Murder on Black Swan Lane (Quill Mystery, #1)
In Regency London, an unconventional scientist and a fearless female artist form an unlikely alliance to expose unspeakable evil . . .The Earl of Wrexford possesses a brilliant scientific mind, but boredom and pride lead him to reckless behavior. He does not suffer fools gladly. So when pompous, pious Reverend Josiah Holworthy publicly condemns him for debauchery, Wrexford unsheathes his rapier-sharp wit and strikes back. As their war of words escalates, London’s most popular satirical cartoonist, A.J. Quill, skewers them both. But then the clergyman is found slain in a church—his face burned by chemicals, his throat slashed ear to ear—and Wrexford finds himself the chief suspect.

Murder on Black Swan Lane (Quill Mystery, #1) Details

TitleMurder on Black Swan Lane (Quill Mystery, #1)
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseJun 27th, 2017
PublisherKensington
ISBN1496710770
ISBN-139781496710772
Number of pages304 pages
Rating
GenreMystery, Historical Mystery, Historical, Fiction

Murder on Black Swan Lane (Quill Mystery, #1) Review

  • Teresa
    March 12, 2017
    This is a murder mystery set in Regency times. It takes place in London from the mansions of Mayfair to some of the less salubrious quarters of that city. The Earl of Wrexford is another bored aristocrat but he has a brilliant mind and dabbles in scientific experiments. Charlotte Sloane is a brilliant artist in her own right but she takes over her husbands work secretly when he dies, as a satirical cartoonist who depicts the gossip and scandals of the day in exaggerated fashion. All the ton fear This is a murder mystery set in Regency times. It takes place in London from the mansions of Mayfair to some of the less salubrious quarters of that city. The Earl of Wrexford is another bored aristocrat but he has a brilliant mind and dabbles in scientific experiments. Charlotte Sloane is a brilliant artist in her own right but she takes over her husbands work secretly when he dies, as a satirical cartoonist who depicts the gossip and scandals of the day in exaggerated fashion. All the ton fear 'his' quill.When the Earl is suspected of murder, he sets out to prove his innocence and discover who the real murderer is. In the course of his investigation he discovers who Charlotte is. He proposes they join forces as she has ways and means of getting information that is beyond him. In exchange he'll keep her secret.Helping in the quest are two young brothers. Raven and Hawk, are street urchins Charlotte befriends and tries to, surreptitiously, take care of. Raven is very proud and sees himself as the protector of his younger brother.There are many more interesting and varied characters peppered throughout the story. Also there is quite a bit about science and experiments which won't be to everyone's taste but it's not overwhelming. I found it all fascinating. There are also some wonderful descriptive passages and the author's love of art shines through. Needless to say I loved it. I don't ordinarily read murder mysteries but the blurb for this one just caught me and of course it's in Regency times which I love. The Earl and Charlotte make a great team and i especially loved the addition of Raven and Hawk. This is the start of a great series and the only complaint I have is that I have to wait, impatiently, for the next one to come out.
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  • Barbara Rogers
    May 20, 2017
    Series: A Wrexford and Sloane Mystery #1Publication Date: June 27, 2017An impeccably written, exciting, intriguing, engrossingly tangled and twisted regency mystery. I couldn’t put it down once I started reading it. The characters are fully developed and deep with flaws and secrets I’m sure we’ll learn more about as the series goes on. I am so very excited that this is a series and we will get to know them all better. If you are a fan of Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries, you will absolutely LOVE this Series: A Wrexford and Sloane Mystery #1Publication Date: June 27, 2017An impeccably written, exciting, intriguing, engrossingly tangled and twisted regency mystery. I couldn’t put it down once I started reading it. The characters are fully developed and deep with flaws and secrets I’m sure we’ll learn more about as the series goes on. I am so very excited that this is a series and we will get to know them all better. If you are a fan of Sebastian St. Cyr mysteries, you will absolutely LOVE this one.This is the first book I have read by Andrea Penrose or any of her other pen names -- Cara Elliott for Grand Central and Andrea Pickens for NAL, but I can’t wait to read more of this series and to also check out her other Regency mystery series.I have to admit that my two favorite characters in the book are the two street urchins – Raven and Hawk. They are intelligent and wise beyond their years and even though they have lived their lives, alone, in the stews of St. Giles, they still have sweet and innocent hearts. It will be interesting to see if, over time, they give up being street urchins and let Charlotte care for them.Since the series is named Quill Mystery, I assume that the main character will be Charlotte Sloane, also known as A. J. Quill. She is the most popular satirical cartoonist in England, but she must guard her identity and gender. She is very intelligent, feisty and not afraid of anything – at least she thinks she isn’t. One of the facts that is uncovered in this mystery is the facts behind the death of her talented artist husband Anthony. She also has another, even bigger, secret in her past and it is hinted at, but not revealed in this book.The Earl of Wrexford has a brilliant, logical scientific mind and thinks he is incapable of any of the softer feelings. He is also a brilliant chemist – although he keeps that part of his life well hidden. All is logic with Wrexford. So, when everyone thinks he’s the person who murdered a Reverend he’s been publicly feuding with, he decides that he must solve the murder in order to save himself. His first order of business is to uncover the identity of A. J. Quill who has been skewering him in cartoons. The drawings are absolutely too accurate and therefore the artist must know something. There is also some hinted mystery with the death of Wrexford’s brother and I came to feel as if that was what caused Wrexford to close himself off from the softer feelings in life.Although there is no romance in this book between Charlotte and Wrexford, they do develop a friendship and I hope it will develop into a romance over the course of the series. We do see a bit of ‘softening’ in Wrexford over the course of the book.The secondary characters in the book are also great and it will be fun to watch their growth over the course of the series. There is Wrexford’s valet cum lab assistant who is smart and sassy. Then, there is Wrexford’s friend who is always short of funds and isn’t thought to be particularly intelligent. We also have a Scot doctor who does the autopsies and is gifted at interpreting what he is finding – Oh shades of St. Cyr Mysteries with their Scot anatomist. The mystery is full of twists and turns and people with intertwining plots. You’ll have a time figuring out who murderer is and how all of the plots fit together. "I requested and received this book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher."
