British mysteries are some of my favorite books to read….especially those set in either the Victorian or Regency eras. Who doesn’t love a good murder by gaslight novel?
The John Chase series intrigued me. I often gravitate toward British mysteries/detective novels with female protagonists, so a series that boasted a male detective grabbed me.
Penelope Wolfe has married the wrong man. She tried to break away from her father and in her attempt at ‘independence’ she has found herself very unhappily married. Jeremy is basically gambling himself into the ground.
Penelope’s father has also fled to Italy after publishing letters in a paper under the name “Collatinus” attacking the Prince Regent and he is suspected of murdering a women. Now a new Collatinus has emerged and Penelope fears that she will be implicated in the letters.
Unable to count on her husband for support, she turns lawyer Edward Buckler and Bow Street Runner John Chase for assistance.
I have not read any of the other books in this series but from what I gather, Penelope is also in the other books and are the Edward and John (obviously). I didn’t feel overly lost in the book, but it was clear that this was a series whose characters had history together.
Rizzolo did a nice job at orientating the reader within the series. I felt like she gave enough back story for those reading this as a standalone to navigate the story and bond with the characters.
What I liked most about this series is it’s not a cozy….it’s an intelligent read with complex characters. As a reader, you have to pay attention for plot clues….this mystery is definitely a puzzle so you need to be an active reader.
I also liked that this mystery had a foot in reality as well! An editor for the Tory paper, was assassinated for writing an article about the Reform Act of the 1800’s. I thought this added a lot of authenticity and historic interest to the mystery.
I thought Rizzolo’s descriptions of Regency England were pretty spot on and historically accurate. She was very descriptive and I felt like I could see everything clearly in my mind. Her prose was descriptive without being showy or thick….it had balance.
The characters were likable as well. Even though this was a ‘John Chase mystery’ it seemed to be more about Penelope, which was a little disappointing when I was expecting it to be more about John Chase.
But Penelope alright as the protagonist. She was intelligent and strong willed which seemed like of predictable for me but I did like her just find even if she was a little cliche. Edward and John were also likable, but I would say nothing really set them apart for me. They were just average, though they worked well together and were enjoyable, I just wasn’t blown away.
I would like to read the other novels in the series, perhaps that would help with my perception of the characters. While I don’t think it’s necessary to read the other books in the series, I think it might help knowing how the characters have interacted before and their story.
The other thing that I wasn’t sure about was the title of the book. I think the cover was elegant and interesting, as were the covers of the other books, and I thought the titles worked well for the other books but this one….the title just didn’t work for me. I don’t know if it was the phrasing or if it was too bland, for whatever reason I don’t know that I would have choose that as the title.
If you are a historic mystery fan you will probably like this series. I enjoyed it and thought that it was a smart series. If you are looking for a fluffy cozy this isn’t for you….this is a more serious, thinker mystery. I would gladly read the other books in the series, I think the series overall has major potential!
Please check out other stops on the tour for author interviews, giveaways, and guest posts as well as a number of other reviews! The schedule is listed below!
e-copyPublished November 4th 2014 by Poisoned Pen Press
- Review copy provided by: Publisher as part of the HFVBT book tour in exchange for an honest review
This book counts toward: NA
- Hosted by: NA
- Books for Challenge Completed: NA
Recommendation: 3.5 out of 5
Genre: Historic fiction, mystery, Regency era
Memorable lines/quotes: NA
Monday, November 17
Review at Back Porchervations
Tuesday, November 18
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Thursday, November 20
Interview with Curling Up With a Good Book
Friday, November 21
Review at Book Nerd
Monday, November 24
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Tuesday, November 25
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Friday, November 28
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter
Monday, December 1
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Tuesday, December 2
Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection
Wednesday, December 3
Interview at Caroline Wilson Writes
Friday, December 5
Review at The True Book Addict
Monday, December 8
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Thursday, December 11
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Friday, December 12
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story