Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Murder and Malfeasance


Wrexford and Sloane #4
Andrea Penrose
Kensington Books
September 29, 2020

Murder At Queen's Landing begins with the murder of a young man in the dark of night on the infamous Thames River docks. That in itself would not be unusual, as the docks are notorious. This particular young man was a shipping clerk at the powerful British East India Company. Rumors of some sort of financial malfeasance begin to swirl but are not of immediate interest to the Earl of Wrexford and Lady Charlotte Sloane. However, when their friend Lady Cordelia, and her brother, Earl of Woodbridge, go missing, they are afraid there is a connection. Wrexford's friend, Sheffield, is frantic about Cordelia and enlists Wrexford to help find her.

An element of this series is the new technology emerging in the Regency Era. Many titled (and common) gentlemen pursue interests in chemistry, mathematics, botany, and biology. All of this will lead to the Industrial Revolution and its sweeping social change. As a gifted mathematician, Lady Cordelia has her part to play and might be in danger. Another element is the powerful British East India Company, an entity that I have always found fascinating. How a trading company was allowed to become so powerful and rich, even having a huge private army is a puzzle. There are many financial terms like arbitrage and bills of exchange floating around that generally make my eyes cross, but it's abundantly clear that all is not above-board at the Company. But who is at the bottom of it all?

All of the favorite characters are back, Wrexford and Charlotte, the "Weasels," two small street urchins who she adopted and is educating, and Charlotte's Great-Allison, who facilitated her re-entry into society. Everything is solved by the novel's end and wrapped up with a much-wished for happy development for our two main characters. This could be the series end, but I understand the author has plans for more books.

Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for an advance digital copy. The opinions are my own.

RATING 4.5 Stars rounded up to 5