S. K. Rizzolo
Poisoned Pen Press, May 2003, 24.95, 288 pp.
Estranged from her father, who lives in Sicily and her husband, residing in Ireland, Penelope Wolfe takes a job as companion to Lady Julia Ashe in order to feed herself and her daughter. Living with the Ashes is Julia's father and other eccentric individuals. There are dark undercurrents surrounding Julia and her husband whose marriage was a business arrangement that turned into a battlefield.
One night Penelope is awakened by a strange cry. She goes out to the garden only to find the murdered body of Dick, an Ashe's footman. She has the family procure the services of Bow Street Runner John Chase who actively pursues the case until a government informant warns him off. They believe Dick was a Jacobin, who wanted to topple the monarchy, the aristocracy and the government. The government wants to round up all his co-conspirators but John, with the help of barrister Edward Buckler, makes certain they can help the fair Penelope if she needs it.
In 1812, the gulf between the rich and the poor was wider than ever and some radical elements of the population, including the Luddites, advocated violence to level the playing field. By the time she discovers the truth another murder is committed and Penelope can only seek justice for the dead. Her need turns BLOOD FOR BLOOD into a fascinating historic mystery that shows the dark side of Regency England.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner