Saturday, January 6, 2018
Whisper of Death by Patricia Wynn
Hester Kean and her cousin Mary, who is being pursued by the repugnant Lord Wragby, are touring the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral, with Hester learning about the dome’s remarkable acoustics. So remarkable that Hester hears a whispered death threat, by, and toward, an unknown person. She suspects it may have had to do with Jacobite sympathizers. When Lord Wragby is murdered, his powerful father blames James Henry, the man Mary truly loves. Can Hester and the outlawed Viscount St. Mars finally solidify their relationship, and save James, too?
One should always be grateful to authors who begin historical books with notes on the period and the history. The inclusion of historical figures within the story adds veracity and sense of the time in which the story is set. That said, there are a lot of characters, real and fictional, many with multiple names and titles. A cast of characters would have been very helpful. But persevere as it is well worth it once one gets into the meat of the story.
Wynn very clearly demonstrates the complicated relationships which are based on title, rank, politics and wealth. In contrast, she also makes note of how rank impacted even some of the more mundane aspects of life—“Hester sent one of the footmen ahead to purchase some tea. Tea had become so fashionable, that the owner, Mr. Twinings, was selling more dry tea than hot coffee, but it would not be proper for a lady to set foot inside a coffee-house.”
Wynn provides us an accurate depiction of London, not one that is glossed over. Women and men of rank were bargaining chips, valued primarily for their titles and income.
Hester is such a wonderful character. Not only is she smart and capable, but a skilled diplomat and strategist capable of inveigling others to act when she cannot. The reunion between Hester and St. Mars is wonderful and everything for which readers of the series have been waiting. It is very G – PG-rated, so if one is hoping for hot and sexy, it won’t be found here. On the other hand, if one desires a book that all ages can read, this is it.
There is history. The situation between Hester and St. Mars does facilitate the relating of historical information about being married “in the Fleet,” which is fascinating. An interesting subplot reminds one that even though there were no field slaves in England, many blacks were the property of their employers. And who knew that there was a threat by the King of Sweden to invade England? However, it is the focus on Jacobites and concern over foreign invaders which proves a very good plot twist.
“Whisper of Death” is a very good mystery with a touch of romance. It has a satisfying ending and leaves us knowing that future adventures await.
WHISPER OF DEATH (Hist Mys-Heaster Kean-London-1716)– VG
Wynn, Patricia – 6th in series
Pemberley Press – 2017