4 out of 5 stars
I would like to thank Kensington Books for providing me with a free electronic ARC of this book, via Netgalley. Any reviews I give are done obligation free, and are unpaid… well, unless you count getting this book for free… but we won’t go there. 😉
So! Yes, another book I read last year and should have left a review for at the time. Ah well. Better late than never, right?
‘Murder at Half Moon Gate’ is the second book in the ‘A Wrexford & Sloane Mystery’ series. And, yes, I did indeed read book one – it’s on this blog somewhere – and enjoyed it so much I was thrilled to be able to nab myself a free copy of the next book. Hey, I’m being honest here… I review as it means I get free copies of great books. What more could a girl want? Well, book three… I want book three of this series now, please. 😀
As with the first book, ‘Murder at Half Moon Gate’ is set in Regency era England, only a short time after Ms Sloane’s last adventure with Lord Wrexford. And the setting is portrayed well. I mean, I am no expert, but do feel Ms Penrose has done an outstanding job bringing the era to life. To the point I’ve become a bit of a fan of satire cartoons of that era.
I also like that it honestly is a murder mystery more than a period romance pretending to be a murder mystery. So many books in historical settings these days seem to need to rely on romance to be interesting. It’s not needed, honest. ‘Murder at Half Moon Gate’ is proof of that. Oh yes, there is the hint of romance, the edge of desire and intrigue, the knowledge of how unbecoming it is for an unmarried couple to act as they sometimes do, the possibility of a HEA… one day… but that is all more part of the story padding and slippery little red herrings thrown in to distract the reader briefly to stop them guessing the whodunit too soon.
So, for me, this is an enjoyable, well-paced murder mystery set in the perfect cloak and dagger era of such things.
I would now do the boring side of things and comment on formatting and layout, but it was some months ago that I read it and nothing negative about it has stuck with me… so I am going to assume it was all fine in that department. Cue the sigh of relief from the Kensington Books copyeditor. 😉
Would I recommend this book to others?
Yes I would, but I would honestly tell them to do themselves, and Ms Penrose, some justice by reading this series’ first book ‘Murder on Black Swan Lane’ first. I suppose ‘Murder at Half Moon Gate’ could be read as a standalone, but you would really be missing out if you did this to yourself. Read the whole series… Thank me later.
If you are a lover of Regency England murder mysteries, you will also enjoy this book. Ms Penrose has obviously studied the period well and breathes a very colourful life into it within her books.
Would I buy this book for myself?
I might… but I must admit here and now I do find the prices of this series, based on Amazon Kindle, rather high. Look, I’m an author too and I get it… but any eBook over $10 Australian has me hesitate buying it… no matter how much I enjoyed it. Sorry, but this is part of my honesty here. I really enjoyed ‘Murder at Half Moon Gate’ and I truly think this is a fantastic series… But at the prices shown to buy it? I feel I would be more likely to see if this series was available on my local libraries extensive eBook database than spend over $25 AUS to purchase book three. So, for me, if I have to source my own copy of book three, it would be via the library rather than a book store. Sorry.
In summary: A great second instalment in a highly enjoyable historical crime series.