Friday, December 1, 2023

Murder in Bloomsbury

 Murder in Bloomsbury (2018) by D. M. Quincy

Please know that while this review will not contain spoilers about the mystery itself, those who have not read the first of the Atlas Catesby series will have part of the overarching story spoiled. There is some mystery surrounding both Atlas and the woman he rescues in the first book. We don't learn until the end who she is. This review assumes you have already found this out.


Knowing that his station in life is well below Lillianna's (Lady Roslyn) as the sister of the  Duke of Summerville, Atlas Catesby has kept his distance over the last year. But then his valet awakens him one morning with an urgent message from Summerville asking for him to call. The brother of Lillianna's maid has been found dead with a belly full of arsenic. The coroner's court has saw fit to rule it an accident, but Gordon Davis's sister is sure that he was murdered. Given his success in solving the murder of her husband a year ago, Lillianna would like Atlas to investigate. Or rather--she wants them both to investigate, putting Atlas back in temptation's way. For he has grown susceptible to Lillianna's charms and he just might forget his position if he's not careful.

As the investigation proceeds, they find that Gordon Davis was not as charming as Lillianna's maid believed. He has left a trail of broken hearts, irate fathers, and jealous lovers behind him as well as men he maneuvered into the clutches of gaming dens. There's no shortage of people who might have wanted the handsome wastrel dead--but who had access to arsenic as well as the opportunity to give it to Davis? And can they find out in time to prevent another death?

This second novel is even better than the first (and I enjoyed that a great deal). Atlas and the recurring cast are terrific and it is interesting to watch the relationships grow. I enjoyed the parts that Lillianna and Atlas's friend Charlton played in the investigation. If Charlton's not careful, he's going to let his brains outshine his dandy persona. Each of them play a vital role in uncovering clues to what really happened in the poisoning of Davis. There has also been a slight movement in the mystery surrounding Atlas's earlier life and I anticipate that book three will see more development in that area. Hopefully, with his growing abilities as an investigator, he will be able to lay that mystery to rest--with a happy result.

The murder itself is loosely based on a famous poisoning case and those familiar with true crime of the era may recognize the trappings--but be warned Quincy puts her own spin on the story with good result. Another good historical mystery for those who appreciate the Regency period as well as good plotting. ★★★★ 

First line: "Sir, are you awake?"

Last line: He stepped closer, pulled Lillianna into his arms, and kissed her for all he was worth.


Deaths = 2 (one poisoned; one fell from height)


Marg said...

I love that you have a death count at the end of your mystery reviews!!

Thanks for sharing your review with the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge!

Bev Hankins said...

Marg: I do a challenge called the "Medical Examiner Challenge" where we keep track of deaths in our mysteries. So, that's why I keep track.