The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne
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.

The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne Details

TitleThe Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne
Author
ReleaseAug 4th, 2020
PublisherMinotaur Books
ISBN-139781250142818
Rating
GenreMystery, Historical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Historical Mystery

The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne Review

  • Faith
    January 1, 1970
    “...the unkempt mass of curls on his head looked less like a wig than like a gray cat posing as a wig to escape pursuing hounds.” I loved the descriptions in this book. In 1703 the famous collector Sir Barnaby Mayne invited the young botanist Cecily Kay to visit his London home so that she could study his plant collection. Mayne’s interests included the natural sciences, valuable treasures, curiosities and the occult. When Mayne is killed while conducting a tour of his collection Cecily and her “...the unkempt mass of curls on his head looked less like a wig than like a gray cat posing as a wig to escape pursuing hounds.” I loved the descriptions in this book. In 1703 the famous collector Sir Barnaby Mayne invited the young botanist Cecily Kay to visit his London home so that she could study his plant collection. Mayne’s interests included the natural sciences, valuable treasures, curiosities and the occult. When Mayne is killed while conducting a tour of his collection Cecily and her old friend, the illustrator Meacan Barlow, try to pick out the murderer from a group of obsessed collectors. I don’t read many straight forward mysteries any more, but I liked both the setting for this one and the detective team. They were determined, intelligent and capable and they didn’t rely on men to get them out of trouble. There were a lot of red herrings and I didn’t guess who the murderer was. The resolution was explained at the end of the book in a classic mystery info dump. The ending leaves room for this book to become the first of a series and I would definitely read another book with these characters. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
    more
  • ScrappyMags
    January 1, 1970
    Agatha Christie would be proud!Shortest Summary Ever: It’s 1703 (the place to be!) and Cecily Kay has returned to London to visit the home of collector Barnaby Mayne. While searching for botanical information, she stumbles right into a mystery when the host is killed. But she saw the killer and he confessed! The end? Oh no, that’s merely the beginning!Thoughts: I wasn’t sure about this mystery until about 20% in, and then I was hooked (line AND sinker!). I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE historical my Agatha Christie would be proud!Shortest Summary Ever: It’s 1703 (the place to be!) and Cecily Kay has returned to London to visit the home of collector Barnaby Mayne. While searching for botanical information, she stumbles right into a mystery when the host is killed. But she saw the killer and he confessed! The end? Oh no, that’s merely the beginning!Thoughts: I wasn’t sure about this mystery until about 20% in, and then I was hooked (line AND sinker!). I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE historical mysteries, and while the tone was more cozy than I typically care for, I fell right in and enjoyed a paddle through this mystery pool. The author’s narrative was engaging - pulling me into the shelves upon shelves in the home of Barnaby Mayne. I envisioned all of the characters ala Christie fashion, and the mystery itself reminded me so much of her books. Not an easy endeavor. I did guess the killer right off but it was likely a guess or else I’m watching entirely too much ID channel during this quarantine and I should become the next Hercule Poirot (minus the ‘stache). All my reviews available at scrappymags.com around time of publication.Genre: Mystery/Historical FictionRecommend to: Agatha lovers, leaning toward cozy mystery but a little grit. Not recommended to: Those who love the dark and dirty.Thank you to the author, St. Martin’s Press, and Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for my always-honest review and for the education of the time period!
    more
  • Cynthia
    January 1, 1970
    This is a DNF. ☹️ I feel like my tastes are changing. A year ago, this book might have worked better for me but I can’t get into it and haven’t had any desire to pick it back up since starting it a week ago. I think the tone of the writing is pitch perfect. I really appreciate that. But I don’t think this story is for me. 😥
    more
  • Kayla TM
    January 1, 1970
    As the world begins to open up, in 1703, collecting things of interest becomes a fad. In London, one of the largest collections belongs to Sir Barnaby Mayne, whose cabinets fill his home. A group of people gather for a tour of the collection, but it ends with the discovery of Sir Barnaby Mayne dead on the floor of his study and a confession that Lady Cecily Kay doesn’t wholly believe.To be honest, I struggled through the beginning of this book. It starts slow and builds from there, but the begin As the world begins to open up, in 1703, collecting things of interest becomes a fad. In London, one of the largest collections belongs to Sir Barnaby Mayne, whose cabinets fill his home. A group of people gather for a tour of the collection, but it ends with the discovery of Sir Barnaby Mayne dead on the floor of his study and a confession that Lady Cecily Kay doesn’t wholly believe.To be honest, I struggled through the beginning of this book. It starts slow and builds from there, but the beginning felt, almost, formulaic to me. Almost like a game of Clue: Sir Barnaby in the study with a knife. It wasn’t until page 80 or so that I was finally intrigued and wanting to continue. From there, the plot is twisting with questions. People telling their story and questioning whether it is truth or not. There’s some action, though most of it is two women solving a murder mystery that everyone else has given up on. The ending, though, is wonderful. The way everything comes together, pointing out the flaws in people’s thinking that lead them to this point, that lead one to murder. This mystery comes down to questions, obsessions, and appearances.That said, I did struggle a bit with the relationships portrayed in this book. Cecily’s marriage is distant, and after a brief explanation isn’t really delved into further. The friendship between Cecily and Meacon is awkward and feels superficial. Lady Mayne’s relationship with her husband was almost nonexistent. And for that lack in personal relationships, the whole book feels distant to me. Four stars.
