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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Review - Murder at Half Moon Gate

I loved Andrea Penrose's Lady Arianna Regency series and now she has started a new historical mystery series that I am excited to read and review.  The first in the series, Murder on Swan Lake I reviewed (click here) and now for the second in this new series.  Read on to find out how the second novel in this new historical mystery stacks up.

Author: Andrea Penrose

Copyright: Mar 2018 (Kensington) 368 pgs

Series: 2nd in Wrexford and Sloane Mystery series

Sensuality: Mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Historical Amateur Sleuth

Main Characters: Widowed Charlotte Sloane, a satirical cartoonist under the name A.J. Quill teams with Earl of Wrexford, former military man and amateur chemist

Setting: Regency era, London England

Obtained Through: Personal Purchase

From the book cover:  "When Lord Wrexford discovers the body of a gifted inventor in a dark London alley, he promptly alerts the watchman and lets the authorities handle the matter. But Wrexford soon finds himself drawn into the murder investigation when the inventor’s widow begs for his assistance, claiming the crime was not a random robbery. It seems her husband’s designs for a revolutionary steam-powered engine went missing the night of his death. The plans could be worth a fortune . . . and very dangerous in the wrong hands.

Joining Wrexford in his investigation is Charlotte Sloane, who uses the pseudonym A. J. Quill to publish her scathing political cartoons. Her extensive network of informants is critical for her work, but she doesn’t mind tapping that same web of spies to track down an elusive killer. Each suspect—from ambitious assistants to rich investors, and even the inventor’s widow—is entwined in a maze of secrets and lies that leads Wrexford and Sloane down London’s most perilous stews and darkest alleyways.

With danger lurking at every turn, the potent combination of Wrexford’s analytical mind and Sloane’s exacting intuition begins to unravel the twisted motivations behind the inventor’s death. But they are up against a cunning and deadly foe—a killer ready to strike again before they can recover the inventor’s priceless designs . . ."

Charlotte Sloane has been scraping by financially since her husband died and she took up the satirical cartoon drawings he had done under the name A. J. Quill. Because of her job, she can't shy away from finding the society's dirt to use in her cartoons that are her livelihood.  Earl of Wrexford, Wrex for short - never a first name, even with his friends - is a scientist in outlook which makes him different than other wealthy or titled peers. He fears Charlotte has rubbed off on him as he softens to the plight of her two charges and about justice in general. Sheffield is Wrex's good friend and comes through in a pinch. The two street urchins Charlotte has unofficially adopted, Raven and Hawk, are street wise, a touch jaded, and whip smart develop into stars in their own right.

London is presented as just as complex and layered as the characters.  You go from polite society visits in wealthy parlors to slums and warehouses teaming with the disreputable underbelly.  Each holds its unique perils.

The plot winds and weaves, since little about the people involved is honest or straightforward.  The pacing is steady and consistent producing a page turner that keeps you wanting more.  This series is producing some exciting killer confrontations that I particularly enjoy.  The wrap-up is particularly interesting regarding the relationship between Charlotte and Wrex.

I enjoy how the series allows Charlotte to go against the typical female role of this time, while still maintaining some adherence to the era.  The characters of Raven and Hawk are stellar additions to the cast and allow for Charlotte and Wrex to show their softer sides.  The mystery and suspense are top-notch and the slowly developing a relationship between Charlotte and Rex is believable and quite touching.  Overall this series, hits all of the right chords for a beautiful storytelling experience.  

Rating:  Near Perfect - Couldn't Put it down. Buy two copies, one for you and one for a friend.



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1 comments:

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