Murder at the Serpentine Bridge by Andrea Penrose
The sixth book in the Wexford & Sloane series, this novel follows newlyweds Lady Charlotte and Lord Wexford as they untangle a web of politics and intrigue. When an engineering genius, Jeremiah Willis, is found floating in the Serpentine Lake, it’s up to the Wexfords to bring his killers to justice. But can they do it before Willis’s top-secret military prototype is sold to the highest bidder?
Murder at the Serpentine Bridge is a historical mystery set during the Peace Celebrations in London, following the fall of Napoleon. This was a new bit of history for me, and I loved that the author was able to incorporate historical events like the naval battle reenactment on the Serpentine. Author’s notes always hold particular fascination for me, and I was very happy to see one in this novel, allowing me to do some further research of my own into this specific, little known (to me) time period.
As my first Wexford & Sloane book, I initially found it difficult to keep track of all the characters. However, I quickly fell in love with Raven, Hawk, and Peregrine. These young wards, and their very forward-thinking guardians, easily gave me that sense of connection to the characters that I was looking for. Lady Charlotte clearly has a fascinating past of her own, and I adored the support she received from her husband, the boys, and their network of staff and friends. While I was able to read this as a standalone, the numerous interactions with past characters has piqued my interest — and I would be very interested in going back and starting this series from the beginning.
The plot was intricate but fast-paced, providing an interesting read. However, I do personally prefer mystery novels that allow readers to put together pieces of the puzzle for themselves. Throughout the book, clues were constantly being withheld from readers. Characters would receive information, but it wouldn’t be revealed until pages or chapters later. One could argue that this builds suspense or intrigue for readers. However, as an armchair detective, it didn’t feel fair that the characters were privy to more information than I was. I want to be able to solve the case along with my protagonists.
Overall, this was a really strong historical read. The characters, setting, and plot were all well done and captured my attention from start to finish. For fans of the Wexford & Sloan series, Murder at the Serpentine Bridge is a great next installment!
Fans of historical mysteries, who have read the previous books in this series.
This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. ARC provided courtesy of the publisher, Kensington Books. All opinions expressed are my own.
About the book:
(From the publisher): Beyond the glittering ballrooms and salons of Regency London there are mysteries to untangle and murders to solve—and the newlywed duo of Lady Charlotte and the Earl of Wrexford once again find themselves matching wits with a cunning enemy . . .
Charlotte, now the Countess of Wrexford, would like nothing more than a summer of peace and quiet with her new husband and their unconventional family and friends. Still, some social obligations must be honored, especially with the grand Peace Celebrations unfolding throughout London to honor victory over Napoleon.
But when Wrexford and their two young wards, Raven and Hawk, discover a body floating in Hyde Park’s famous lake, that newfound peace looks to be at risk. The late Jeremiah Willis was the engineering genius behind a new design for a top-secret weapon, and the prototype is missing from the Royal Armory’s laboratory. Wrexford is tasked with retrieving it before it falls into the wrong hands. But there are unsettling complications to the case—including a family connection.
Soon, old secrets are tangling with new betrayals, and as Charlotte and Wrexford spin through a web of international intrigue and sumptuous parties, they must race against time to save their loved ones from harm—and keep the weapon from igniting a new war . . .