I was too cowardly to add this page when I first started this website, in case I never received any reviews – and then wouldn’t it be a sad and empty little page? But thankfully some very kind people have written some jolly nice reviews and so I feel that I can finally let this page take its rightful place. I will list the reviews with the newest at the top, giving an extract from each and then a link to the full review.
Getting to know Sam, his wife Martha and his assistant William has been a joy… so it was with an element of bitter-sweetness that I approached Sam’s last adventure on the streets of London. As with any last book in a long-running series there is a sense of the tying up of loose ends, and I was especially pleased to see the brief return of an old character. Finishing the book with an air of sadness but also the satisfaction which comes from a story well told, I took the time to acknowledge the skill of this wonderfully talented author who has fed my imagination with bright and bold stories, rich in Georgian history, and ferociously alive with intrigue. Meticulously researched, and beautifully written as ever, I have no hesitation in making ‘Notes of Change’ my Featured Book of the Month for June.
Jo at Jaffareadstoo reviewing “Notes of Change”, 1 June 2022 – read the full review here.
Ms Grossey’s characters are so utterly delightful. From Sam himself, through his adorable wife, Martha, to William Wilson and his new young bride, Alice – and even the baby, young George – each character brings the life of London in the 1800s superbly to life. I felt as if I was actually walking with Sam and William along Oxford Street, or entering a coffee house or tavern with them. And as for Martha Plank’s apple pie… sadly the one I made the day after reading this novel was nowhere as good as hers. (It comes to something when reading that you can actually smell and taste the food described because the atmosphere of each scene is so brilliantly written!)
Helen Hollick reviewing “Heir Apparent”, Discovering Diamonds, 15 November 2019 – read the review here.
This is a descriptive book, with vivid images and at times aromas. It is easy to imagine being in Martha’s kitchen or at an inn enjoying an ale with Sam and William, or to catch the biting smell in the vinegar yard at the corner of Old Street and City Road. There is a real sense of authenticity without the reader feeling they are being treated to every piece of research by the author.
Pippa Macallister reviewing “Faith, Hope and Trickery”, Shots Crime & Thriller eZine, 6 August 2018 – read the review here.
As always, from the very first page, the world of Regency London springs into action and Sam’s patch around Great Marlborough Street takes shape, whether it be serving warrants on behalf of the magistrate John Conant, or attending the scene of a grisly murder, Sam does so with his usual steadfastness and meticulous attention to even the smallest of detail. There’s an inherent dependability about Constable Plank which shines through in every novel and yet, I think that in Faith, Hope and Trickery we see an altogether more vulnerable Sam which is centred on Martha’s unusual susceptibility and of his unerring need to protect her. We rarely go behind the bedroom door of this marriage; there has never been a need before, so it was really interesting to see how this crack in their relationship altered the perceived intimacy between them, something which, perhaps, we have taken for granted in previous novels.
Jo Barton reviewing “Faith, Hope and Trickery”, Jaffareadstoo, 30 June 2018 – read the review here.
What I like about the delightful law enforcement characters in this series – notably Constables Plank and Wilson – is their ordinariness. They are not superheroes, they do not crack the case in a matter of a quick fortnight, but weeks, months, pass with the crime in hand on-going with other, everyday things, happening in the background. This inclusion of reality easily takes the reader to trudge alongside Constable Plank as he threads his way through the London streets of the 1820s during summer heat through to winter rain, his steady tread always on the trail of bringing the lawbreakers to justice.
Helen Hollick reviewing “Faith, Hope and Trickery”, Discovering Diamonds, 1 May 2018 – read the review here.
As always, the author expertly transports us to Regency London with an ease only possible through good research. The occasional gruesome body in an alleyway adds to the period atmosphere as well as to the storyline. But this fifth book in the series reveals a growing unhappiness between Sam and his supportive wife Martha. Their childlessness draws Martha away from Sam and towards the heralds who give her hope. And suddenly not everything is turning out for the best in Plank’s world. Not everything goes to plan. I was taken aback by how one difficult episode ended. And this all added to the tension and readability of the story.
RoyMcC reviewing “Faith, Hope and Trickery”, Amazon, 20 March 2018 – read the review here.
The book was a real page turner. Not high in gore or drama as many modern day crime fiction tends to be, but still full of suspense and tension throughout. I liked the way the author wove in the details of the period, using her research cleverly to settle the reader into the story. And I also thought the pace and plotting were spot on – the twist at the end was very well thought out. Characters were also very solid, believable enough to step from the page, and suited to the language and style of the writing. Constable Plank is a real asset, this author is a real find, and I look forward to reading more books in the series.
Gillian Hamer reviewing “Fatal Forgery”, Bookmuse, 9 August 2017 – read the review here.
