Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
At the start of Penrose's roisterous sixth Wrexford and Sloane mystery (after 2021's Murder at the Royal Botanic Gardens), the Napoleonic Wars are finally over, and the Prince Regent has invited the sovereigns of Europe to London for a gala peace celebration. Charlotte Sloane, whose secret identity is scathing political cartoonist A.J. Quill, has finally married the dashing Earl of Wrexford, and they have created an unorthodox family with their two rambunctious, streetwise wards. But after the boys discover the body of engineering wizard Jeremiah Willis floating in a lake in Hyde Park, Charlotte's long-desired life of domesticity will have to wait a while longer. Willis was designing a fearsome secret weapon, but the prototype for his invention is missing, and the Crown's spymaster, Lord Grentham, recruits Wrexford to retrieve it before it falls into the hands of a foreign enemy. Fascinating and well-researched historic events compensate for a plot that unwinds slowly and sometimes tediously as a host of intrepid heroes and heroines pit their wits against dastardly villains. Readers who enjoy a colorful depiction of Regency England without demanding strict plausibility will have fun. Agent: Gail Fortune, Fortune Talbot Agency. (Oct.)
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
An aristocratic sleuthing duo seeks a killer in Regency London's back alleys and drawing rooms. The Earl of Wrexford and his wife, Charlotte, have had a great deal of experience with mysteries, and their wards, Raven and Hawk, former street urchins with a scientific bent, are always up for a new adventure. So when their dog turns up a body floating in Hyde Park's lake, the Serpentine, their curiosity is piqued. The late Jeremiah Willis--whose father was a formerly enslaved man from Virginia and mother a White Englishwoman--was an inventor of note, and Wrexford and Charlotte soon learn that his orphaned nephew, young Peregrine, stands to inherit a large estate from the other side of his family. But Peregrine's Uncle Belmont, who turns out to be married to Charlotte's brother's sister-in-law, resents the fact that his older brother's late-in-life son will inherit the estate he'd long regarded as his. The boys soon become friends, and Peregrine joins the Wrexfords in London, where a government representative asks Wrexford to find the person who killed Willis and stole the design for a revolutionary rifle and, of course, to recover the papers setting forth that design. The representative, who's not above a little blackmail, hints that his higher-ups know that Charlotte is the gadfly illustrator A.J. Quill, who often criticizes government policy. In honor of a celebration of peace, London is awash in visiting leaders and royals, including the czar of Russia. Once Wrexford learns that there's to be a secret auction for the papers, he determines with the help of his family and friends to find them first and uncover a killer. A charming, action-packed mix of historical mystery and Regency romance. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.