    more
  • Elaine
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne. My reading preferences usually run toward mysteries and thrillers set in the present or a couple decades ago, but every once in awhile I enjoy a good historical mystery, especially if the premise is an intriguing one. ** Minor spoilers ahead ** When Cecily Kay arrives at Barnaby Mayne's home to study his vast collection of plant specimens, she did not expect to be embroiled in a murder investigation.But, that's what happens w Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne. My reading preferences usually run toward mysteries and thrillers set in the present or a couple decades ago, but every once in awhile I enjoy a good historical mystery, especially if the premise is an intriguing one. ** Minor spoilers ahead ** When Cecily Kay arrives at Barnaby Mayne's home to study his vast collection of plant specimens, she did not expect to be embroiled in a murder investigation.But, that's what happens when Barnaby is murdered in a house full of people and when Cecily discovers the wrong man is imprisoned for the crime, she seeks out to find the truth and deliver justice.Cecily Kay is an unconventional woman, to say the least. She is married, but educated, smart and speaks her mind, a rarity during the eighteenth century when women were deemed to be seen and not heard.Coming along for the ride, a childhood friend whose acquaintance she renews, Cecily and Meacan travels the filthy streets of London to pursue a killer, interviewing suspects and potential witnesses, encountering obstacles and unfriendly people, that does nothing to deter their course of pursuing the truth.I loved how the main characters are two women who speak their mind. They are talented and quick witted, independent thinkers and courageous.There are lots of supporting and minor characters, all of whom have a role in the story or know something about the murder in some way.The story itself about collectors of antiquities, curiosities and rarities, pirates and tall tales of magic and the high seas is intriguing and offers an interesting look at what people during that particular century found captivating.The author is a skilled writer, especially when describing the grim realities of living in the early eighteenth century, especially for a lady.At times, the narrative began to drag, and I felt my attention waning, but for the most part, this was a good read.I would recommend The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne to anyone looking for a good historical mystery with strong female characters.
    more
  • Karen Kay
    January 1, 1970
    I received this from Netgalley.com. "London, 1703. One elite community attempts to understand the world by collecting its wonders. Sir Barnaby Mayne, has devoted his life to filling his cabinets. When he is murdered, Cecily Kay sees too many inconsistencies for her to ignore."An okay murder mystery although the pacing felt jagged. It dragged a bit in the middle and felt rushed at the end.3☆
    more
  • Anmiryam
    January 1, 1970
    Elsa Hart follows her wonderful Li Du mysteries with a new series set at roughly the same period, early 18th century, but a world away in England. Despite the change of scenery, her fascination with travel and the stories and obsessions it can engender continue to be a centerpiece in this new novel. Despite starting a bit slowly with some awkward writing at the outset, the story gathers pace and interest as the new set of characters get involved in solving a classic mystery with a limited set of Elsa Hart follows her wonderful Li Du mysteries with a new series set at roughly the same period, early 18th century, but a world away in England. Despite the change of scenery, her fascination with travel and the stories and obsessions it can engender continue to be a centerpiece in this new novel. Despite starting a bit slowly with some awkward writing at the outset, the story gathers pace and interest as the new set of characters get involved in solving a classic mystery with a limited set of suspects. Lady Cecily Kay, an avid naturalist and botanist arrives at Sir Barnaby Mayne's house to identify the specimens she has transported from Smyrna where her husband is stationed as ambassador. While there she encounters a friend from childhood, Meacan (short for Meacanmara) Barlow. The two tentatively begin to rebuild their friendship as they investigate the murder of Sir Barnaby, despite the apparent confession of his curator. It is these two complementary women (one logical, the other impulsive, one tall and elegant, the other short, round and warm -- you get the idea and while it's all a bit too tidy it works and each of them have parts of their characters which surprise) -- and the secondary character of the rogue dealer/innkeeper Covo -- who form the main attraction of the novel. The mystery is clever enough, but a bit lacking in suspense. Still, it is a warmhearted and appealing series opener and I look forward to future episodes in the continuing adventures of Cecily and Meacan.
    more
  • gwendalyn _books_
    January 1, 1970
    The Cabinets of Barnaby MayneBy Elsa [email protected]@macmillanusaThe year was 1703, and Queen Anne Occupied the throne.Lady Cecily Kay, husband has sent her from Smyrna after expressing too much interest in her husband's business dealings. She has an appointment with Sir Barnaby's at his home. Wanting to identify some her own her plant samples she has acquired in Smyrna. Lady Cecily Kay along small group of men are with Sir Barnaby Mayne,as he gives a tour of his extensive collections that co The Cabinets of Barnaby MayneBy Elsa [email protected]@macmillanusaThe year was 1703, and Queen Anne Occupied the throne.Lady Cecily Kay, husband has sent her from Smyrna after expressing too much interest in her husband's business dealings. She has an appointment with Sir Barnaby's at his home. Wanting to identify some her own her plant samples she has acquired in Smyrna. Lady Cecily Kay along small group of men are with Sir Barnaby Mayne,as he gives a tour of his extensive collections that cover all facets of flora, fauna, gems, artifacts and curious oddities. When the unthinkable happened Sir Barnaby was found stabbed dead in his study with his curator standing over him, bloody knife in hand confessing to the murder. Nothing is what seems in the historical mystery..Great writing kept me flipping the pages in this delightful whodunit feminist mystery.
    more
  • Nancy Luebke
    January 1, 1970
    This was an enjoyable historical, who done it. I received it for free and I've rated it a 4*. I have voluntarily chose to review this story. The first part moves a little slow but as you get into it, and get to know the characters a little, it moves a little faster.This was totally about those who considered themselves collectors, but was really more like obsessions. It is possibly a forerunner of museums. Anyway, grown men got passionate about seeing these collections. With simmering passions, This was an enjoyable historical, who done it. I received it for free and I've rated it a 4*. I have voluntarily chose to review this story. The first part moves a little slow but as you get into it, and get to know the characters a little, it moves a little faster.This was totally about those who considered themselves collectors, but was really more like obsessions. It is possibly a forerunner of museums. Anyway, grown men got passionate about seeing these collections. With simmering passions, sometimes there is murder involved.
