Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Murder at Half Moon Gate by Andrea Penrose

An emphasis on change and the Industrial Revolution doesn't necessarily mean a book is steampunk. Andrea Penrose's Murder at Half Moon Gate is an intriguing Regency mystery set in London. But, one element in the book is the patent for a mechanical process that could change steam power in England and the world. Those of us who read for character will not be disappointed, though, in the two amateur sleuths in this outstanding mystery.

Lord Wrexford and his friend, Sheffield, are on their way home from a night of gambling when they stumble across a dead body, immediately after the earl had said, "I really don't fancy finding yet another dead body." As they were leaving to find a watchman, the Weasels show up, two young boys, street urchins, who live with Charlotte Sloane. Wrexford knows the widow, who is a successful satirical cartoonist under the name A.J. Quill, will now have more fodder for her pen.

Then the victim's widow shows up to see Wrexford. She reminds him that, in his role as a scientist, he once helped her husband with a problem with iron. Her husband was an inventor and mill owner. And, Wrexford was right in guessing that someone was looking for something when they killed her husband. The drawings for his new design for a process with a steam engine are missing.

Wrexford turns to Charlotte Sloane for several reasons. He asks her to not draw a cartoon about the dead man and missing papers. He's worked with the idealistic woman before, and he knows truth and fairness are important to her. He also admires her intelligence. But, neither of the two are yet ready to acknowledge their mutual attraction.

Murder at Half Moon Gate is an intricately plotted historical mystery. But, it's also exciting, with violence, disappearances, break-ins. The atmospheric story is richly detailed and descriptive. I was drawn to the two amateur sleuths and the two "Weasels". The characters are complex and well-developed, aware of their social standing and class issues.

I'm not going back to read the first in the series, Murder on Black Swan Lane. But, I'll certainly go forward with the next historical mystery in this well-written, entertaining series when Penrose writes the follow-up to Murder at Half Moon Gate.

Andrea Penrose's website is www.andreapenrose.com

Murder at Half Moon Gate by Andrea Penrose. Kensington, 2018. ISBN 9781496710802 (hardcover), 304p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.

2 comments:

Kay said...

I think this sounds good and I've been reading several books set in the 19th century. Plus, I notice my library does have the previous book (on order anyway). Think I might start there. Thanks for sharing about this one too!

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Kay. You'll have to tell us on a Thursday what you thought if you read the first book.