity in a place so far away in time and space. Bernard Knight, Tangled Web.

“A Razor Wrapped In Silk is both an excellent crime mystery, and fascinating portrait of Russian society in a period when the Tsar made a series of great reforms in an attempt to prevent revolution.” Crime Scraps

“…a brilliantly atmospheric sense of place, contrasting a demi-monde murder (with royal connections?) and the abduction and murder of children who toil as factory workers in the St Petersburg of 1870.” Mike Ripley, Shots Ezine.

“…richly complex and located well within the tradition of Russian literature… It’s a clever, disturbing portrayal of the murky underworld of St Petersburg circa 1870, and the aristocrats and entrepreneurs who lived, so they believed, out of the reach of the law.” Beverley Roos Muller, Cape Argus.

“This third outing in R N Morris’s fine series starring Porfiry Petrovich is a little gem… a wonderfully atmospheric novel, beautifully descriptive and portraying a society on the brink of upheaval. You feel drawn into the shadowy world of politics and revolt that is brewing in St Petersburg. It’s 1870 and the seeds of industrial unrest are beginning to germinate in St Petersburg where, in just over 30 years, strikes will herald the start of a revolution.” Pat Austin, Euro Crime.

Praise for A Gentle Axe:

“Lush, and exceptionally compelling, but take your time – R.N. Morris’s The Gentle Axe has a vast depth of Russian soul; mysterious, compassionate, and utterly irresistible. Alan Furst

“Morris’ recreation of the seamy side of 19th-century St Petersburg is vivid and convincing … As to who did it, Morris keeps the reader guessing until the end.” The Independent

“R. N. Morris has produced perhaps the most audacious police-inspector novel of the season with “The Gentle Axe.”….The tale hums along with controlled excitement, as if written by a Russian minimalist and rendered by a fine translator. The psychological and spiritual themes seem worthy of Dostoyevsky; there are traces of Gogol and Gorky, too. Such an accomplished book transcends pastiche.” The Wall Street Journal

It’s a satisfyingly grisly yarn… “CSI: St. Petersburg.”” The New York Times Book Review

“[A] smart, hypnotizing tale of crime and duplicity.” The New York Sun

“Morris has created an atmospheric St Petersburg, and a stylish set of intellectual problems, but what makes A Gentle Axe such an effective debut is its fascination with good and evil. It has earned its author the right to make use of the work of a greater writer.” Times Literary Supplement

“A Gentle Axe is tense, atmospheric and bristles with the kind of intelligence you’d read, well, Dostoevsky for… a piece of literary fun.” The Independent on Sunday

 

“Morris has dug deep into the Russian soul in this book, and his dark, dank, dangerous St Petersburg, with its snowbound, windswept streets and stinking slums, is brilliantly recreated. The hunt for the murderer is tense and atmospheric: the denouement brutally shocking and moving. A worthy sequel to one of the greatest novels ever written: and a cracking thriller in its own right.” The York Press

Praise for A Vengeful Longing:

“As fans of Morris’s previous A Gentle Axe will know, this author not only has the nerve to lift his lead character from Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment but also the skill to bring that distant Russia and its inhabitants to life, while drawing parallels with our own world.” The Guardian

Morris’s descriptions of the horrors of insanitary slum dwellings in St Petersburg are extraordinarily vivid, but the most striking feature of the novel is the way in which Porfiry’s sophisticated understanding of human nature compensates for the limited investigatory tools at his disposal. The Times

“… a book that satisfies on more than one level — as a story of investigation and also as a historical novel crammed with sharply individualised characters.” Andrew Taylor in the Spectator

“Right from the start, we are hooked by his storytelling panache.” Daily Express

“Morris resurrects one of literature’s all-time greatest characters: Porfiry Petrovich, the detective from Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. The result reads like an episode of Columbo, but with feverish Russian psychology and the filthy overflowing canals of 1868 St. Petersburg.” New York Magazine.

“Morris captures this world with expert strokes… this novel stands out from a number of fine czarist-era mysteries-by Russians and foreigners alike-like a Fabergé egg at a yard sale.” Publishers’ Weekly, Starred Review.

“Musing on questions of love, regret, misery,injustice, disillusionment, etc., Morris seamlessly and brilliantly segues from intensely grave to laugh-out-loud funny. Provocative, satirical insights into humanity’s darker corners.” Kirkus

“… richly evocative of its time and place.” The New York Times.

“A Vengeful Longing is in essence a novel about power, suffering, bitterness and the lengths that people will go for revenge. There is a darkness about A Vengeful Longing that leaves the reader repulsed yet fascinated… Strong and stirring.” Crime Squad.

“A Vengeful Longing confirms what RN Morris’ previous novel, A Gentle Axe, suggested – that here is major talent in the increasingly overcrowded historical crime field.” Official amazon.co.uk review

 


 

 


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