June Hur – The Silence of Bones

Title: The Silence of Bones
Author: June Hur
Year: 2020
Goodreads page: Link

1800, Joseon (Korea). Homesick and orphaned sixteen-year-old Seol is living out the ancient curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Indentured to the police bureau, she’s been tasked with assisting a well-respected young inspector with the investigation into the politically charged murder of a noblewoman.
As they delve deeper into the dead woman’s secrets, Seol forms an unlikely bond of friendship with the inspector. But her loyalty is tested when he becomes the prime suspect, and Seol may be the only one capable of discovering what truly happened on the night of the murder.
But in a land where silence and obedience are valued above all else, curiosity can be deadly.
(from Goodreads)

A crime fiction book set in a Korea of the past where the protagonist herself will put her life on the line to try solve the case, getting herself always more into political and religious intrigues, despite being only a servant.

We talk about religious intrigues because one of the sub-themes is the persecutions of Christians. It slightly reminded me of Silence by Endo but with more action on less seeing the part of the persecuted.

It is also different from the usual crime fiction as it seems that there is always something in the shadows that menaces our protagonists: they are not left free to room, with the investigation as their only thought, but there will always be some danger or someone getting in their way. This will add a lot of suspense to the story, keeping the reader entertained.

A peculiar investigative novel where, more than a real investigation, the situations and the advancement of the plot are dictated by the change of the political situation and the intrigues between the characters.

The finale is a bit bittersweet and I really wonder if an addition like that was necessary; I would have personally left that part to the imagination of the reader.
The book however is really amazing! I will totally recommend it if you are looking for a crime fiction with historical parts about 1800s Korea.


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