Murder at the Royal Botanic Gardens by Andrea Penrose

Murder at the Royal Botanic Gardens (Wrexford & Sloane #5)Barbara’s rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Series: Wrexford & Sloane #5
Publication Date: 9/28/21
Period: Regency London
Number of Pages: 304

I love this series because of the unique characters, their myriad backgrounds, how they came together, and how their relationships have developed – not to mention the great mysteries they solve. Your enjoyment of this book, and this series, would be enhanced, I believe, if you read at least the first book in the series first. Our characters have grown and evolved so much since that first book – and it would help you to know where they all began. I’ve read and loved each of the books in the series and I’ve loved how the characters have grown.

The setup for the mystery and investigation takes a little while, and to some, it might seem to be a bit too slow-paced at first. However, I thought it was perfect because all of the characters had to be introduced, the crime had to occur, the background set, etc. so the investigation could really take off. This one was a real doozie – there were red herrings aplenty, co-conspirators within co-conspirators, and motives within motives. You’ll definitely not figure this one out until the end. There are clues, but picking them out and putting them together is best left to the experts – Wrexford and Sloane.

Wrexford and Charlotte are looking forward to their wedding in less than a month and they are choosing their social engagements very carefully. The purpose of those social engagements is to ease Charlotte into the ton before she becomes a countess. Charlotte is already Lady Charlotte, but with her history, they’ll have to be very astute in how they answer questions and gain acceptance. That is doubly true when it comes to explaining the existence of the Weasels – Charlotte’s wards – Raven and Hawk. Since Wrexford is known for his cool scientific interests and logic, they have chosen a series of events sponsored by the botanists of the Royal Society at the Royal Botanic Gardens as their initial foray into society. How taxing can a series of lectures and dinners with a bunch of botanists be? Well, when Mr. Becton, one of America’s representatives at the event, is found dead and it wasn’t from natural causes, things get taxing indeed.

According to Mr. Becton’s friend, Mr. Hosack, leader of the American delegation, Becton was set to make the keynote speech that evening and he was to announce a major scientific breakthrough that would save thousands of lives. No one knows what that breakthrough is, what the formula is, or where any of Becton’s papers are kept. Charlotte and Wrexford are ready to stay out of the investigation and let Bow Street handle it until an old enemy (from the last book) rears his ugly head and threatens the Weasels.

As the investigation continues and the suspects are being narrowed down – more deaths occur – and motives blur – and suspects become allies – and – well, it is just very busy with suspects, crimes, motives, governments who aren’t on particularly friendly terms at the time – especially with the nuptials looming and neither Charlotte nor Wexford intend to put those off. The final revelation and resolution is exciting and dangerous and yet it wraps up the case nicely. You’ll be turning the pages faster and faster to see what happens next and how they manage to thwart the bad guys.

I can definitely recommend this book and this series. I will say I got a little tired of Charlotte’s angst. It just seemed out of character for her. She’s usually much more pragmatic. She may have a nagging worry, but she decides on a course of action and moves straight forward. She did have a good bit to be angsty about – her re-entry into society after years away, her upcoming wedding, and her reconciliation with her brother and other members of her family. However, that angst could have been mentioned less often. Our Charlotte just didn’t seem quite like our normal Charlotte.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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