Murder at Kensington Palace
Wrexford & Sloane Mystery, Book #3
By Andrea Penrose
Author Website: andreapenrose.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Wrexford and Sloane must unravel secrets within secrets—including a few that entangle their own hearts—when they reunite to solve a string of shocking murders that have horrified Regency London…
Though Charlotte Sloane’s secret identity as the controversial satirical cartoonist A.J. Quill is safe with the Earl of Wrexford, she’s ill prepared for the rippling effects sharing the truth about her background has cast over their relationship. She thought a bit of space might improve the situation. But when her cousin is murdered and his twin brother is accused of the gruesome crime, Charlotte immediately turns to Wrexford for help in proving the young man’s innocence. Though she finds the brooding scientist just as enigmatic and intense as ever, their partnership is now marked by an unfamiliar tension that seems to complicate every encounter.
Despite this newfound complexity, Wrexford and Charlotte are determined to track down the real killer. Their investigation leads them on a dangerous chase through Mayfair’s glittering ballrooms and opulent drawing rooms, where gossip and rumors swirl to confuse the facts. Was her cousin murdered over a romantic rivalry . . . or staggering gambling debts? Or could the motive be far darker and involve the clandestine scientific society that claimed both brothers as members? The more Charlotte and Wrexford try to unknot the truth, the more tangled it becomes. But they must solve the case soon, before the killer’s madness seizes another victim. (Goodreads)
Murder at Kensington Palace follows the investigative exploits of Wrexford, Earl and amateur scientist, and Sloane, who is secretly a satirical cartoonist, as they traverse the gritty streets and esteemed halls of a scientific society to solve a confounding murder of someone close to Sloane.
This is the first Wrexford and Sloane mystery I have read, though the two previous installments hold a place on my bookshelf, and I had no problem quickly learning the characters’ backgrounds and situation. It can easily be read as a standalone though I am sure reading the books in order adds even more reading enjoyment. That said I very much enjoyed my first adventure with the somewhat unlikely pair. The story unfolds from alternating viewpoints, and I think this helps propel the plot forward while also making the book more engrossing. Many times I had a hard time putting the book down – I needed to know what was going to happen next. Additionally, Sloane’s relationship to the deceased and his accused murderer make the story even more compelling.
Author Penrose makes the scientific research, innovation and discoveries of the Regency Period the backbone of the mystery. The details of the era, both social and scientific, are meticulously researched and presented in a concise, informative manner without ever being dry or taking readers out of the story. The voltaic pile, an early type of battery, is pivotal to the mystery and brings to mind Mary Shelley’s famous tale. The intricate murder mystery is well plotted and paced with plenty of red herrings to keep me second guessing the killer’s identity for much of the book. The complex, intriguing characters are distinctive with well developed protagonists and a strong supporting cast. I particularly enjoyed the boys Sloane has taken under her wing.
Murder at Kensington Palace is a smart, compulsively readable historical mystery. I wholeheartedly recommend it to any fan of historical mysteries and romances.