Thursday, November 29, 2018

Book Review: Murder on Black Swan Lane by Andrea Penrose

Murder on Black Swan Lane
Author: Andrea Penrose
Series: A Wrexford & Sloane Mystery (Book 1)
Publication: Kensington (June 27, 2017)

Description: In Regency London, an unconventional scientist and a fearless female artist form an unlikely alliance to expose a cold-hearted killer . . .

The Earl of Wrexford possesses a brilliant scientific mind, but boredom and pride lead him to reckless behavior. So when pompous, pious Reverend Josiah Holworthy publicly condemns him for debauchery, Wrexford unsheathes his rapier-sharp wit and strikes back. As their war of words escalates, London’s most popular satirical cartoonist, A.J. Quill, skewers them both. But then the clergyman is found slain in a church—his face burned by chemicals, his throat slashed ear to ear—and Wrexford finds himself the chief suspect.

An artist in her own right, Charlotte Sloane has secretly slipped into the persona of her late husband, using his nom de plume A.J. Quill. When Wrexford discovers her true identity, she fears it will be her undoing. But he has a proposal—use her sources to unveil the clergyman’s clandestine involvement in questionable scientific practices, and unmask the real murderer. Soon Lord Wrexford and the mysterious Mrs. Sloane plunge into a dangerous shadow world hidden among London’s intellectual enclaves to trap a cunning adversary—before they fall victim to the next experiment in villainy . . .

My Thoughts: The Earl of Wrexford has been engaging in a war of words with the Reverend Josiah Holworthy. Wrexford is a scientist and Holworthy doesn't hold with those new-fangled ideas. When Holworthy is found murdered with his face burned by acid and his throat cut, Wrexford becomes suspect number one for Bow Street runner Griffin.

Wrexford has to put aside his boredom and clear his name. It seems that noted cartoonist A. J. Quill has an uncanny knowledge of the crime and Wrexford is determined to locate him and find out how he knows.

Charlotte Sloane, a woman of great mystery, has taken on the identity of A. J. Quill after the death of her artist husband. She has quite a network of servants and children who bring her information. She has taken in two young street boys Raven and Hawk who help her find her information and run her drawings to the publisher. She isn't rich but the popularity of the cartoons has increased her income substantially. 

Wrexford does manage to track her down and together they piece together the facts that led to the death of Holworthy and a scientist at the Royal Institution. It turns out that her husband's death is also linked to the same mysterious conspiracy.

I loved the Regency setting. I also loved that it was clear that it was a time of great change with science becoming more accepted - although it is still something done by many gentleman who have the funds and leisure to pursue it. I liked both main characters who were interesting people full of secrets. I would have loved to know more about Wrexford and Charlotte's pasts.

The mystery was interesting and both Wrexford and Charlotte brought their unique skills and talents to solving it.

Favorite Quote:
God forbid that a gentleman sully his lily-white hands in business or a profession other then the military, the government, or the church. Charlotte didn't envy the aristocracy. The cage might be gilded, and filled with sumptuous pleasures and glittering amusements.

But it was still a cage.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds very good. The combination of aristocracy and clergy and murder should make for really good reading.


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