Synopsis: The year is 1757. On a clear morning in mid-June, Lord John Grey emerges from London’s Beefsteak Club, his mind in turmoil. A nobleman and a high-ranking officer in His Majesty’s Army, Grey has just witnessed something shocking. But his efforts to avoid a scandal that might destroy his family are interrupted by something still more urgent: the Crown appoints him to investigate the brutal murder of a comrade in arms, who may have been a traitor.
Obliged to pursue two inquiries at once, Major Grey finds himself ensnared in a web of treachery and betrayal that touches every stratum of English society—and threatens all he holds dear. From the bawdy houses of London’s night-world to the stately drawing rooms of the nobility, and from the blood of a murdered corpse to the thundering seas ruled by the majestic fleet of the East India Company, Lord John pursues the elusive trails of a vanishing footman and a woman in green velvet, who may hold the key to everything—or nothing.
My Review: As a big fan of Diana Gabaldon, I didn’t need to know anything about this novel to know I wanted to read it. Lord John is a character I quite enjoyed in the Outlander series, and I was glad to find this, his first solo novel, at the library recently. I did not know this was going to be a murder mystery until I started reading it, and what a lovely little mystery it was!
We follow Lord John through various scenes in London, trying to unravel the mystery of the murder of O’Connell, as well as a familial mystery Lord John happens to stumble upon. I’m not the kind of person who tries to figure out a mystery ahead of time, so I was just along for the ride and I really enjoyed it. Not only do we get to spend the entire time with Lord John, he speaks throughout the book of Jamie Fraser, our dashing hero of the Outlander novels.
Although there are a little over 300 pages, it’s a pretty quick read and I definitely wanted to stay up past my bed time to read just a little more each night. And true to her reputation, the author did a great job researching and making the scenarios seem very believeable. I also liked how she approached Lord John’s homosexuality in this one, which takes place shortly after his exile to Scotland where we were originally introduced to him. It’s somewhat easy to forget that our views on gay men are relatively new, and they used to have to hide and be very discreet about everything. At least that much has changed!
This is an all around entertaining book and I’m looking forward to reading the other Lord John books. He makes for a fun detective!
Read this book if: You’re a fan of Diana Gabaldon, or historical mysteries. I think you’ll really like it!
My Rating: 3/5 – Two thumbs up, fine holiday fun.