    more
  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Minotaur Books for sending a copy of The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne by Elsa Hart in exchange for an honest review.The Cabinets is Barnaby Mayne gave me strong Things In Jars vibes. A historical mystery set in 1703, Lady Kay visits a collectors house to identify her plants and instead becomes obsessed with the murder of her host. This cozy mystery is an interesting look into the beginning of scientific discovery and now members of the collecting community would find and write about new a Thank you Minotaur Books for sending a copy of The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne by Elsa Hart in exchange for an honest review.The Cabinets is Barnaby Mayne gave me strong Things In Jars vibes. A historical mystery set in 1703, Lady Kay visits a collectors house to identify her plants and instead becomes obsessed with the murder of her host. This cozy mystery is an interesting look into the beginning of scientific discovery and now members of the collecting community would find and write about new and interesting species.
    more
  •  Bookoholiccafe
    January 1, 1970
    The story is set in London early in 1703, it’s about Sir Barnaby Mayne who is a collector and his home is filled with his cabinets of things.The first one hundred pages moved very slow for me, until I got to know the characters then it moved a little faster.Lady Cecily Kay arrived at Sir Mayne’s house to study his plant collection. when Sir Mayne is murdered in his house while there are people touring his house and an innocent man is being sent to prison for his murder. That’s when Lay Kay and h The story is set in London early in 1703, it’s about Sir Barnaby Mayne who is a collector and his home is filled with his cabinets of things.The first one hundred pages moved very slow for me, until I got to know the characters then it moved a little faster.Lady Cecily Kay arrived at Sir Mayne’s house to study his plant collection. when Sir Mayne is murdered in his house while there are people touring his house and an innocent man is being sent to prison for his murder. That’s when Lay Kay and her childhood friend Meacan Barlow, whom she accidentally met at Mr. Mayne’s house after a long time, get involved investing the murder of Sir Mayne. While rebuilding their old friendship they study obsessed collectors in order to solve this murder mystery.This Victorian murder mystery was very well-written, the vivid description of the scenery and well-developed characters, once you get to know then, made this story suspenseful.One thing that I really liked about this book was that the main two characters were two strong and well-crafted females.Many Thanks to Minotaur Books for this gifted copy.Blog Instagram Amazon
    more
  • EAM
    January 1, 1970
    This book was an unexpected gem! I would describe it as a modernized and feminized version of Sherlock Holmes, with two female sleuths in 18th century London trying to get to the bottom of a shocking murder mystery. I genuinely appreciated Hart's spin on a classic murder mystery. The author did a wonderful job researching the details around "curated cabinets" that were popular with "serious" collectors at the time - the logic around the murder and the connection with the curio cabinets was well This book was an unexpected gem! I would describe it as a modernized and feminized version of Sherlock Holmes, with two female sleuths in 18th century London trying to get to the bottom of a shocking murder mystery. I genuinely appreciated Hart's spin on a classic murder mystery. The author did a wonderful job researching the details around "curated cabinets" that were popular with "serious" collectors at the time - the logic around the murder and the connection with the curio cabinets was well executed. As I read the book, I enjoyed imagining what Barnaby Mayne's house looked like with each room filled with different curiosities collected from all over the world. Each of the peripheral characters were also interesting in their own right and Hart did a nice job of giving them depth and a personal history. I couldn't give the book 5 stars simply because I was never able to connect with the main character, Cecily; this was probably because key details relating to her marital relationship were never fully explained and left me questioning her intentions and what was driving her deeper interest in the mystery around Barnaby's death. Also, her friendship with Meacan always felt awkward - At first, this made sense since the two hadn't seen one another for many years; however, later in the book when they have supposedly developed a deeper sense of trust with one another, I was never able to fully understand how they re transitioned back into their once-familiar relationship. Still, this was a fun read and I was lucky to win a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review! I would recommend this for anyone who enjoys a traditional murder mystery - a la Christie or Doyle - but wants a refreshingly modern perspective!
    more
  • Phyllis
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to NetGalley & publisher St. Martin’s Press - Minotaur Books for a digital advance reader's copy. All comments and opinions are my own.The title, the cover artwork, and the story description tempted me immediately. I couldn't resist this murder mystery that takes place in 1703 London, with two strong-willed, clever and independent women partnering to solve this who-dun-it. The cabinets are full of items Sir Barnaby Mayne has been collecting for years. In fact, his entire house is one coll Thanks to NetGalley & publisher St. Martin’s Press - Minotaur Books for a digital advance reader's copy. All comments and opinions are my own.The title, the cover artwork, and the story description tempted me immediately. I couldn't resist this murder mystery that takes place in 1703 London, with two strong-willed, clever and independent women partnering to solve this who-dun-it. The cabinets are full of items Sir Barnaby Mayne has been collecting for years. In fact, his entire house is one collection after another - plants, jewels, feathers, taxidermied birds, bottled snakes, skulls and other bones, etc. Author Elsa Hart skillfully describes these items and more, which cast atmospheric shadows amid the candlelight and heavy draperies of Mayne's multi-storied home. Not only does the interior architecture set the scene, but the garden also creates a mood of suspicion. And the characters are all potential murderers - Hart had me guessing until the suspenseful denouement. I especially liked the novel's well-written descriptions of people, personalities, and observations. Hart crafted a variety of unique characters that helped set and sustain the mysterious mood. And I was so pleased at the conclusion of this novel to have the promise of another book. I'll be on the lookout.
