Andrea Penrose has certainly come up with a winning series! The characters, both main and supporting, are likable, fully formed, and someone you’d want to call friends if you met them in real life. The writing is excellent and the solution to the mystery leads you through a labyrinth of clues and red herrings until the villain is finally revealed. Excellently done!
Charlotte Sloane and the Earl of Wrexford have only just recently married and they are looking forward to some quiet time to get accustomed to their combined household and to living together. That, of course, isn’t going to happen because Wrex and the ‘weasels’ (two street urchins Charlotte and Wrex have taken guardianship of) have found a body in the Serpentine. Wrex has absolutely no intention of getting involved in the investigation and reports finding the body to the constabulary. After all, they are all leaving to attend a house party and there is no time for such inquiries.
Ah! The best of intentions often go awry. After arriving at the house party, they learn the identity of the victim – and his relationship to the people who are hosting the party. Still – it is best to leave it to Bow Street. At least, it is best until they return home to find a summons for Wrex to meet with a high-ranking government official who is asking for his help. It seems the victim was a gifted engineer who was developing a revolutionary new weapon for the government. Now, the engineer is dead and the prototype along with the plans are missing. The government thinks the perpetrator might be someone within the higher ranks of government and they can’t trust themselves to investigate.
As Charlotte, Wrex, and their myriad mix of friends and informants spread out through all of London, the clues begin to pour in. Some they eliminate, some they have to investigate further until the exciting climax at a naval re-enactment held where it all began – on the Serpentine.
With danger around every corner, and more bodies showing up, Charlotte and Wrex are more and more determined to find the culprit and protect those they love.
I loved this latest addition to the series and I enjoyed seeing how Charlotte (a reformer through and through) is settling into her new, more constrained role as the Countess of Wrexford. I also loved meeting a new character, Peregrine (Lord Lampson) who is the young nephew of the first victim. It is going to be fun to watch how Peregrine blossoms under the love, care, and acceptance he receives from those in the Wrexford household.
All in all, it is a great read and a great series. I hope you will read it and enjoy it as much as I did.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.