Murder on Black Swan Lane (Wrexford & Sloane #1) by Andrea Penrose
Publication Date: June 27th, 2017
Publisher: Kensington Books
Genre: Historical Mystery
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.
This book had pretty much everything I could have wanted from it. It plays right into what I look for in historical mystery: a resourceful, independent female lead; a smart, opinionated male lead; underlying hints of romance; respect between the leads; a mystery that plays out naturally with a few twists; our main characters making realistic choices.
If you like the kind of book that will describe a murder scene in gritty detail, has side characters that are actually meaningful to the plot and to our MCs, and MCs who actually listen to each other in order to make educated decisions… this is the series to pick up. There was even a moment when Sloane makes a certain choice that had me shouting “Thank you!” because Penrose could have easily made her make the stupid choice for some unnecessary conflict but she remained true to her smart female MC.
Penrose writes Wrexford as the type of male lead that could be seen as unlikeable but I find him refreshing and pretty endearing. His outlook on the world is what it is and I can’t totally be mad at him for it haha. I like how she gives him a past that isn’t perfect but he is just so unabashedly… Wrexford. He is a great character.
On the other side of things, Sloane is such a unique female lead. She does keep secrets from her past fairly close to her chest but her Big Secret isn’t as dramatic as I think it was meant to be. At least, it wasn’t for me when I found out in later books but it’s alluded to frequently. Other than that, I appreciate her independence and her history, and I also love her relationships with the weasels (haha iykyk).
The mystery itself was well played and offered just enough action yet still had me wanting more. Nothing seemed too ‘out there’ even though there was opportunity for it to seem that way. The series of events and how the plot unfolded had amazing pacing and had me flipping the pages quickly.
This is a series that I have caught up with quickly and am just holding out for the latest book to release in paperback so I can finally read it too!