There are a collection of authors in my arsenal of ‘authors who will never let me down’ and I can officially say that Susan Grossey is now firmly placed in this category. The whole of the Sam Plank series of Regency crime novels have been an absolute joy to read and this fourth outing by Constable Sam and his able assistant Wilson is just as exciting as the previous three books… What I enjoy most about this series is the way that the world of Regency crime comes alive in the imagination, so that it becomes an entirely believable world of thieves, vagabonds, conmen and criminals who scurry and skulk within the shadows of the great city of London.
There is no doubt that the author has created a plausible and comprehensive Regency world and with each successive novel I feel as if I am returning into the bosom of a well-loved family. Sam and Martha’s thoughtful care and supervision of the ever vulnerable Constable Wilson, and of course, Martha’s marvellous ability, in moments of extreme worry, to be her husband’s still small voice of calm is, as always, written with such thoughtful attention to detail. As one book finishes I am heartened to know that, like buses, another one will be along soon, after all, the author did say that there would be seven Sam Plank stories and I am holding her to that promise.
Jo Barton reviewing “Portraits of Pretence”, Jaffareadstoo, 16 January 2017 – read the review here.
I stumbled upon this author by chance whilst researching Sir Robert Peel, and so pleased I did. I seem to gravitate towards novels based on Victorian London. This, however, being the first regarding fraud. Maybe today our bankers would think differently if capital punishment was still in place for such crimes. However I deviate…. This was an expertly constructed novel. Susan knows her stuff of course. Constable Plank is a pillar of the community and his wife Martha, such a lovely character. You really get to know them both so well. The accused – Fauntleroy, well I felt sorry for him in part up to a certain point. But won’t say any more than that, as it would spoil it for those who wish to read this novel. I struggled to put down my kindle, and found me contemplating over the plot in my head whilst nodding off. Very gripping read and now on to the next in the series.
Hooked on Books reviewing “Fatal Forgery”, Amazon, 24 October 2016 – read the review here.
I enjoyed ‘Fatal Forgery’. The storyline and narration were good. Guy Hanson as Constable Sam Plank brought the whole story to life and I was transported to Victorian London. I did like it when Sam got excited at the trial and with all the different character witnesses quite quick fire. Felt like a Sherlock Holmes in Part and a James McLevy but without the sidekick. The main downside is that this is the first in the Sam Plank series to be made available through Audible and I would really like to listen to the next one now to follow the story. So can you please get on with this now.
Bill Scott reviewing the audiobook of “Fatal Forgery”, Goodreads, 14 September 2016 – read the review here.
I have several writers on my selective list of authors who never let me down, and Susan Grossey is firmly placed on this list. Ever since I was introduced to Constable Sam Plank and his intrepid wife Martha, in ‘Fatal Forgery’, I have followed his exploits with great interest. There is something so entirely dependable about Sam, that to walk in his footsteps through nineteenth century London, is rather like being in possession of a superior time travelling machine, which picks you up and drops you smack in the middle of the dark and, it must be said, rather seedy underworld of late Regency crime. There is no doubt that Susan Grossey has made the world of Regency crime her own; the writing, is as ever, crisp and clear, no superfluous waffle, just good old fashioned storytelling, with a tantalising beginning, an adventurous middle, and a wonderfully dramatic ending, which, when all is combined, add up to, quite simply, compelling reading.
Jo Barton reviewing reviewing “Worm in the Blossom”, JaffaReadsToo, 5 January 2016 – read the full review here.
Another cracking read in the Constable Sam Plank series, following the third mystery to be solved by the dedicated Georgian policeman, supported by his indispensable and equally warm-hearted wife Martha, and his sidekick, Wilson. Susan Grossey not only paints a meticulous portrait of London in this era, she also makes the reader see it on its own terms, for example recognising which style of carriage is the equivalent to a 21st century sportscar, and what possessing one would say about its owner… In short, a very satisfying and agreeable read in an addictive series that would make a terrific Sunday evening television drama series. Looking forward to book 4 already!
Debbie Young reviewing “Worm in the Blossom”, Amazon, 3 December 2015 – read the full review here.
[Susan Grossey] makes writing historical fiction look easy and the reading of it a great pleasure…[and] is particularly good at quick, vivid descriptions of people and place… There is enough archaic language here to make you feel you are in a different era and a useful glossary at the back to check on unfamiliar words. This is the second in the Plank novels and I’m now going to go backwards and take a look at the first one. Plank and his associates are amiable company and I didn’t want the book to end.
Victoria Blake reviewing “The Man in the Canary Waistcoat”, on her “On Writers and Writing” blog, 30 April 2016 – read the full review here.
Regency police constable Sam Plank, so well established in the first book, continues to develop here… Like the first book, this is not so much a whodunnit but a whydunnit, and Grossey skilfully unfolds a complex tale of financial crime and corruption… Another feature that really lifts this series for me is the underlying compassion and humanity of Constable and Mrs Plank and other characters… There are also lots of fascinating details about daily life in the criminal world, including how the jail system worked, woven into the story and leaving the reader much more knowledgeable without feeling that he’s had a history lesson.
Debbie Young reviewing “The Man in the Canary Waistcoat”, Amazon, 1 June 2015 – read the full review here.