    more
  • Kristi Drillien
    January 1, 1970
    London, 1703--Cecily enters the house of famous collector Barnaby Mayne. In a circle of men who store and display wonders of the natural world, Mayne has the largest collection around. Cecily simply wants to use his cabinets to put identifications to her own small collection of pressed plants. Instead, she gets embroiled in a murder mystery when Sir Barnaby is slain. Though one man admits to the crime at the discovery of the body, Cecily uncovers too many inconsistencies to believe his hasty con London, 1703--Cecily enters the house of famous collector Barnaby Mayne. In a circle of men who store and display wonders of the natural world, Mayne has the largest collection around. Cecily simply wants to use his cabinets to put identifications to her own small collection of pressed plants. Instead, she gets embroiled in a murder mystery when Sir Barnaby is slain. Though one man admits to the crime at the discovery of the body, Cecily uncovers too many inconsistencies to believe his hasty confession. Finding the truth will prove even more difficult than finding any particular item in the cabinets of Barnaby Mayne.I was initially drawn to this book because of the cover, but I wondered if it might turn out to be a slow, dusty read. While there were a few small spots that dragged when cabinet contents were focused on now and then, overall, I didn't have a problem with the pacing. The main characters were the highlight of the book, and the mystery itself was engaging.Cecily is a strong, independent woman who has endured much in this world where women are not expected to participate in the affairs of men. There is also Meacan, who was a childhood friend of Cecily's, though the two lost touch over the years. Meacan has been employed at Sir Barnaby's house, and the two make quite the pair as the investigation picks up. For as much as I liked Cecily, Meacan was an even more interesting character. I certainly hope we get to see a lot more of her in the future, compared to the smaller role she had overall in this book.I had a few theories about who the real murderer was and why, and even about why the confessor would admit to a crime he didn't commit. While my initial guess on the latter turned out to be true, I had no clue about the murderer, even up to the reveal. Overall, it seemed to me like no one really had much of a motive for the murder, even though just about everyone seemed to have the opportunity. Looking back, the clues were mostly there, but meager enough, and stretched far enough apart, that I wasn't exactly kicking myself for not solving it.The writing and descriptions, as well as the dialog, gave the book just the right historical feel without bogging down the story. There is plenty of intrigue in the lives of both Cecily and Meacan to make them characters you want to follow into a series, and the ending definitely hints at more to come, though I see no specific indication that this is the first in a series. I certainly hope it is. My only real gripe is that the entire first chapter seemed completely unnecessary to me. I don't really understand why it was needed. If it was simply to give us a glimpse at a character that would come into play more later, the scene could have gone a whole different way that would play into the story in this book a lot more. Otherwise, though, I think mystery lovers, especially those who like historical fiction, will enjoy this book.Thank you so much to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me a copy of this book to review!
    more
  • Terry
    January 1, 1970
    The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne by Elsa Hart is an extremely well-written whodunit, in the vein of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot, but with a feminine 'detective.' Okay, so I stretch the truth just a wee bit. Cecily Kay is our 'detective,' but she is not truly a detective. She has recently returned to London in the early 1700s. She is fascinated with botany, in a time when collections are what all the cool cats are into, she has her own small collection of dried plants. Barnaby Mayne, one of Lon The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne by Elsa Hart is an extremely well-written whodunit, in the vein of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot, but with a feminine 'detective.' Okay, so I stretch the truth just a wee bit. Cecily Kay is our 'detective,' but she is not truly a detective. She has recently returned to London in the early 1700s. She is fascinated with botany, in a time when collections are what all the cool cats are into, she has her own small collection of dried plants. Barnaby Mayne, one of London's most renowned collectors, has agreed to her request to view his cabinets in an attempt to identify some of the dried plants she brings home with her. During the tour, however, he is murdered. Although someone confesses to the crime, Cecily feels like the puzzle pieces just aren't fitting together properly, and in attempt to preserve justice, she takes it upon herself to figure out who really did murder Barnaby Mayne, and why.I adored Cecily and her childhood friend Meacam. They were very well-developed characters. I also thought many of the other more minor characters were well developed. All the tiny details that Cecily noted and held onto amazed me. In this way she was very much like Poirot, although certainly much less quirky, perhaps more relatable, especially for women.The way Elsa Hart described the setting, London in the early 1700s, was utterly transportive, down to the language the characters used in conversation and the etiquette that would've been observed. It was appropriately authentic.And the mystery! The mystery was the best part. Every time I thought I knew who had committed the murder, I was proved wrong. Right up until the end, when the events built to a very satisfying culmination. I could not put this book down as it neared its peak. I also failed to guess the motive and how it came to be a motive. It was all fascinating.Highly recommend to all!Thanks to Elsa Hart for writing this book, St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books for publishing it, and NetGalley for serving as our link. The above opinions are my own and are unbiased.
