USA Today Bestselling Author of Regency Historical Mysteries
New Book News!
I’m delighted to announce that a new Wrexford & Sloane historical mystery is now up for pre-order!
Murder at the Serpentine Bridge, Book 6 in the series, will release on September 27, 2022.
Here’s the promo blurb:
Beyond the glittering ballrooms and salons of Regency London there are mysteries to untangle and murders to solve—and the newlywed duo of Lady Charlotte and the Earl of Wrexford once again find themselves matching wits with a cunning enemy . . .
Charlotte, now the Countess of Wrexford, would like nothing more than a summer of peace and quiet with her new husband and their unconventional family and friends. Still, some social obligations must be honored, especially with the grand Peace Celebrations unfolding throughout London to honor victory over Napoleon.
But when Wrexford and their two young wards, Raven and Hawk, discover a body floating in Hyde Park’s famous lake, that newfound peace looks to be at risk. The late Jeremiah Willis was the engineering genius behind a new design for a top-secret weapon, and the prototype is missing from the Royal Armory’s laboratory. Wrexford is tasked with retrieving it before it falls into the wrong hands. But there are unsettling complications to the case—including a family connection.
Soon, old secrets are tangling with new betrayals, and as Charlotte and Wrexford spin through a web of international intrigue and sumptuous parties, they must race against time to save their loved ones from harm—and keep the weapon from igniting a new war . . .
And for fans of my Lady Arianna Regency Mystery series, I also have a new book, the seventh in the series, which recently released—and is now available for download on all major e-retail platforms.
A Swirl of Shadows takes Lady Arianna and Saybrook to
St. Petersburg . . . Here’s the promo blurb:
A traumatic personal crisis has left Lady Arianna bedeviled by guilt and questioning whether she has lost her nerve. Saybrook and her circle of friends can’t seem to help rekindle her fire. Even a challenge from Lord Grentham, Britain’s shadowy head spymaster, to undertake a vital mission to Russia in aid of her old friend, Tsar Alexander, fails to spark any interest . . . Until Grentham mentions that Arianna’s half-brother has gone in her place and may be in mortal danger.
Arianna is furious. She only recently discovered that she had a sibling when her father’s illegitimate son was recruited to play a small role in their previous mission. Resentful of the minister’s attempt to manipulate her emotions, she still refuses to be drawn back into the fray.
But when the murder of a mysterious Russian baroness in London entangles her friend Sophia in the byzantine intrigue surrounding a stolen Imperial medallion and a legendary curse that may topple the Tsar from his throne if it’s not recovered, Arianna finds she can’t turn her back on family and friends—especially as the tensions within her closeknit circle are threatening to fray the bonds of all she holds dear.
And so Arianna and Saybrook—along with Sophia—head off to St. Petersburg, where dangerous deceptions and duplicity swirl beneath the sumptuous splendor of the Imperial Court. An American adventuress, an old nemesis, a possible traitor within their own allies . . . Suspects abound—treachery is everywhere, and when her brother goes missing, Arianna knows that for her and Saybrook to have any hope catching the cunning conspirators, she’ll have to learn to trust herself again. But the clock is ticking . . .
And lastly, I’m so thrilled to announce that
Murder at the Royal Botanic Gardens
has hit the USA TODAY Bestseller List!
(My editorial assistants are taking all the credit, which they richly deserve because of all the chocolate bars they feed me when the Muse is cranky and writing isn’t going well.)
I recently joined with the fabulous fellow historical mystery authors Anna Lee Huber and Alyssa Maxwell to dish on our new books and the craft of writing, You can see the video interview here on YouTube!
And Team Penrose is happy to report on other news
The series as a whole has been garnering kudos throughout the book world, including this wonderful review from The New York Public Library: “[Penrose] mixes well-thought out mysteries, early forensic science, great details of the era and a slow burning attraction creating a compulsive read.”
I’m also delighted to announce that it has been included in the New York Public Library’s list of mystery series to get you through any crisis!
Secondly, for all those of you who have been writing and asking about future books in the series, I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve just signed a new contract to continue the adventures of Wrexford and Charlotte (and the Weasels, of course!) They—along with their family of friends—will be solving mysteries for four more books! So stay tuned!
And p.s.— if you’re looking for more reading entertainment to download, all of my Lady Arianna Regency mysteries are priced less than a Starbucks latte—and tickle your taste buds for far longer than 15 minutes! (Hint: there is chocolate involved in the stories!)
You can check them out here and read sample chapters. There are now seven novels and one novella in the series, which take you throughout England and Scotland, as well Vienna and Paris—and Russia!
And more adventures will be coming!
As we’re all spending a LOT of time at home, I thought I’d share a little peek at what I’m up to these days. Here’s my writing room . . . it’s much neater than usual as I can’t whine about not having time to organize my research books and scribbled notes.