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  • Patricia Rice
    June 1, 2017
    I love history and love mysteries and when it comes with a dose of historical science, I'm a happy camper. Andrea gives us all three, plus remarkable characterization. I'm really looking forward to the next one!
  • Kat
    May 17, 2017
    This was very good! I was excited to get an advanced copy, and now I'm wondering how I can get advanced copies of the rest of the series when they come out, because I'm definitely going to have to read them! This was a fun read, with elements of Sherlock and a strong female character. The mystery was engaging, and the relationships were interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed this one! ⭐⭐⭐⭐ This was very good! I was excited to get an advanced copy, and now I'm wondering how I can get advanced copies of the rest of the series when they come out, because I'm definitely going to have to read them! This was a fun read, with elements of Sherlock and a strong female character. The mystery was engaging, and the relationships were interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed this one! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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  • Patty
    May 31, 2017
    A murder mystery set in Regency London, the first in a new series. The notorious Earl of Wrexford has been engaged in a long-running, very public argument with Reverend Josiah Holworthy, mostly conducted in letters published in various newspapers, over the role of science and religion. So when Holworthy is found murdered, Wrexford is the obvious first suspect – particularly since it turns out that the murder was committed by throwing acid in Holworthy's face, and chemistry in Wrexford's particul A murder mystery set in Regency London, the first in a new series. The notorious Earl of Wrexford has been engaged in a long-running, very public argument with Reverend Josiah Holworthy, mostly conducted in letters published in various newspapers, over the role of science and religion. So when Holworthy is found murdered, Wrexford is the obvious first suspect – particularly since it turns out that the murder was committed by throwing acid in Holworthy's face, and chemistry in Wrexford's particular interest. To prove his innocence, Wrexford sets out to find the real murderer, which leads him to A.J. Quill, a satirical cartoonist who seems to know every secret in London. Quill is actually Charlotte Sloane, a hard-working widow using her husband's penname to preserve the last vestiges of her respectability. When her husband's death also seems to be connected to the conspiracy surrounding Holworthy, they become equally passionately committed to solving the mystery. This is a fun premise, and I admittedly was very interested in a book about the scientific circle of Regency London, but it didn't live up to my expectations. There's nothing wrong with it, exactly; it's just that everything here is such a cliche. We have the adorable street urchins with Cockney accents, the feisty heroine who nonetheless is impressed by the hero's power and honor, the grumpy Scottish doctor, devious French spies (even when their motivation is explicitly to support France's revolutionary society over Britain's classist aristocratic system, the French are always devious in a novel about how sexy and awesome the Regency was) and, of course, Wrexford himself: the hero who's just so smart that all of society bores him and so of course he's a jerk with a reputation for cynicism and 'biting wit'. The writing itself isn't much better. Charlotte and Wrexford supposedly represent a clash of passion vs logic, but since Wrexford loses his temper and Charlotte hides her emotions just as often as the opposite, we're told this by the narrative rather than it arising naturally from the characters. For example:“Mrs. Sloane?” Shadows tangled with the strands of black hair curling, making his face as shapeless as his rag market hat. “No protest? No demand to charge in where angels fear to tread?”Charlotte wished she could see his expression. There was an undertone to his question that she couldn’t quite identify. “I know you think me ruled by impulse rather than logic—”“Intuition, not impulse,” he corrected. “Which I’ve learned to respect. If you have an objection, I am willing to listen.”“And I, sir, have learned to respect the way you use reason to attack a problem.”So subtle! So natural! So not how human beings speak!The writing in scenes between Charlotte and Wrexford often descends to trashy romance level (note: good romance writing also exists! But it generally avoids tired cliches like this), despite it not actually being a romance. Though I wouldn't be surprised if the series goes there in the future. More examples, from their first meeting:A gentleman, not a ruffian from the stews.She jerked her gaze upward.Well-tailored wool, burnished ebony buttons. Shoulder capes that accentuated the breadth of his shoulders.She took an involuntary step back.He pulled off his hat and slapped it against his thigh, sending more drops of water flying through the air. Wind-whipped hair, dark as coal, tangled around his face. At first, all Charlotte could make out was a prominent nose, long and with an arrogant flare to its tip. But as he took another stride closer, the rest of his features snapped into sharper focus. A sensuous mouth, high cheekbones, green eyes, darkened with an undertone of gunmetal grey. [...]For a big man, he moved with feral quickness. A blur of wolf black, leaving the sensation of predatory muscle and primitive power pricking against her skin.[...]The earl’s face might well have been carved of granite. Not a muscle twitched. Shadows danced, dark on dark, through his long, curling hair. He appeared implacable, impervious to any appeal for mercy.Charlotte knew she should have been repelled, but something about the hard-edged planes and sculpted contours of his features held her in thrall. There was a cold beauty to him, and she felt her fingers itch to take up her paintbrush and capture that chilling aura of a man in supreme command of his emotions.And so on and so forth. Alas, I can't even say that I got much out of the scientific side of the book, since the mystery ultimately turns out to revolve around alchemy – also interesting, to be fair, but not what I came here for. It's not a bad book, but with a thousand other mystery series out there, this one just isn't captivating enough to be worth more of my time.I read this as an ARC via NetGalley.