    more
  • Kidlitter
    January 1, 1970
    A DRC was provided by Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and honest review.Who doesn’t love a cabinet and yearn to discover the mysteries hidden in its various drawers and cupboards? The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne by Elsa Hart is an old-fashioned yarn, set in early 18th century London, where history was poised between the advent of modern science and the superstition and fantasy that had mostly passed as the basis of accepted knowledge. Collectors - almost always men - searched the world for flora A DRC was provided by Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and honest review.Who doesn’t love a cabinet and yearn to discover the mysteries hidden in its various drawers and cupboards? The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne by Elsa Hart is an old-fashioned yarn, set in early 18th century London, where history was poised between the advent of modern science and the superstition and fantasy that had mostly passed as the basis of accepted knowledge. Collectors - almost always men - searched the world for flora and fauna or sent paid messengers to retrieve samples to showcase in their homes, hoping to gain prestige, social status, and a good investment as much as new knowledge. They viewed the world as theirs to plunder, jealously guarding their treasures, competing with other collectors, deigning to allow viewership only to a select few, arguing over provenance and ownership - as one character muses, collectors are viperfish "because like the viper, it swallows its prey whole." Barnaby Mayne exemplifies the obsession and privilege that makes him one of England’s greatest collectors, and his house a toxic, cloistered place where anything, even murder, can happen. Into this world comes several women, one a noblewoman and gifted botanist, the other her childhood friend, working as an artist and amateur archivist in the homes of collectors. Lady Cecily Kay is in exile from her marriage, childless, looking to rebuild her life through her passion for documenting her own small collection of European plants and hoping to view Mayne’s greater collection. Meechon is lower born, twice widowed, intelligent, magnetic, always with her own self-interest at heart. Despite having grown up to be very different women, together they are thrown into a twisty adventure of murder and mayhem that erupts around Mayne’s collection. Viewed with suspicion for their lack of status in the male-dominated world of the collectors and for their interest in science and solving crime, they are reminded that "curiosity was Eve's weakness.” But Cecily and Meekan find an advantage in their marginal status, "for men who consider themselves so learned, they are remarkably oblivious to the possibility that a woman who is drawing may be listening at the same time."Meachon does see the danger -"I think it is unwise to follow a path leading from murder into the realm of the collectors. It is a shadowy place full of illusions. And it isn't safe." But she has her own motives for pursuing the truth and a handy way through the streets of London, which is deftly portrayed as its own kind of messy, smelly, fascinating cabinet of secrets. Cecily’s desire to challenge the inherited knowledge of so-called experts in favor of scientific method, documentation and social questioning of the status quo make her vulnerable not just to those guilty of violence but those who would protect the patriarchy at all costs. Neither of them accepts subservience easily - Cecily’s husband exiled her because “Cecily has an embarrassing habit of demonstrating knowledge superior to his." The women must band together in this satisfying mystery to solve a crime, but also make new lives for themselves in a brave new world. Kudos to Hart for creating an irresistible page-turner that makes the reader long for a sequel.
    more
  • Arevik Heboyan
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to the author for bringing such a fascinating topic for discussion and it was a fast and easy read, however, I was starting this book with such a high expectation from the synopsis. I was imagining a book filled with images and descriptions of many interesting and fascinating objects from around the world since the book was talking about the greatest collection of wonders around the world. I deeply appreciate the author's take in researching the psychology, underworld of collector's routi Thanks to the author for bringing such a fascinating topic for discussion and it was a fast and easy read, however, I was starting this book with such a high expectation from the synopsis. I was imagining a book filled with images and descriptions of many interesting and fascinating objects from around the world since the book was talking about the greatest collection of wonders around the world. I deeply appreciate the author's take in researching the psychology, underworld of collector's routines, way to acquire objects, I really appreciate the psychology of minor obsessions that describes the collector's psychology. Not sure if actual book ( not the ARC) will have any inserts or objects, but I am sure that would make this read so much more interesting. I would also appreciate a little backstory of some of the collectors, objects they were interested in, their backstories. This may be just an issue of my personal expectations.This was a very Hercule Poirot-esque mystery novel. I was hoping to get engaged more, unfortunately. The language: 3*: very easy, I truly hoped for some collectors' jargon, lexicon to be usedThe plot: 3*: mystery-solving with an interesting insert of politicsThe evolution: 3*: we certainly see some evolution in the book, but not really a character evolution Interest keeping: 3*: I had lost my interest at some points due to lack of anchors to the text Conclusion/climax: 4*: interesting intake in rumors/manipulations and I think John Rose was a reference to Resecrusians with all maps & occult, but that may be just my imagination References: 2*: I'd love to see some London references, as mentioned some subject references to collectors' routines and lives.I'd love to see new works by the author. Detailed review in my blog: bibilioanalytic.com
    more
  • Dragonlady
    January 1, 1970
    Set in London in the early 1700’s, this charming mystery opens with Sir Barnaby Mayne giving a tour of his extensive collections that cover all facets of flora, fauna, gems, artifacts and oddities to a small group of men and Lady Cecily Kay. Equipped with a sharp, inquiring mind Cecily is not quite the ideal wife thus her husband, who works in the Constantinople consulate sent her home to England. Cecily finds that no hardship as she passionately pursues her interest in collecting and identifyin Set in London in the early 1700’s, this charming mystery opens with Sir Barnaby Mayne giving a tour of his extensive collections that cover all facets of flora, fauna, gems, artifacts and oddities to a small group of men and Lady Cecily Kay. Equipped with a sharp, inquiring mind Cecily is not quite the ideal wife thus her husband, who works in the Constantinople consulate sent her home to England. Cecily finds that no hardship as she passionately pursues her interest in collecting and identifying rare plants and it was that interest that drew her to Sir Barnaby’s cabinets. What should have been a fascinating tour quickly turned ugly when Sir Barnaby was found stabbed dead in his study with his curator standing over him, bloody knife in hand confessing to the murder. Although everything appears cut and dried, for Cecily there are too many things that simply don’t add up. Assisted by Meacan, Cecily’s childhood friend and talented illustrator, the two women set out to discover what really happened as Sir Barnaby’s widow moves forward to get rid of what she sees as a terrible mess that is in truth, a treasure trove. Neither woman had any idea just how dangerous that pursuit would be as they rabbit out the truth.First of a new series, this light mystery is a fun read with believable characters. Cecily and Meacan make a dynamic duo as they navigate the predominately male world of serious scientific and esoteric collecting. The pacing is even and while the murderer’s identity may not come as a complete surprise, it is still great good fun to see how Cecily and company unravel the mystery. There is a vague hint of what to look for in the next book so clearly, Cecily and Meacan will be back.
