Unnatural Fire – Reviews

 
Unnatural Fire book jacket

UNNATURAL FIRE

The first book in the Countess Ashby de la Zouche mysteries.

Unnatural Fire was a Barnes and Noble Discovery Book for spring 2000: 

A refreshingly original work… Unnatural Fire is sparked by the hand of a master. Fidelis Morgan, an adept screenwriter and ardent fan of both Restoration comedy and crime fiction, is clearly in her element with this brazen, hilarious tale of murder and mayhem. Not only will readers salivate while waiting for her next book, they will eagerly await the return of the detective duo of the Countess and Alpiew. – Discover New Authors

Fidelis Morgan’s tale of love and greed and alchemy in 1699 is a heady compound of wit, wisdom and wildness. It’s an unsentimental warts-and-all portrait that reeks of authenticity, written with a brio that reflects the age.  Val McDermid

In Morgan’s hilarious 17th century romp, which combines an authentic slice of history with a tantalising storyline. An authority on the era, Morgan has created an inventive book which wears its learning lightly. Colourful turns of phrase and witty descriptions – like a bawdy P.G.Wodehouse leave you with a keen sense of the period. This is a frolicking good read. – Daily Mail

A lusty audacious historical romp… all the bawdiness of London at the turn of the 18th century is brought to life. – The Guardian

This is that rara avis; a comedic historical whodunit that manages not to turn silly, lose its way or lack historical verisimilitude. Difficult to achieve convincingly, this book manages it all with style, dash and vigor… A hugely enjoyable read. Miss it at your peril.
The Charlotte Austen Review, Canada

A scintillating tale of murder and mayhem in 17th century London… Lusty, funny and gripping, this is one the best historical crime books in ages. Maxim Jakubowski

A refreshingly original work that takes readers through the grimy streets of London at the turn of the 18th century, Unnatural Fire is sparked by the hand of a master. Fidelis Morgan, an adept screenwriter and ardent fan of both Restoration comedy and crime fiction, is clearly in her element with this brazen, hilarious tale of murder and mayhem. Not only will readers salivate while waiting for her next book, they will eagerly await the return of the detective duo of the Countess and Alpiew. Barnes & Noble Discover magazine USA

Like a comic Restoration play the action proceeds pell-mell, replete with bad puns and knockabout farce…Fans of light historical mysteries are sure to be amused. Publishers Weekly USA

The perfect autumn read. Marie Claire

There is a flavour of Aphra Behn about the Countess, a lusty former courtesan… With a bawdy turn of phrase and tantalising sense of period, this is historical crime fiction that plays fast and loose,, from the dirty debtor’s prisons to the sumptuous parlours of high society, Restoration cleavages and rakish proceedings abound.  The Times

A wonderful romp through the 17th century… Terrifically entertaining stuff. Mystery Lovers Bookshop USA

17th century London has surely never been this much fun… A pure delight to read.  The Mysterious Galaxy USA

An amusing romp with two attractive heroines… Unnatural Fire may well be the precursor of other Restoration mysteries. We must hope so. Tangled Web

This is a fast moving story, well and economically told, with… a strong televisual quality. Amongst a wide range of lively and well realised characters, the comical Countess and her resourceful friend and maidservant Alpiew stand out. I can only hope we shall hear more of them.  Historical Novels Review

A wildly funny book… If you like to laugh a great deal when you read historical crime then this debut romp by an incisively witty writer is for you.  Deryn Lake (Shots Magazine)

Fidelis Morgan tells a lively tale of politics and intrigue with great skill and warmth. One can’t help but be captivated by Ashby and Alpiew!  Romantic Times

What a hoot! … This fun romp takes you through eccentric high society, Restoration theatre, alchemy, the Royal Society, the dregs of slum London, through political intrigue and much more. The characters are charming and the plot is well-crafted. A must-read!
Masque of Decadence USA

This book made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion. Unnatural Fire is worth all the praise that has been lavished on it. It is no wonder that it was one of the best sellers at Crime in Store… I for one cannot wait for the next one in the series – The Rival Queens.  Mystery Women



“an extremely entertaining novel with two gorgeous main characters. Bravo and da capo!”  Weekend Avisen (weekend newspaper)

“The story is exciting and full of surprises, the pace high, and the humour calls both Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones and TV’s Hyacinth Bucket in mind.”  Politiken (daily newspaper) Denmark

“Drôle et enlevée, cette comé­die policière offre de savou­reux portraits. Fidelis Morgan, en digne héritière du Daniel Defoe, de Moll Flanders, ou du Tom Jones d’Henry Fielding, sait ménager ses coups de théâtre et camper des person­nages au caractère bien trempé.”  Le Courrier de L’Ouest / Le Maine Libre

“Un régal d’érudition et d’humour, que le lecteur n’aban­donne qu’a regret.”  Le Nouvel Observateur

“C’est avec une verve et une truculence extrêmement jubilatoires que, ressuscitant un Londres pit­toresque aux allures de cour des Miracles, l’Anglaise Fidelis Morgan – par ailleurs actrice- lance ses deux im­payables commères clans un périple picaresque ou, de rebondissement en rebondissement, le récit ne cesse de galoper en alternant éclats de rire et frissons d’effroi. Avec ça, le mystère est palpitant à souhait, son dénouement parfaitement inattendu, le style est aussi vif que la langue des deux apprenties détectives que l’on suit, comme pour une visite guidée, de la cathédrale Saint-Paul en tours de construction jusqu’aux bouges d’Alsatia, sans négliger une petite virée en canot sur la Tamise et quelques autres tours et détours hautement dépaysants. De suc­culents, petits meurtres londoniens.”  Dame

“L’intrigue, il faut absolument que le lecteur la découvre, tant elle est origi­nale et fort bien écrite. Ce texte est une comédie audacieuse, amusante et passionnante. Comme quoi on peut concilier l’intrigue policière et la vraie littérature. A découvrir pour se distraire.”  Med Pal, France

SYNOPSIS | READ FIRST CHAPTER