Poisoned Pen, Jan 2002, 24.95, 328 pp.
In 1811, much of the city of London debate the merits of a central police force because of the rise in crime, especially homicides. The noise level is raised higher than ever when a coach apparently kills wealthy philanthropist Constance Tyrone. At the coroner's inquest, Bow St. detective John Chase points out that this is more than a simple hit and run murder of the founder of the St. Catherine Society. Instead the victim may have been dead before the hackney ran over her.
The obvious suspect is Jeremy Wolfe who claims to have been commissioned by Constance's father to do a portrait of the do-gooder. His not so flattering sketches and the damaging letter he authored to her lead to his occupying a cell in Newgate. When a solicitor makes bail for Jeremy, John needs to know why and who this Mr. Merkle fronts. He begins digging into those individuals that would want Constance dead only to find a relatively long list of people satisfied with her death.
Set in the exact venue as P.d. James' The MAUD AND THE PEAR TREE, THE ROSE IN THE WHEEL uses a real incident to relate a descriptive historical mystery. The story line enlightens readers while furbishing a powerful who-done-it that grips the audience from start to finish. The wide ensemble seems so real one will feel the rain and mud which allows the audience to further accept the tale and marvel at S.K. Rizzolo's ability to keep everyone consistently straight. The author paints a powerful Regency mystery that will make her a sub-genre favorite rather quickly.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner