MURDER AT HALF MOON GATE, by Andrea Penrose, Kensington

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A wealthy lord who happens to be a brilliant scientist . . . an enigmatic young widow who secretly pens satirical cartoons . . . a violent killing disguised as a robbery . . . Nothing is as it seems in Regency London, especially when the Earl of Wrexford and Charlotte Sloane join forces to solve a shocking murder.

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 . . .

DUE OUT: MARCH 27, 2018

MY THOUGHTS:

I was sent this book in exchange for my honest review.

What a thrilling ride!  This second installment to the series is even better than the first.  There is a murder to be solved and although that is a huge part of the book, there is another element, a character development element that continues to grow.  As the book proceeds, the characters become well-fleshed out and more familiar to the reader.  Their arcs continue to gravitate to completion as their inner struggles slowly dissolve into satisfying conclusions.

The relationship between Wrexford and Sloane also continues to develop with glimpses into their intriguing pasts providing slivers of insight and generating a few questions.

The setting is the Regency period London. The prologue grabs your attention and draws you in to the chase and atmosphere. The book is fast-paced and moves from one plot event to another with the addition of several plot twists along the way that keep you guessing about the murderer right up to the very end.

What I like about Penrose’s writing is that each book can exist as a standalone if you wish, but the interactions and character growth may fall short for you without their backstory of the previous book, an excellent writing ploy, I might add.  I certainly can see why this book is getting such great reviews. The author’s voice is intoxicating, making you want more of the emotions her writing generates.

The era this book is written in, is highlighted throughout the author’s use of technological, scientific and social references, accenting changes that were occurring in England as seen and focused on by the people of this time. Opinions were heavily influenced by satirical cartoonists’ work (Sloane).  The fact that the identity of these cartoonists could easily be hidden behind secret identities allowed for the author to use a woman for this character for a time-period when women in print and publication was not popular.

The whole meshing of era, characters, and plot work so well for this series and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

I found Wrexford typical of the male population of the times and Sloane, an excellent opposition of force for him. Emotional restraint was a social acceptance of this time which made people seem cold and disjointed, however, this is quickly undone for the main characters when they work together.

I love all the characters. They are full of life traits that makes them seem real and likeable.

 

The fact that some of the characters from the first book are revisited in the second gives expansion to the world the author has built and a realism that life influenced by these characters is affected by their presence.

I loved, loved this book!

I gave it:

5starReviews-1

 

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