cover image Murder at the Merton Library: A Wrexford & Sloane Mystery

Murder at the Merton Library: A Wrexford & Sloane Mystery

Andrea Penrose. Kensington, $27 (370p) ISBN 978-1-4967-3993-3

A scientific innovation stokes deadly rivalries in Penrose’s engrossing seventh Regency-era whodunit featuring the Earl of Wrexford and cartoonist Charlotte Sloane (following 2022’s Murder at the Serpentine Bridge). Distraught librarian Neville Greeley summons his family friend Wrexford to Oxford with a cryptic letter. Shortly before Wrexford arrives, however, a mysterious stranger stabs Greeley to death at his desk. After Wrexford discovers Greeley’s body, he launches an investigation in London, where his wife, Charlotte, is looking into a mystery of her own: a suspicious fire has destroyed the laboratory of inventor Henry Maudslay, who was on the cusp of building a ship that could cross the ocean powered by steam rather than sails. British naval operatives, German researchers, and Russian spies were all keenly interested in Maudslay’s research, but who would want to stop it? And might that same perpetrator be involved in Greeley’s murder? Penrose’s sprawling cast can be difficult to keep straight, but she rewards diligent readers with a pulse-pounding climax, and her deep dive into early 18th-century technology is a treat. In the crowded field of Regency mysteries, this series stands out. Agent: Gail Fortune, Fortune Talbot. (Sept.)