Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Evie Hawtrey's And By Fire - Review

I did not know about Christopher Wren and the history of St. Paul's Cathedral, and even though I am a history buff, and I read a lot of historical fiction, I did not know very much about London's Great Fire. So I found it exciting and interesting to have that event written into the historical part of this mystery. I found  the events of the fire to be visually descriptive, giving me an idea of the devastation in my mind's eye.

While I very much enjoyed the historical parts, the present day mystery is the star of the show in my opinion. Nigella Parker is a smart independent woman with a no nonsense attitude. I like her. I wasn't keen on her relationship with James. I'm just really not that into sexy hookups, but that being said, it didn't overpower the story. I enjoyed the chemistry and banter between Parker and O'Leary, and secretly kept rooting for them to get the band back together. 

The mystery really kept me guessing. I thought I had it figured out. Guess what? I didn't! I loved the juxtaposition of the murderer's art against the architecture of Wren and Hawksmoor, an art form in its own right. As I said, the story will keep you guessing with a clever mystery reveal even at the very end. 

I recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fiction and mystery. Looking forward to the author's next book for sure!

About the book
Tempered by fire and separated by centuries, two extraordinary female detectives track a pair of murderous geniuses who will burn the world for their art in this mystery perfect for fans of Sarah Penner and Dan Brown.

Nigella Parker, Detective Inspector with the City Police, has a deeply rooted fear of fire and a talent for solving deadly arson cases. When a charred figure is found curled beside Sir Christopher Wren’s Monument to the Great Fire of London, Nigella is dragged into a case pitting her against a murderous artist creating sculptures using burnt flesh.

Nigella partners with Colm O’Leary of Scotland Yard to track the arsonist across greater London. The pair are more than colleagues—they were lovers until O’Leary made the mistake of uttering three little words. Their past isn’t the only buried history as they race to connect the dots between an antique nail pulled from a dead man’s hands and a long-forgotten architect dwarfed by the life’s work of Sir Christopher Wren.

Wren, one of London’s most famous architects, is everywhere the pair turn. Digging into his legacy leads the DCIs into the coldest of cold cases: a search for a bookseller gone missing during the Great Fire of London. More than 350 years earlier, while looking for their friend, a second pair of detectives—a lady-in-waiting to the Queen and a royal fireworks maker—discovered foul play in the supposedly accidental destruction of St. Paul’s Cathedral…but did that same devilry lead to murder? And can these centuries-old crimes help catch a modern-day murderer?

As Nigella and O’Leary rush to decode clues, past and present, London’s killer-artist sets his sights on a member of the investigative team as the subject of his next fiery masterpiece.

Expected publication: May 10th 2022 by Crooked Lane Books

Pre-Order Links



Amazon US

Hudson Booksellers

Barnes and Noble

Bookshop . org

Indie Bound






Amazon UK

About the author
Crime writer Evie Hawtrey is a Yank by birth but a sister-in-spirit to her fierce and feminist London detective, DI Nigella Parker. Evie splits her time between Washington DC, where she lives with her husband, and York, UK, where she enjoys living in history, lingering over teas, and knocking around in pubs.

To learn more about Evie and her work, visit


This book was provided free of charge by the author/publisher through NetGalley.

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  1. Sounds like a book I might like--certainly I love history and historical fiction but the romance part seems superfluous.

    Enjoyed your review and putting this on my maybe list!

  2. The excitement is palpable in this review🌟

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