Murder at the Royal Botanic Gardens

Andrea Penrose. Kensington, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4967-3250-7
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. Agent: Gail Fortune, Fortune Talbot Agency. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 07/09/2021
Release date: 09/28/2021
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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