Image of Murder at Half Moon Gate (A Wrexford & Sloane Mystery)


Image of Murder at Half Moon Gate (A Wrexford & Sloane Mystery)

The second in the Wrexford & Sloane Mystery series is an intriguing puzzle of greed and deception as the invention of new technology brings out the worst in human nature. Charlotte Sloane and the Earl of Wrexford are a perfect crime-solving duo as headstrong and intelligent sleuths bucking the conventions of society. The relationship between Wrexford and Charlotte evolves nicely as they become more invested in each other. Wrexford has a title and money; Charlotte works as a satirical cartoonist making ends meet while caring for two young street urchins. The historical aspects of the story are intriguing as London is on the cusp of the Industrial Revolution and there are opposing viewpoints as to whether the new technology will enhance or destroy the current way of life. This adds great depth and tension to the mystery. Charlotte’s charges, Raven and Hawk, bring out Charlotte’s maternal instincts as she never wavers in her commitment to protect them while allowing them the independence to which they are accustomed. The secondary cast of informants and friends are vividly brought to life and enhance this exciting adventurous journey from London’s finest neighborhoods to the darkest alleyways and stews of the city.

After a night of dice and cards, Lord Wrexford and his friend stumble upon a dead body in the stews. Mr. Ashton’s neck is broken and his face and belly slashed. The killing is brutal and Wrexford contacts the authorities to investigate. The authorities believe it is a robbery, but Ashton’s widow disagrees and she approaches Wrexford for his assistance in solving her husband’s murder. Wrexford is intrigued by the beautiful widow and her theory that Ashton was murdered. Ashton was an important inventor who was on the verge of inventing a new steam-powered engine that would revolutionize the manufacturing industry. The plans for his invention are now missing and Mrs. Ashton fears they are in the wrong hands. Wrexford’s friend and political cartoonist, Charlotte Sloane, is drawn into the mystery with Wrexford. As Charlotte depicts the struggle of man vs. machine in her satirical cartoons, she is aware that a radical labor group may have found it advantageous to silence the inventor. As the investigation continues, the suspect list grows to include Ashton’s laboratory assistants, rich investors and the Workers of Zion. Wrexford and Charlotte, along with Raven and Hawk, must employ their network of friends and informants to traverse the dark and dangerous streets of London for clues. As they get closer to the truth, the bodycount continues to rise and Charlotte and Wrexford find themselves in the path of an unscrupulous force intent on gaining the upper hand in the changing industrial landscape at any cost. (KENSINGTON, Apr., 368 pp., $26.00)
Reviewed by: 
Sandra Martin