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Friday, November 6, 2020

Review - Murder at the Opera

I have been following the historical mystery series since its debut.  Here are my previous reviews:
#1 Murder in Mayfair (click here)
#2 Murder in Bloomsbury (click here)
Today I am reviewing the newest in the series.  Let's see if it stays as good as the previous books.

Author: D.M. Quincy

Copyright: December 2019 (Crooked Lane Books) 336 pgs

Series: 3rd in  Atlas Catesby Mysteries

Sensuality:  mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Historical Amateur Sleuth

Main Characters:  Atlas Catesby, youngest son of a Baron

Setting: 1815 (Regency Era), London, England

Obtained Through: Library

Book Blurb:  "When a nobleman's mistress is gunned down on the steps of the Covent Garden opera house, brilliant adventurer Atlas Catesby discovers a sinister family connection that compels him to investigate.

London, 1815. Amateur sleuth Atlas Catesby is about to discover the dark side of the bright lights. His long-awaited night at the opera with Lady Lilliana ends abruptly when a notorious courtesan is shot to death in Covent Garden.

The infamous victim was the mistress of the powerful Marquess of Vessey. Atlas believes that the marquess--his former brother in law--is responsible for the long-ago death of Atlas's sister, Phoebe. Atlas seizes the opportunity to potentially avenge his sister's death. But his inquiry is complicated when Phoebe's grown son implores Atlas to help prove Vessey's innocence.

Plunging into the cutthroat backstage life of the theatre community, the adventurer and the noblewoman soon discover that ruthless professional rivalries can escalate into violence, setting the stage for death in Murder at the Opera, D. M. Quincy's third riveting Atlas Catesby mystery set in Regency England."

Atlas Catesby finally gets past the belief that society's rules make it impossible for he and Lilliana to ever be more than good friends, and proposes. He doesn't have time to enjoy because he is plunged into investigating the innocence of the man that he knows killed his sister years ago.   

Lilliana's character is a favorite of mine and I wish to see more of her in the investigations, even is she is the sister of a Duke. She is good for Atlas and smart.  Gabriel Young, the Earl of Charlton, is Atlas' good friend and quite smitten with Atlas's married sister has a small role in this but is always a delight.  Thea Palmer is Atlas' sister and an avid mathematician who lives in town while her husband does the lordly farmer life.  The Bow Street Runner, Endicott, is a becoming a regular and adds to the story.  Juliet Jennings is an old flame of Atlas' who is also an opera singer who knew the murder victim.  This adds a twist as Atlas has just become engaged.

London's theater district and the homes of nobility are the primary settings.  The hypocritical treatment of mistresses is on display without being vulgar.  The plot seems simple but there are several twists along the path to a resolution. I found this a page turner and devoured it.

This killer reveal is sedate but still satisfying and shows Atlas making a very powerful enemy.  Which is saying a lot since I love harrowing climatic reveals.  Very well done.  A future book will likely continue the plot of the enemy's revenge later.  The wrap-up is charming and a positive note.  I long for the next book already.

This story was loosely inspired by the real murder of Martha Ray in 1779 who was the long time mistress of the fourth Earl of Sandwich.  I enjoy everything about this series and each book is a well constructed joy to read.  If you enjoy historical mysteries, this is a series not to be missed.

Rating:  Near Perfect - Buy two copies: one for you and one for a friend. 

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