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Book Review: Murder on Black Swan Lane

Murder on Black Swan Lane is on a great sale for 2.99. It’s a reasonably decent read. It’s a Regency mystery, although I’d say it skirts being steampunk. If there were a dirigible in there, it’d be steampunk. The alchemy and chemistry mentioned is on the glossed over hocus pocus side. The main male character is not well-portrayed in the first few chapters. In what was probably an attempt to create the stereotypical powerful, rich and well-educated Earl, he comes across as arrogant, annoying, and stupidly interested in boring pursuits such as gambling, drinking and womanizing. His “brilliant” supposed chemistry talent is glossed over. Once past that misstep, the characterization was stronger. The main female was delightful most of the time, and it was easy to sympathize with her plight. The mystery itself morphed into about three different mysteries with a confusing cast of characters. The characterization of the main and side characters was enough to propel me through the story–as was the absence of romance. The author was particularly skilled at turning the two main characters into friends. It was very interesting to me how they were attracted to one another, but they were very much bound by, and accepting of, their class status. Ms. Sloane never once considered any kind of romantic dalliance. She was too worried about her next meal and the meals of those she was responsible for. In that aspect, she was realistic in a way that I don’t usually see in Regency mysteries or romance. As for the main, if he considered her a romantic interest, he never acted on it. He was too busy trying to stay out of the gallows. I enjoyed this focus quite a bit as it struck me as far more realistic than most books where “irresistible” urges take over the story at the most ridiculous times.

That said, much of the mystery was quite unrealistic with great leaps of luck and quite a bit of the denouements coming from the bad guys answering questions at the end of a gun or right before planning on killing the hero. There was more introspection scattered about than I like to read, and the end action scene was so improbable and cliched I had to wonder if the author had simply written too many of them to come up with any special touches.

But, it was entertaining enough to finish and a good price. I give it 3 stars.

Posted: September 29, 2017
Filed in Book Reviews
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