    more
  • Juli
    January 1, 1970
    This story reads like a classic mystery. The pace is a bit slower....but the story is rich and well worth the wait. Set in London in 1703, this tale centers around Collectors. Collectors are an elite, wealthy group who pride themselves on collecting bits of science and history, then display cabinets filled with the wonders they have curated. The best collection is owned by Barnaby Mayne.....rare rocks, plant samples, animal bones, archaeological artifacts....if it's odd, intriguing and interesti This story reads like a classic mystery. The pace is a bit slower....but the story is rich and well worth the wait. Set in London in 1703, this tale centers around Collectors. Collectors are an elite, wealthy group who pride themselves on collecting bits of science and history, then display cabinets filled with the wonders they have curated. The best collection is owned by Barnaby Mayne.....rare rocks, plant samples, animal bones, archaeological artifacts....if it's odd, intriguing and interesting, Barnaby Mayne has it in his cabinets. His house is a chaotic yet mesmerizing place filled with his treasures....like a strange museum. Cecily Kay comes to the house to study Mayne's collection of rare plant specimens, but ends up investigating the murder of Mayne himself. I loved the atmospheric feel of this story. I could imagine myself in Mayne's house surrounded by the things he had collected over years. I could almost feel his pride in The Collection and the envy of the others whose cabinets of wonders just didn't quite match up to Mayne's. Elsa Hart writes a very descriptive story.....I could almost smell the dust and furniture wax. This story is slow paced like more classic mysteries. It has an almost Sherlock Holmes feel to it. There are plenty of suspects and sleuthing by two women determined to get at the truth....and some well-done plot twists. Definitely a must-read for those who enjoy classic mystery! This book would make an excellent movie....Mayne's house would be quite visual and engaging!This is the first book by Elsa Hart that I've read. I will definitely be reading more! I've heard very good things about her Li Du series!**I voluntarily read a review copy of this book from St. Martins Press. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
    more
  • ♡Ellie
    January 1, 1970
    “.. It will always be the Mayne collection. It didn’t only belong to him, you see. His very self is bound up in it. Sir Barnaby is here, now, still alive within these cabinets. Every object, every choice of where to place it, every label written - he is here.” Meet Sir Barnaby Mayne, it’s 1703 and he’s one of the most popular and well known collectors of his time. Which reminds me a lot of me, because I am also a collector of my favorite things.. books.. funkos.. and lots and lots of stickers l “.. It will always be the Mayne collection. It didn’t only belong to him, you see. His very self is bound up in it. Sir Barnaby is here, now, still alive within these cabinets. Every object, every choice of where to place it, every label written - he is here.” Meet Sir Barnaby Mayne, it’s 1703 and he’s one of the most popular and well known collectors of his time. Which reminds me a lot of me, because I am also a collector of my favorite things.. books.. funkos.. and lots and lots of stickers lol. But unlike me, Sir Barnaby is open to the public, anyone who please can walk in and admire his collection of curiosities and unique finds. My sticker collection isn’t anything special.🤪Well.. you shouldn’t trust all who come to your home. Sir Barnaby is murdered.. which is a shame is happened so early in the book, i would’ve liked to know him better. Oh! where were we? Oh yes!Cecily arrives at Sir Barnaby’s ready to discover, explore, and see new things.She never imagined she would be investigating a murder. This story is full of unique details of what life was like during that time, and what people found to be fascinating. I especially loved the wonderful in detail description of what Barnaby’s collection was like. His different rooms, and even some of the stories behind some of his prized possessions. Written in third person, and not having enough background on Cecily, made me feel disconnected from her, and not truly understand a lot of her why’s. But I appreciated, that all my questions leading up the end were answered. I definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys a suspenseful, historical murder mystery.
    more
  • Tonstant Weader
    January 1, 1970
    The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne is a historical mystery taking place in 1703 when colonization and exploration had sparked a mania for collecting from around the world. Sir Barnaby Mayne was the collector’s collector. Few could indulge his furious collecting of everything. His home became a magnet for scientists seeking to do research, including Cecily Kay who brought a collection of plants back to England from Smyrna and hoped to use Mayne’s collection to identify them.Unfortunately, on the day s The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne is a historical mystery taking place in 1703 when colonization and exploration had sparked a mania for collecting from around the world. Sir Barnaby Mayne was the collector’s collector. Few could indulge his furious collecting of everything. His home became a magnet for scientists seeking to do research, including Cecily Kay who brought a collection of plants back to England from Smyrna and hoped to use Mayne’s collection to identify them.Unfortunately, on the day she arrived, the tour of the collection was interrupted by her host’s murder. Inexplicably, his meek assistant confessed to the murder before fleeing. Cecily thought it unlikely and is searching for a motive or an alternative explanation.I liked The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne well enough to be eager to read another featuring Cecily May. The plot is fair and sufficiently complex to suggest more than one murderer. I was interested in the outcome and liked Cecily a lot. It was a bit slow-moving at times, perhaps due to the difficulties of being a woman investigating anything in 1703. Historical novels that seek to be even close to reality can become as stultifying as the lives of upper-class women were. Navigating social norms can be tiresome. Despite that, I am intrigued enough to look forward to the next in what I am certain will be an enjoyable series.The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne will be released on August 4th. I received an e-galley from the publisher through NetGalley.The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne at St. Martin’s Press | Macmillanhttps://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpre...
