Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Murder at the Merton Library - Wrexford & Sloane #7


Murder at the Merton Library is the 7th Wrexford & Sloane regency mystery by Andrea Penrose. Released 28th Aug 2023 by Kensington, it's 368 pages and is available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. Paperback format due out from the same publisher in July 2024. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. For Kindle Unlimited subscribers, this book is currently included in the KU subscription library to borrow and read for free.

This is an engaging and well written series. 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 real 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 it's strongly recommend to read the series in order because of  character development spoilers (in fact the titular series characters have progressed from near-enemies in book one to stably married and settled now). The language is very clean, there's some violence used in context, and very little sexual content. 

The author does take some thinly veiled pokes at colonialism, racism, slavery, unscrupulous profiteers, and the military industrial complex 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). This is the seventh book, and it's not quite as outstanding as the sister volumes, but it -is- still head and shoulders above much of the genre.

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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