The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

A sea-faring tale filled with mystery and superstition.

“You know what men are when there’s nobody ordering them to be better.”
― Stuart Turton, The Devil and the Dark Water

It’s 1634. Samuel Pipps, the world’s greatest detective, is being transported on a spice ship to Amsterdam to be executed. His bodyguard, Arent Hayes refuses to believe Pipps is guilty of any crime and sets out to prove Pipps innocence.

Fiendish sorcery begins before they board the ship, and the ghostly leper continues to haunt the ship, stirring fear in the crew and wrecking havoc on the loyalties between all passengers.

This is a good follow-up to Turton’s marvellous supernatural mystery, The 71/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, (which I really loved), especially for lovers of sea-based novels. 

I found the plot intricately woven and the story intriguing, albeit perhaps a little slow in spots if you aren’t all about the realistic and detailed descriptions of the ship and sea. As with his debut novel, the characters provide a range of personalities and are well-developed, depicting the societal values of the period – with reference to the attitude toward women and class. 

I would recommend this novel for lovers of historical fiction, novels set at sea, and supernatural mystery. 

Definitely read Turton’s first book if you haven’t already done so.

Here’s my review of The 71/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle.

If this book intrigues you, check out my reviews of:

Hench by Natalie Zina Walschot

Recipe for a Perfect Wife by Karma Brown

Crooked River by Preston and Child