Even though there is a complex financial aspect to the crimes, the concise writing style makes for easy, accessible reading. [The author’s] characters are Dickensesque in their colourful characterisation and depiction, and all are extremely well developed.
The Historical Novel Society reviewing “The Man in the Canary Waistcoat”, 1 May 2015 – read the full review here.
Being in the company of Constable Samuel Plank is like walking the mean and moody streets of Regency London with a much loved and trusted friend… From the beginning of ‘The Man in the Canary Waistcoat’, I was immersed in good story telling. There is no doubt that the author has a clever way with words and shows a real empathy for her characters and truly makes them come alive on the page.
Jo Barton of JaffaReadsToo reviewing “The Man in the Canary Waistcoat”, Amazon, 3 February 2015 – read the full review here.
I do often wonder with new authors, whether a good first book will turn out to be a ‘one-hit wonder’ as can sometimes happen – but this is most certainly not the case with Ms Grossey. I enjoyed this book as much as the first and finished it wondering how long we’ll have to wait for the next one. I won’t go into the detail of the story but I must congratulate the author for her writing style which I can only describe as ‘not-put-down-able’. She should also be congratulated for taking us on an exciting and (what feels very much like) an authentic journey through life as it was in the early nineteenth century – seen through the eyes of a law-enforcer.
David Jacobs reviewing “The Man in the Canary Waistcoat”, Amazon, 25 January 2015 – read the full review here.
The descriptions of Regency London are vivid and create a real sense of time and place. The seedier areas in the 1820s are a great backdrop to a compelling mystery. Sam Plank along with Martha and Wilson are great characters well drawn and totally individual in their creation. The dialogue is believable and the pace well fitted to this genre.
Barbara Goldie reviewing “The Man in the Canary Waistcoat”, Amazon, 27 November 2014 – read the full review here.
Grossey’s first book, ‘Fatal Forgery’, introduced us to stolid policeman Samuel Plank as he investigates an early banking fraud. Building on this her new book ‘The Man in the canary Waistcoat’ takes confident wings as Plank is tasked with piecing together several crimes, suspecting that there is a connection between them. Justice eventually prevails, as it must. But this is much more than a detective novel. The author’s meticulous research of the period and attention to detail is a key element. London’s characters, upright, shady or gullible are finely drawn. The dialogue feels authentic and archaic words are defined in a handy glossary which saves darting to dictionaries.
RoyMcC, Amazon reviewing “The Man in the Canary Waistcoat”, 31 October 2014 – read the full review here.
Given the present-day banking scandals that regularly hit the headlines, ‘Fatal Forgery’ does what all good historical fiction should do and mirrors our current time with an event in the past: in this case, a banking scandal of 1824…. The novel shows a depth of knowledge one would expect from the author as she is an anti-money laundering consultant by trade. Susan Grossey manages to weave a tale of mystery and suspense through what could be a very dry subject.
Janis Pegrum Smith reviewing “Fatal Forgery”, Historical Novel Society, 5 August 2014 – read the full review here.
This was an intriguing, beautifully written and presented book that perfectly captures the tone of the era in which it is set: 1824. The narrative, in the voice of a very likeable police constable Samuel Plank (what a solid and dependable name!), kicks off with the arrest of a senior banker, Henry Fauntleroy, who soon admits forgery. Although it seems like a straightforward case, there are twists that I didn’t see coming, and this unusual approach makes for a very satisfying read… The story reads as a compelling analogy to the age of 21st century banking and the modern media’s attitude to ‘fat cat’ bankers. Though we may no longer see thousands of people thronging to the public executions of bankers, the public clamour to read about any banker’s fall from grace provides an echo of that bygone trend.
Debbie Young reviewing “Fatal Forgery”, 24 April 2014 – read the full review here.
A wonderfully entertaining novel from first page to last, ‘Fatal Forgery’ showcases the impressive and gifted storytelling talents of author Susan Grossey and will leave the reader looking eagerly toward her next effort.
The Midwest Book Review reviewing “Fatal Forgery”, 7 April 2014 – read the full review here.
Set in 1824 the Regency period is brought vividly to life through picturesque descriptions and believable dialogue; I could almost hear and smell London. I found it to be so educational about the period showing great research by the author married with great imagination and storytelling. As the story unfolds it has many twists and turns, but I must admit I did not see how it would end it kept me guessing. I love the names Susan Grossey gives her characters, and the cover of the book suits it so well. It is a real page turner for lovers of history and crime.
Barbara Goldie reviewing “Fatal Forgery”, The Kindle Book Review, 1 April 2014 – read the full review here.
Based on an Old Bailey case of the time, this is anti-money laundering consultant Susan Grossey’s very readable first novel, with a neat little coda. She is planning a second Plank novel and she will no doubt develop not only her hero but also the other characters who traipsed Regency London’s pavements.
James Morton reviewing “Fatal Forgery”, The Law Society Gazette, 13 January 2014 – read the full review here.