    more
  • thereadingowlvina (Elvina Ulrich)
    January 1, 1970
    What It's About: Set in London, 1703, Sir Barnaby Mayne is a collector of rare and exotic items. Much to the envy of other collectors, his home is filled with cabinets of these precious items which he has acquired from all around the world. One day as he is giving a tour of his rare collection to a small group of visitors, he is called to attend an urgent matter. Soon after, Sir Barnaby is found lying dead on the floor and although the killer confessed to the murder, Lady Cecily Kay is not c What It's About: Set in London, 1703, Sir Barnaby Mayne is a collector of rare and exotic items. Much to the envy of other collectors, his home is filled with cabinets of these precious items which he has acquired from all around the world. One day as he is giving a tour of his rare collection to a small group of visitors, he is called to attend an urgent matter. Soon after, Sir Barnaby is found lying dead on the floor and although the killer confessed to the murder, Lady Cecily Kay is not convinced. She is determined to seek the truth and together with her longtime friend, Meacan, they begin to investigate. My thoughts: This book started off really slow and overall, it was a slow burn mystery. It took me a while to get into it and there are many characters to keep up with. But the writing is engaging enough to hold my interest. It is atmospheric and descriptive. The author transported me to the historical London and the world of collectors. The plot is clever, twisty and I was not able to guess correctly who the murderer was! So, that is a good sign of a great mystery! The main protagonists are both likeable and overall, the characters in this book is pretty interesting and not dull at all.In a nutshell, this is one enjoyable, good old-fashioned murder mystery. I am not sure if this is a stand-alone novel or it's going to be part of a new series. Either way, I am looking forward to read more by this author! Pub. Date: Aug 4, 2020***Thank you St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for this gifted review copy in exchange for an honest review.***
    more
  • Jean Kolinofsky
    January 1, 1970
    Barnaby Mayne’s body was found in his study with his assistant, Mr. Dinley, standing over him. Even though Dinley admits to killing him before escaping, it is unlikely that this mild-mannered, calm gentleman was capable of such an act. At least that is the opinion of Lady Cecily Kay. She had been invited to tour Mayne’s extensive collection of artifacts and explore his plant collection to help identify species she had collected. Now she is looking for a killer.In 1703 Barnaby Mayne was an esteem Barnaby Mayne’s body was found in his study with his assistant, Mr. Dinley, standing over him. Even though Dinley admits to killing him before escaping, it is unlikely that this mild-mannered, calm gentleman was capable of such an act. At least that is the opinion of Lady Cecily Kay. She had been invited to tour Mayne’s extensive collection of artifacts and explore his plant collection to help identify species she had collected. Now she is looking for a killer.In 1703 Barnaby Mayne was an esteemed collector of rarities. His wealth went to funding travelers, who would send back plants and animal specimens from around the world. His collection was the envy of other collectors, but could one of them have been involved? At the time of his death, Mayne was employing Meacan Barlow, an illustrator working on one of his catalogues, who grew up with Cecily. She also believes in Dinley’s innocence and works with Cecily to find the truth while also trying to keep her safe.Elsa Hart’s previous series took place in 18th century China. Her elegant writing style and her ability to captivate her readers is once again evident in The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne. This is a story that will appeal to fans of Agatha Christie as well as those of historical mysteries. I would like to thank NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing this book for my review.
    more
  • Robin Boardman
    January 1, 1970
    Disclaimer: I won this book in a goodreads giveaway. The house of Barnaby Mayne is stuffed to the roof with a collection of strange objects, stones, skeletons, specimen jars and murder. I'll freely admit that mysteries are not something I reach for very often... or at all. In the case of this book, I'm very pleased to have found something that was quite enjoyable despite being outside of my genre-comfort zone. While I don't pick up mysteries often, I do spend a lot of time with historical fic Disclaimer: I won this book in a goodreads giveaway. The house of Barnaby Mayne is stuffed to the roof with a collection of strange objects, stones, skeletons, specimen jars and murder. I'll freely admit that mysteries are not something I reach for very often... or at all. In the case of this book, I'm very pleased to have found something that was quite enjoyable despite being outside of my genre-comfort zone. While I don't pick up mysteries often, I do spend a lot of time with historical fiction and maybe it was the 1703 setting that made it work for me. I enjoyed the authors style, the depth provided to the characters. The attention to detail in the settings was exactly what you'd hope for in a story set in the midst of a massive collection of oddities and artifacts. The household and it's inhabitants are fully realized. I also enjoyed the female protagonist; I found her relatable and clear in her purist of the truth, both in both the murder and classification of her precious plant specimens. I've read too many books lately with thinly imagined characters that this was a refreshing change. I was able to see and understand her thought process, her motivations and satisfaction as she chips away at the mystery. This one was a fairly quick read and I didn't have any problem getting through it. I enjoyed it from start to finish.
    more
  • Sarah-Hope
    January 1, 1970
    I'd been hoping for a mind-blowingly wonderful reading experience with The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne. I'm not sure why that was. Partly just the book cover and the image used for the promos. And a period mystery novel built around cabinets of curiosity, just seems like such a promising premise. That said, my mind wasn't blown. Barnaby Mayne was a good read, the kind of historical mystery I always enjoy, but it didn't float to the top like cream, so to speak.Barnaby Mayne has two strong, central I'd been hoping for a mind-blowingly wonderful reading experience with The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne. I'm not sure why that was. Partly just the book cover and the image used for the promos. And a period mystery novel built around cabinets of curiosity, just seems like such a promising premise. That said, my mind wasn't blown. Barnaby Mayne was a good read, the kind of historical mystery I always enjoy, but it didn't float to the top like cream, so to speak.Barnaby Mayne has two strong, central female characters who are really the heart of the book. Though they come from different class backgrounds, they were playmates for a time as children. Meeting again as adults, they are balancing a mix of pleasure at an old friend rediscovered with the trepidation that the other may not turn out to be the friend she seems to be. The various "collector" characters serve well enough, but the feel a bit interchangeable, with a few exceptions.If you like historical mysteries, pick up this title. It will make for an enjoyable few days of summer reading. If historical mysteries aren't one of your preferred genres, Barnaby Mayne is probably not a title that will prove gratifying.I received a free copy of this title from the publisher via Net Galley. The opinions are my own.
