NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Diana Gabaldon weaves a dazzling tale of history, intrigue, and suspense in this first novel featuring one of her most popular characters from the Outlander saga: Lord John Grey.
The year is 1757. On a clear morning in mid-June, Lord John Grey emerges from London’s Beefsteak Club, his mind in turmoil. A nobleman and a high-ranking officer in His Majesty’s army, Grey has just witnessed something shocking. But his efforts to avoid a scandal that might destroy his family are interrupted by something still more urgent: The Crown appoints him to investigate the brutal murder of a comrade-in-arms who may have been a traitor. Obliged to pursue two inquiries at once, Major Grey finds himself ensnared in a web of treachery and betrayal that touches every stratum of English society—and threatens all he holds dear.
Praise for Lord John and the Private Matter
“[A] thoroughly entertaining and wonderfully witty historical mystery set in the richly detailed, occasionally bawdy world of Georgian England.”—Booklist
“Packed with vivid description and detail. Gabaldon aptly transports readers to eighteenth-century London, with all its reeking humanity and glitteringly elegant excess.”—BookPage
Trouble befalls Lord John Grey (fresh from minor roles in Gabaldon's bestselling Outlander novels) when he accidentally discovers that the Hon. Joseph Trevelyan, his cousin's betrothed, may have what those in 1757 termed "the pox" or "the French disease" syphilis. Before he can figure out an appropriate way to handle this delicate matter, he becomes involved in the investigation of the mysterious and grisly murder of a military colleague suspected of being a spy. Gabaldon (The Fiery Cross; Drums of Autumn; etc.) stitches these two plots together into a compelling narrative that also offers a wealth of juicy details about 18th-century London, especially its homosexual underbelly. Lord John, who reminisces about his dead lover, Hector, and the "lean, hard body" of an old flame, learns that Trevelyan may be traveling from one house of ill repute to another of a different sort: at the Lavender House, both buyers and sellers are men. Among his various trials and tribulations, Lord John must discern the identity of a mysterious figure in a green velvet dress spotted in both of these establishments and investigate the mysterious death of a similarly attired man, found with his face bashed in. Grey is a competent and likable sleuth, and Gabaldon's prose is crisply elegant. Her many fans will be happy to learn that this is the first in a series about the travails of Lord John Grey.
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Lord John and the Private Matter
After finishing the eight current Outlander books, Diana Gabaldon has become my favorite author. This short novel is quite different from the Outlander books. This one is reminiscent of an Agatha Christie murder mystery with a Dickens sort of cast of characters. Lord John Grey is employed to find out the mystery surrounding the death of an army Sargent believed to be a traitor. The plot becomes very tangled, with additional murders and some strange assignations. This does not have the drama of any of the Outlander books, but is much lighter in tone.