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  • Lynn Pernezny
    May 4, 2017
    It is refreshing to read a story set in Regency London that is not totally populated by members of the haute ton and their servants. Characters in Murder on Black Swan Lane include members of high society, but also a widow who works to support herself, scientists, and street children.This is a straight-on murder mystery. If you are looking for romantic elements, look elsewhere. The first murder--there are two--occurs in the prologue, and most of the action revolves around not only unmasking the It is refreshing to read a story set in Regency London that is not totally populated by members of the haute ton and their servants. Characters in Murder on Black Swan Lane include members of high society, but also a widow who works to support herself, scientists, and street children.This is a straight-on murder mystery. If you are looking for romantic elements, look elsewhere. The first murder--there are two--occurs in the prologue, and most of the action revolves around not only unmasking the killer, but proving that the Earl of Wrexford is not the murderer. The earl must match wits with Charlotte Sloane, a widow who has assumed the pseudonym A. J. Quill used by her late husband as she draws satirical cartoons that skewer high society. They eventually work together to solve the murders, along with a doctor who is a mutual friend and two young brothers, street children who Charlotte has brought into her home. In the process, they also answer questions about the mysterious death of Charlotte's husband.There are numerous twists to the plot, which kept my interest throughout. Many of the clues involve chemistry and chemical reactions, and these are handled well. There are also accurate discussions of the links between alchemy and early science, and the interests of scientists such as Newton in alchemy. There is some sly humor and engaging secondary characters, such as the valet/lab assistant Tyler, the earl's friend Sheffield, and Henning, the doctor.Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the story. The ending felt as if it was setting up a series, raising the possibility that the earl and Charlotte could investigate together again. I would be delighted to read another book about these characters.Based on an advanced reader copy of Murder on Black Swan Lane.
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  • Milena
    May 23, 2017
    Murder on Black Swan Lake is a historical mystery set in Regency London and involving an unlikely sleuthing duo of rich aristocrat, Earl of Wrexford, and down on her luck widow, Charlotte Sloan. The book was just OK for me. I liked the murder mystery with it's links to alchemy, chemistry and The Royal Institution and I liked the main characters, Wrexford and Charlotte. There are also a number of very interesting secondary characters. I especially liked street urchins, Raven and Hawk, and Earl's Murder on Black Swan Lake is a historical mystery set in Regency London and involving an unlikely sleuthing duo of rich aristocrat, Earl of Wrexford, and down on her luck widow, Charlotte Sloan. The book was just OK for me. I liked the murder mystery with it's links to alchemy, chemistry and The Royal Institution and I liked the main characters, Wrexford and Charlotte. There are also a number of very interesting secondary characters. I especially liked street urchins, Raven and Hawk, and Earl's butler Tyler. But I missed the banter and the chemistry (pun intended) between Wrexford and Charlotte. My personal preference is for historical mysteries with a dash of romance. Some of my favorite murder mysteries, such as books by Deanna Raybourn and Anna Lee Huber, have very strong romantic elements and I was hoping Murder on Black Swan Lane would be similar. Because the romantic element was missing I did not enjoy this book as much as I wanted to. Overall Murder on Black Swan Lane is a solid murder mystery and an enjoyable read if you are not looking for some romance with your mystery.*ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley
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  • Annie
    May 23, 2017
    With Murder on Black Swan Lane, Andrea Penrose launches a new series featuring the satirical cartoonish Charlotte Sloane and the irascible Earl of Wrexford, set in Regency London. In this debut novel, Sloane and Wrexford team up to defeat a criminal mastermind before the villain succeeds in framing the earl for a series of ghastly murders...Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type. I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for review consideration.
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  • Caz
    May 15, 2017
    Not sure of the final grade yet. Review to follow at AAR.
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