    more
  • Annie
    January 1, 1970
    In the history of modern science, the decades that bridge the medieval era, the Renaissance, and the Enlightenment were a wild time. The way that Americans are taught about this time makes the medieval era seem like, as Justin McElroy of Sawbones once said, “everyone got stupid for a while.” Ancient science was suppressed in favor of Catholicism and alchemy, until the Renaissance kicked off in Italy and the march of Science resumed. Like I said, this is what we’re pretty much taught over here. W In the history of modern science, the decades that bridge the medieval era, the Renaissance, and the Enlightenment were a wild time. The way that Americans are taught about this time makes the medieval era seem like, as Justin McElroy of Sawbones once said, “everyone got stupid for a while.” Ancient science was suppressed in favor of Catholicism and alchemy, until the Renaissance kicked off in Italy and the march of Science resumed. Like I said, this is what we’re pretty much taught over here. When we get to college, we might learn about the geniuses of the Islamic Middle Ages or about weirdos like Paracelsus. This is a huge oversimplification of a lot of history, but it does partly explain the phenomenon at the heart of The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne, by Elsa Hart. In the early years of what we now call science, natural philosophy was all the rage as wealthy European men (mostly men) who were curious about the world around them started to study—and collect—specimens from around the expanding world...Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, for review consideration.
    more
  • Laura Hill
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on August 4th, 2020.The start of a new series by Elsa Hart, this is a fun “cozy” that takes place in Queen Anne’s London (1703). Our two ad-hoc detectives are Cecily Kay, a devoted botanist with a sharp mind, and Meacan Barlow, a scientific illustrator with abundant practical know how. Both are ensconced in the estate of the self-satisfied and impa Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on August 4th, 2020.The start of a new series by Elsa Hart, this is a fun “cozy” that takes place in Queen Anne’s London (1703). Our two ad-hoc detectives are Cecily Kay, a devoted botanist with a sharp mind, and Meacan Barlow, a scientific illustrator with abundant practical know how. Both are ensconced in the estate of the self-satisfied and impatient Barnaby Mayne — a renowned collector of scientific artifacts. On a day when Mayne has opened the house to a group of collectors for a tour, he is found murdered at his desk.The book is full of ambiance. It is populated with a wide array of collectors, scholars and those who take a more business oriented attitude to the fossils, stones, books, and antiquities being collected. Good writing, decent plot, interesting characters, and well-painted atmosphere. I haven’t read Elsa Hart before, but I’m now curious about some of her previous series (such as Li Du — an imperial librarians in 18th century China).
    more
  • Tristan Munoz
    January 1, 1970
    Cecily Kay can hold her own in the world of elite specimen collectors, a world dominated by men in the 1700’s. When she goes to work with the formidable and well known collector Sir Barnaby Mayne in London, she could not have imagined the predicament she finds herself in. Sir Barnaby’s collections are extensive, and his cabinets of specimens are infamous among other serious collectors. Cecily’s passion is plants and she hoped to study Sir Baraby’s rare collections, but when he is murdered, Cecil Cecily Kay can hold her own in the world of elite specimen collectors, a world dominated by men in the 1700’s. When she goes to work with the formidable and well known collector Sir Barnaby Mayne in London, she could not have imagined the predicament she finds herself in. Sir Barnaby’s collections are extensive, and his cabinets of specimens are infamous among other serious collectors. Cecily’s passion is plants and she hoped to study Sir Baraby’s rare collections, but when he is murdered, Cecily’s time in the Mayne household takes a turn and she begins to investigate his death. This book is a Victorian murder mystery set in the world of intellectual collectors and is full of suspense and intrigue with a strong female lead. I enjoyed reading about the specimens and appreciate the extensive research required to write a book like this. I found the characters to be delightful and loved that the main females were strong and independent. Victorian age stories are always full of beautiful imagery and I cannot get enough of them! Thank you so much to NetGalley, Minotaur Books and Elsa Hart for the advanced copy of The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne in exchange for my honest review.
    more
  • Susan Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    When I read a book I am looking for a good story first. I also like strongly drawn characters, preferably with at least one likable one and a good sense of place. In this one I didn't find that. I found an author who was trying to be clever and weak, unlikable characters. It was a disappointment to me. Barnaby Mayne is a collector in the early 1700's and setting up a basic home museum. His house is full of cabinets of different collections of things like insects, plants, fossils, rocks, etc. Non When I read a book I am looking for a good story first. I also like strongly drawn characters, preferably with at least one likable one and a good sense of place. In this one I didn't find that. I found an author who was trying to be clever and weak, unlikable characters. It was a disappointment to me. Barnaby Mayne is a collector in the early 1700's and setting up a basic home museum. His house is full of cabinets of different collections of things like insects, plants, fossils, rocks, etc. None of them particularly interesting to me but apparently interesting to a collection of collectors. They come to the house for a tour and Mayne ends up murdered. There is a hunt through insipid characters for the murderer. I had a hard time keeping interested as I really didn't like anybody and never invested in who killed him. The author was more interested in writing quirky characters that making any of them likable. Good job. They are quirky. Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of the ARC in exchange for a fair review.
    more
  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    This one reminds me a lot of Sherlock Holmes/Agatha Christie mysteries. As with them, I was a tiny bit frustrated that I didn't even have a clue as to who did it - the clues were all there, but some of the critical interpretations weren't revealed until after the murderer was caught. (It was a fair mystery, though - the solution fit nicely and wasn't totally out of left field.) That's definitely a personal preference issue, so if you're fond of those stories, you'd probably like this one.Cecily This one reminds me a lot of Sherlock Holmes/Agatha Christie mysteries. As with them, I was a tiny bit frustrated that I didn't even have a clue as to who did it - the clues were all there, but some of the critical interpretations weren't revealed until after the murderer was caught. (It was a fair mystery, though - the solution fit nicely and wasn't totally out of left field.) That's definitely a personal preference issue, so if you're fond of those stories, you'd probably like this one.Cecily is awesome. I would 100% read another book about her, even if she does keep her interpretations close to the chest.It's a bit slow paced, but it feels appropriate for the time period, and there are lots of twists and mysterious notes and secret meetings that kept my interest.On the whole I enjoyed it, but I may not have been the ideal reader for this book.Note: review based on ARC I won in a Goodreads giveaway.
    more
Write a review