Monday, October 4, 2021

Murder at the Royal Botanic Gardens (Wrexford & Sloane #5)


Murder at the Royal Botanic Gardens is the 5th Wrexford & Sloane regency mystery by Andrea Penrose. Released 28th Sept 2021 by Kensington, it's 368 pages and will be available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately.

This is an engaging and well written series addition. It's an ensemble character driven cozy(ish) historical murder mystery with a strong element of romance. The author has written the story around a framework of fictionalized historical characters and she does a good job of interweaving the historical facts with the fictional narrative allowing for some minor poetic license regarding names, dates, and times. 

Although self-contained in the narrative arc, the cast of characters have a long history together, so it works well enough as a standalone, but I strongly recommend reading the series in order because of  character development spoilers (in fact the titular series characters have progressed from near-enemies in book one to betrothed in this entry). The language is very clean, there's some violence used in context, and little sexual content. 

The author does take some thinly veiled pokes at racism, slavery, unscrupulous profiteers, and the for-profit medical industry in this book which have distinct takeaways for our modern world.  The narrative arc and denouement and resolution are satisfying for the genre (a little swoony and overwrought, but not egregiously so).

Enjoyable cozy murder / romance. Four stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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