Saturday, July 6, 2013

Book Review: Recipe for Treason by Andrea Penrose

Let me start off by saying that if you like historical mystery books, this is one will be right up your alley. Throw in a good old-fashioned spy story, murder, a noblewoman turned amateur sleuth with a capable husband by her side and an interesting character as a sidekick and you get the main framework for this series of cozy mysteries. As an added bonus, each chapter starts with an intriguing chocolate-based dessert since Lady Arianna and Lord Saybrook are both known for their exotic dessert creations. 

In this book, the third of the series, Lady Arianna and Lord Saybrook are traveling to Scotland to find and apprehend a traitor. From the detail filled description of the travel north to the well researched explanation of life in Regency England, this book could fall into the "typical historical mystery" brand, but the author manages to create an interesting female protagonist that sets this series apart. Several historical mystery series focus on women that are more modern than the period expected and suffer because of their independence and strong opinions. But Lady Arianna is a step up from even these women; she can shoot and use a knife just as good as her husband or any of her male enemies that she encounters on her missions. And she certainly is not afraid to use these weapons as the reader is jolted into the excitement of the first chapter.
Arriving in Scotlan
d, the pair is too late to save a chemistry professor, but find papers that may yield clues to find a traitor called "The Fox", who is suspected of trying to leak secrets to France. And off to the races we are in an entertaining read that is perfect for a holiday weekend or quiet afternoon at home. The characters are interesting, the story background is well researched and the mystery is just moving at the right pace to keep the reader going. 

While billed, not surprisingly with the protagonists a married couple, as a romantic mystery, the romance angle is definitely not the major focus of this story. I am happy about this since I prefer mystery novels to romance books, but some readers may find the relationship between the married couple somewhat stale and boring.

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