And during my daily plotting walks, I’ve been working out the final twists for the next book in the series!
From My Weekly Plotting . . .
I’ll occasionally feature a photo here from my daily plotting walks (I have an MFA in Graphic Design, so I always have my camera with me, looking to capture a snippet of natural beauty or bit of history. Many turn out to be inspiration for my scenes!)
You can also follow me and my plotting walks on Instagram
I’ll also be posting a snippet each week from current WIPs, so be sure to check in often and take a peek!
Snippet from the daily plotting walk
The colors around the harbor are always painted with a cooler monochromatic palette during the winter months.
Snippet from the current WIP
At the sound of a loud splash, Wrexford broke into a run. To his knowledge, Raven and Hawk didn’t know how to swim.
As he burst free of the trees he caught a glimpse of the moon-dappled Serpentine up ahead, but the flitting shadows around the lake’s edge made it impossible to discern what was going on.
Where were they?
“Raven!” he shouted, feeling as if his heart was about to leap into his throat. “Hawk!”
“Here, sir!” The muffled answer floated up from the terraced stone embankment edging the end of the lake.
As the earl scrambled over the rough terrain to join the boys, he spotted the big hound swimming through the murky water, dark ripples trailing in his wake.
“What the devil—”
“S-something spooked Harper,” explained Hawk. “His hackles rose, then, before I could grab him, he let out a bark and leaped into the lake. I—”
“Holy Hell—there’s something floating out there,” said Raven in a tight voice. “It looks like . . .”
Wrexford saw it, too. “Get back, lads,” he ordered. “I want you both well away from the water’s edge.”
The edge of alarm in his voice must have warned them not to argue. Raven took his brother’s hand and quickly led him off to the grassy verge.
Looking back to Harper, Wrexford saw the hound had taken hold of the dark shape with his teeth and was laboring to tow it back to shore. The earl glanced around. To his left, the stone embankment ended, giving way to a bank of earth, rocks and grass.
“Harper, Harper!” Waving his arms, he picked his way to a gently sloping patch of ground.
As the hound paddled closer, Wrexford’s worst fears were confirmed.
A body. And by the look of the injuries to the poor soul’s head, there was little chance of him being alive . . .
—Murder at the Serpentine Bridge, coming in September 2022
The Inspiration Behind the
Wrexford & Sloane Series
I confess, given that my academic expertise in science ended in 9th grade biology class (you know, the one with formaldehyde, dead frogs and very sharp knives!) So it might strike you as rather strange that science plays a big role in the plot of both Murder on Black Swan Lane and Murder at Half Moon Gate, the first two books of my Regency-set mystery series.
I have an art background, which may seem like the polar opposite from the world of laboratories, microscopes and bubbling chemicals. I thought the same thing until I read a marvelous book called the Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes. In it, he talks about how during the Regency era, the artists and scientists all thought of themselves as kindred souls. Exploration and discovery required imagination and creative thinking—painters, poets, chemists, astronomers—they all pushed themselves to think outside the box.
Hmmm, I thought . . . these are just the same qualities required to unravel diabolical mysteries. So it suddenly struck me that having a scientist and an artist could be a really fun combination. In the Earl of Wrexford and Charlotte Sloane, I’ve sought to create two lead characters who embody the intellectual curiosity—and gritty courage—of the times. They are opposites: a brooding aristocrat whose extraordinary mind runs on the rational new principles of scientific inquiry, paired with a struggling artist whose innate cleverness and intuition are the keys to her survival. Forced to work together, Wrexford and Charlotte find they make a formidable team, despite their differences. (Ah, but as science tells us, opposites often attract!)
Okay, now I have a second confession to make—I may not be a science expert, but I’m a total Regency history geek. So it was great fun researching science during the era. Like in our own times, new discoveries and new technology were changing society. The top scientists were the hot celebrities. All the trendy people flocked to heard the public lectures at the Royal Institution, the leading scientific society in London. And yes, there were science groupies! The charismatic Humphry Davy (he’s pretty dishy, isn’t he?), the most famous chemist of the day, routinely had love letters and invitations for private hanky-panky—often wrapped in frilly undergarments—delivered backstage! (There are several scenes in my book set at the Royal Institution—I hope they will forgive me for creating intrigue and skullduggery within their hallowed halls!) You can read more about some of the real-life scientists of the Regency in the “Diversions” section. Just click here.
Now, on to more Regency goodies …
I also hope you’ll enjoy doing more exploring in the Diversions section here, which features some fun background on the Regency
and some of the people and places who appear in my books.
Just a few other things on logistics: The BLOG button in the social media icons will connect you to The Word Wenches, where Mary Jo Putney, Christina Courtenay, Patricia Rice, Anne Gracie, Nicola Cornick, Susan Fraser King and I blog about books, history, the craft of writing, and just about anything else you can think of!
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