I was provided with a free copy of this novel in exchange for an unbiased review.
This is the first novel in the series of the Detective Lavender Mysteries I’ve read and the first regency detective novel too, and I thought it was an enjoyable ride.
I liked the characters (although perhaps a bit more the sidekicks). Like in a musical or an operetta, we have the serious and higher class protagonists (although Lavender isn’t a nobleman, but he’s well-educated) and then we have Constable Woods, and the servants. There are also the seedy characters around Bow Street, which together with the well-researched architectonic details and the language of the period create a credible atmosphere and bring to life the London of the era.
The characters created by the author mix with real historical figures, and I was in particular fascinated by the extraordinary women she chooses to portray, like Jane Scott and Dorothy Jordan, one the owner of a theatre, a writer and actress (the Sans-Pareil of the title) and the other the mistress of the Prince of Wales, and a comedy actress who kept the prince and ten children with her own work.
There are intrigues, murders, kidnappings, spies, romance… The book is a page-turner, and I enjoyed the setting, the descriptions of London, the intrigues and the mystery, fast-pace, the theatrical setting, and the humour. Lavender gets a lot of help from other characters and sometimes pure luck, but he manages to get the case to a satisfying conclusion (and there’s romance too!).
An easy and light read, with interesting and not heavily laid historical background, and good pace and sense of humour. Very enjoyable.