Friday, June 3, 2022

Andrea Penrose - Murder at Kensington Palace

Though Charlotte Sloane’s secret identity as the controversial satirical cartoonist A.J. Quill is safe with the Earl of Wrexford, she’s ill prepared for the rippling effects sharing the truth about her background has cast over their relationship. She thought a bit of space might improve the situation. But when her cousin is murdered and his twin brother is accused of the gruesome crime, Charlotte immediately turns to Wrexford for help in proving the young man’s innocence. Though she finds the brooding scientist just as enigmatic and intense as ever, their partnership is now marked by an unfamiliar tension that seems to complicate every encounter.
Despite this newfound complexity, Wrexford and Charlotte are determined to track down the real killer. Their investigation leads them on a dangerous chase through Mayfair’s glittering ballrooms and opulent drawing rooms, where gossip and rumors swirl to confuse the facts. Was her cousin murdered over a romantic rivalry . . . or staggering gambling debts? Or could the motive be far darker and involve the clandestine scientific society that claimed both brothers as members? The more Charlotte and Wrexford try to unknot the truth, the more tangled it becomes. But they must solve the case soon, before the killer’s madness seizes another victim...

Comment: This is the third installment in the Wrexford and Sloane series, which I've been enjoying lately, and this story is certainly one of the best so far, in my opinion.

In this story, there is another crime to be investigated and while both Charlotte and Wrexford don't plan on investigating these cases on purpose, the reality is that they - along with their friends - are a good team and this time the victim murdered is someone close to Charlotte, a cousin. His twin is considered guilty and taken to prison and it's up to Charlotte to clear his name. However, to do so, she must once again be brave and tell her friends who she really is, meaning others will know she is back to London as well...

I liked this book a lot better than the previous one, which seemed a little more disjointed. I liked this one seemed to offer more content, and it felt as if the characters were evolving and becoming a closer and more united group of friends, indeed a family. I think the true value of the series and to let us follow the protagonists and those they have close and see what happens to their lives, even when they are busy investigating and solving crimes.

The case in this story is interesting simply because it is about someone close to Charlotte. It is clear the author intended the series to add complexity as the characters get to know each other better, as their lives become more interwoven and as the more complex emotions and situations, happen, they have murders to solve, which adds reason for them all to be together and reinforce their bonds - both the protagonists and of their friends - and to me this reads as spending time with people I want to see being happy or reaching for it.

Charlotte started of as a very intriguing character and as the books move along, we learn more things from her past and what kind of character it took to leave a life of apparently easy days to something that would enrich her own perspective and dreams. things didn't go as smooth as she would have liked and now she is returning, step by step, to a little of her old life. While her personality isn't changing and she is as headstrong and ethically strong as in the first book, I can already see she is adapting, and I wonder if part of the fascination is to see her change enough or to not change that much...

Wrexford remains a bit more secretive, both in personality and attitude but it's obvious he has feelings for her. I think we had advance in this subject here, there were some moments they shared which give hope to what will likely be their relationship in the future but sometimes I can't help but think I would have preferred them to want to not be so obvious in their regard, because while they are clever people and give indications of that, it's subtle and I fear perhaps when they admit their feelings it would be less intense than what I would like.. let's wait and see.

I really liked the way we see them interact with secondary characters and how important some things seem to be. In this book, we see the evolution of the kids and their easiness with the adults, how they start to trust they will be well treated...I suppose the future will stat in a more obvious way how Charlotte sees Raven and Hawk as sons and this will certainly be another cute situation to anticipate. I also the addition of another character who, perhaps, could join their investigation team...

In relation to the murder, it was due someone's crazy mind, but at the same time I liked how the author so clearly used a lot of the investigation she did on electricity and inventions of the time so that the plot would make sense and why certain steps were important at all. I wouldn't say this is pure crime investigation, as several things happen rather too easily for explanation sake, but overall, I was entertained and learned a thing or two, without the content being too boring.

I liked this book, I had a good time reading and wanting to know what happened next, so now I'm quite eager to read the next and see what new situation will be given to us.
Grade: 8/10

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