Murder in Mayfair

Historical novelist Diana Quincy spins an enjoyable, richly detailed Regency-era whodunit in Murder in Mayfair, her debut mystery as D.M. Quincy. As he travels on horseback from Bath to London, gentleman adventurer Atlas Catesby is appalled by a tableau at a country inn: a local woman being auctioned off by her husband. To prevent her being abused by another buyer, Atlas pays for the woman, intending to take her to London and leave her to pursue her own life, free and clear. But Lilliana Warwick, loath to be parted from her young sons, keeps returning to her former home, despite her comfortable new situation in Bloomsbury with Atlas's mathematician sister, Thea. When Lilliana's husband is found murdered, both she and Atlas become prime suspects, and he must work to clear both their names.

Quincy creates an engaging protagonist in Atlas, the youngest son of a baron, who cares little for society's arcane rules and still mourns the death of his oldest sister, Phoebe. Likewise, supporting characters like Thea, Lilliana and the Earl of Charlton (Atlas's best friend) are equally appealing. A sharp-eyed Bow Street runner named Endicott (a precursor to the London policemen of today) and a motley crew of servants, including an untrained valet and an ancient butler, round out the ensemble cast for a plot with a few satisfying twists. Anglophiles and mystery lovers are sure to enjoy this jaunt to 19th-century London, and can hope for future adventures (with a side of romance). --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

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