A USA Today bestseller!
“[Penrose] mixes well-thought out mysteries, early forensic science, great details of the era and a slow burning attraction creating a compulsive read.”
—The New York Public Library
A thrilling new mystery novel from the acclaimed author of Murder at Queen’s Landing, perfect for fans of Deanna Raybourn and Anne Perry!
The wedding of the Earl of Wrexford and Lady Charlotte Sloane is not-to-be-missed, but the murder of a brilliant London scientist threatens their plans—and their lives…The upcoming marriage of the Earl of Wrexford and Lady Charlotte Sloane promises to be a highlight of the season, if they can first untangle—and survive—a web of intrigue and murder involving the most brilliant scientific minds in Regency London…
One advantage of being caught up in a whirl of dress fittings and decisions about flower arrangements and breakfast menus is that Charlotte Sloane has little time for any pre-wedding qualms. Her love for Wrexford isn’t in question. But will being a wife—and a Countess—make it difficult for her to maintain her independence—not to mention, her secret identity as famed satirical artist A.J. Quill?
Despite those concerns, there are soon even more urgent matters to attend to during Charlotte and Wrexford’s first public outing as an engaged couple. At a symposium at the Royal Botanic Gardens, a visiting botanist suffers a fatal collapse. The traces of white powder near his mouth reveal the dark truth—he was murdered. Drawn into the investigation, Charlotte and the Earl learn of the victim’s involvement in a momentous medical discovery. With fame and immense fortune at stake, there’s no shortage of suspects, including some whose ruthlessness is already known. But neither Charlotte nor her husband-to-be can realize how close the danger is about to get—or to what lengths this villain is prepared to go . . .
In Penrose's swashbuckling if uneven fifth Wrexford and Sloane mystery set in Regency England (after 2020's Murder at Queen's Landing), Lady Charlotte Sloane has finally agreed to marry the Earl of Wrexford, and for their first outing as an engaged couple, Charlotte and the earl attend a lecture by American botanist Josiah Becton at London's Royal Botanic Gardens. Becton has made a momentous scientific breakthrough, but before he can share his discovery, he's found dead in the solarium. The head of Becton's American delegation believes the botanist was murdered for his formula and asks Wrexford to investigate. The earl is reluctant, until he and Charlotte learn their young ward, Hawk, was in the solarium when Becton died and may have seen or been seen by the killer. Too many plot threads and character backstories that have little to do with the murder inquiry muddle the book's first half, but the story picks up nicely in the middle and roars to an exciting climax, followed by a sweet denouement. Historical fans will have fun.)\n