Murder at Half Moon Gate

Murder at Half Moon GateA strong historical mystery, Andrea Penrose‘s Murder at Half Moon Gate leads us through the fog-filled streets of London on a merry chase. Penrose dispenses a great mix of mystery, death and romance in a Regency setting with unerring intent. This second offering in the Wrexford/Sloane series does not fall short.

Lord Wrexford and Charlotte Sloane make a formidable pair, reminiscent of Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne in the series by Julia Spender-Fleming. Speaking of other fictional detective duos, Wrexford and Sloane are more evenly matched than Holmes and Watson in analyzing clues and info. However, friends of Raven and Hawk (Charlotte’s wards) are a troupe of streetwise urchins similar to Holmes’ Baker Street Irregulars.

Wrexford and Sloane stumble across a number of deaths including the death of Elihou Ashton. On the verge of revolutionizing the steam engine, Ashton’s design would transform manufacturing. Both nobility and commoners were at the mercy of the unknown killer. Greed and blood lust mix and coalesce in a fiery brew among the swirling London fog before Wrexford, Sloane and their associates bring things to a full stop.

Secondary characters are given full measure in Murder at Half Moon Gate. From Jeremy Sterling, Charlotte’s long-time friend, to Tyler, Wrexford’s valet, to Christopher Sheffield, Wrexford’s friend, to McClellan, one of Wrexford’s maids. All did much to assist the investigation efforts.

I read, but didn’t review, Murder at Black Swan Lane, the first book in this series. For sure, I’ll be reading more of Penrose’s Wrexford and Sloane series in the future. Also, I’ll be checking out her other mystery series about Lady Arianna. Stay tuned for my reviews.

Mystery along the Thames

Mystery on the ThamesGreat mystery along the Thames. Set in mid-17th century England, Rags of Time, by Michael Ward, is a marvelous adventure. Steady, quick pacing and skillful characterization put their arms around your shoulders and pull you headlong into the chaos and confusion surrounding Thomas Tallent. Even the minor characters are interesting and endearing.

Thomas Tallent, a spice merchant, just back from India, is thrust into the midst of uncertainty. In addition to the beginnings of civil unrest fomenting in London, a rich wool merchant has died under mysterious circumstances. Within months, the merchant’s partner is also dead. Likewise a destitute young teenager caught inside Tallent’s warehouse. Whispers among the nouveau riche merchant class point to Tallent as the perpetrator. Why would Tallent kill these men? What would he gain? Who can he trust to help clear his name? Edmund Dalloway, his oldest friend? Or Elizabeth Seymour, his new love interest? Is there anyone he can trust besides his parents? They can only do so much. Tallent sets out to prove his innocence, but that doesn’t stop the gossip mill and one of the not-too-bright officials. What’s to be done? Can help come from Robert Petty, one of the investigators?

This mystery on the Thames is a spectacular read. According to an interview Mr. Ward did with Esther Rabbit (see her blog), there will be at least four more books featuring Thomas Tallent during the English Civil War period. Looking for more from this author. 

I received a free copy of Rags of Time in exchange for a truthful review.

Rags of Time
by Michael Ward
Barnaby Press
© 2019