Murder at the Royal Botanic Gardens: Wrexford & Sloane Mystery Series, Book 5 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
The upcoming marriage of the earl of Wrexford and Lady Charlotte Sloane promises to be a highlight of the season, if they can first untangle - and survive - a web of intrigue and murder involving the most brilliant scientific minds in Regency London....
One advantage of being caught up in a whirl of dress fittings and decisions about flower arrangements is that Charlotte Sloane has little time for any pre-wedding qualms. Her love for Wrexford isn't in question. But will being a wife - and a countess - make it difficult for her to maintain her independence - not to mention, her secret identity as famed satirical artist A. J. Quill?
Despite those concerns, there are soon even more urgent matters to attend to during Charlotte and Wrexford's first public outing as an engaged couple. At a symposium at the Royal Botanic Gardens, a visiting botanist suffers a fatal collapse. The traces of white powder near his mouth reveal the dark truth - he was murdered. Drawn into the investigation, Charlotte and the Earl learn of the victim's involvement in a momentous medical discovery. With fame and immense fortune at stake, there's no shortage of suspects, including some whose ruthlessness is already known. But neither Charlotte nor her husband-to-be can realize how close the danger is about to get - or to what lengths this villain is prepared to go....
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|Listening Length||12 hours|
|Narrator||James Cameron Stewart|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||28 September 2021|
|Best Sellers Rank|| 86,723 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
491 in Amateur Sleuth Mysteries (Audible Books & Originals)
903 in Historical Mysteries (Audible Books & Originals)
1,011 in Regency Romance (Audible Books & Originals)
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Top reviews from Australia
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Raven and Hawke are little treasures and Aunt Alison is a joy.
The plots, based on historical events and scientific discoveries are sophisticated and realistic.
A truly engaging series.
Top reviews from other countries
While this series has a scientific thread through every book, this one had a slightly different spin with the focus being Botany, specifically medical breakthroughs, with the Royal Botanic Gardens as a focal point. Personally, I loved this as it gave another interesting take on regency times and scientific breakthroughs that didn't overly focus on the technical nor mechanical like the previous installments in this series. I still found, similarly to the last couple of books, that Sloane's artistic contribution seems to be left by the wayside to a large degree, but at least in this book there was the mention of a couple of her satirical pieces. It was definitely still lacking this dimension, though, , which I find a shame as the blending of Art and Science is one of things I fell in love with about this series.
As with some of the previous books, some of the suspects that I thought would be focussed on more heavily weren't, going as far to set them aside relatively early in the story. This wasn't a negative in this book - just an observation. Charlotte finally has the long-awaited reunion with her brother and it was done well. The romance between Wrexford and Sloane, while still not a major focus of the book (I'd actually love there to be a greater focus on this as they seem to spend hardly any time together), lets us get a glimpse into their nuptials. I have to admit, I didn't think this would happen as I neared the end of the novel. I thought the author might cop out again and drag the event over to the next book or skip over it entirely but I'm happy to report that while not excessive, the reader does get to dip a toe into their world for a teeny bit.
The secondary characters continue to be a solid factor in this series. I found this book seemed to almost shove the concept that love and family aren't necessarily connected to blood down reader's throats. I thought it was pretty unnecessary because if you're a fan of the series, you would pretty much know this by now as it's cropped up several times in previous books. We get it, they've made a family through close friends, etc. My favourite characters, The Weasels, while featured regularly in this story, didn't seem to have as large a focus as other books, but they were still wonderful. It was just missing some of their quirks that have been more detailed in the past. Sheffield and Cordelia are still skirting around one another and I really hope this doesn't continue to get dragged out as it's coming pretty close to a cliché as well as having the possibility to become overly tedious. One thing I will say regarding the characters is a completely out of the ball park decision by a series regular. I won't go in to too much detail other than to say it was one of the reasons I took off half a star. How a character who has been weaved into the story arc as being a solid, logical, well-rounded individual who's normally the voice of reason makes a questionable (and, quite honestly, out of character, stupid) decision that results in those they hold dearest being put in danger and the culprits getting away is just beyond me. It stood out like a solar flare and one of the Weasels questioning the logic of this decision just highlighted how absolutely ludicrous it was. It went against everything the character has been portrayed as, including their behaviour in the first half of the book - it was almost as if someone else wrote it. Anywho, there it is.
In my review for the last book I wrote that the vocabulary being used by the author was getting a bit repetitive and stale. Thankfully, apart from the shirred eggs which is apparently the only thing ever eaten for breakfast, there was some fresh text and hardly any of the usual catch phrases. *Insert audible sigh of relief here* One thing that did repeat was one of the characters being in danger as they all seem to be getting a turn. Well, you can scratch another one off your bingo card. Dear author - you're running out of characters to throw in the deep randomly and while I appreciate the drama, I worry about it seeming forced rather than 'new' because it's a different character with their neck on the line. There was also the usual 'here's how the evil folk were going to do it' speech where someone is lucky enough to overhear all of the minute details that rests everyone's minds at ease as well as there not really being any great surprise as to who the perpetrators were because there were clues left the size of a semitrailer.
There was a good balance of story and historical and scientific detail once again in this novel, as well as its share of action and intrigue. The characters seem to be written in a way that makes them a bit less connected to the reader. I'm not really sure why. Maybe there's a slightly lesser focus on the depth associated with main characters now because it's an established series? I don't know. There's a little less punch, but I'm still loving the series. There was a good lead up to the capture of the antagonists that I thought was executed well and the book finished on a high note. I’ll be continuing with the series for sure.