Lord John and the Private Matter (Lord John Grey Series)

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Overview

Adored bestselling author Diana Gabaldon brings us the first book in a new trilogy featuring many of the characters from her wildly popular Outlander series.
In her New York Times bestselling Outlander novels, Diana Gabaldon introduced millions of readers to a dazzling world of history and adventure -- a world of vibrant settings and utterly unforgettable characters. Now one of these characters, Major Lord John Grey, opens the door to his own part of this world -- ...
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Overview

Adored bestselling author Diana Gabaldon brings us the first book in a new trilogy featuring many of the characters from her wildly popular Outlander series.
In her New York Times bestselling Outlander novels, Diana Gabaldon introduced millions of readers to a dazzling world of history and adventure -- a world of vibrant settings and utterly unforgettable characters. Now one of these characters, Major Lord John Grey, opens the door to his own part of this world -- eighteenth-century London, a seething anthill of nobility and rabble peopled by soldiers and spies, whores and dukes. Great Britain is battling France for supremacy on three continents -- and life is good for a soldier.
The year is 1757. On a clear morning in mid-June, Lord John Grey emerges from London’s Beefsteak Club, his mind in turmoil. A nobleman and a high-ranking officer in His Majesty’s Army, Grey has just witnessed something shocking. But his efforts to avoid a scandal that might destroy his family are interrupted by something still more urgent: the Crown appoints him to investigate the brutal murder of a comrade in arms, who may have been a traitor.
Obliged to pursue two inquiries at once, Major Grey finds himself ensnared in a web of treachery and betrayal that touches every stratum of English society -- and threatens all he holds dear. From the bawdy houses of London’s night-world to the stately drawing rooms of the nobility, and from the blood of a murdered corpse to the thundering seas ruled by the majestic fleet of the East India Company, Lord John pursues the elusive trails of a vanishing footman and a woman in green velvet, who may hold the key to everything -- ornothing.
The early days of the Seven Years War come brilliantly to life in this historical mystery by an author whose unique and compelling storytelling has engrossed millions of readers worldwide.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Trouble befalls Lord John Grey (fresh from minor roles in Gabaldon's bestselling Outlander novels) when he accidentally discovers that the Hon. Joseph Trevelyan, his cousin's betrothed, may have what those in 1757 termed "the pox" or "the French disease" syphilis. Before he can figure out an appropriate way to handle this delicate matter, he becomes involved in the investigation of the mysterious and grisly murder of a military colleague suspected of being a spy. Gabaldon (The Fiery Cross; Drums of Autumn; etc.) stitches these two plots together into a compelling narrative that also offers a wealth of juicy details about 18th-century London, especially its homosexual underbelly. Lord John, who reminisces about his dead lover, Hector, and the "lean, hard body" of an old flame, learns that Trevelyan may be traveling from one house of ill repute to another of a different sort: at the Lavender House, both buyers and sellers are men. Among his various trials and tribulations, Lord John must discern the identity of a mysterious figure in a green velvet dress spotted in both of these establishments and investigate the mysterious death of a similarly attired man, found with his face bashed in. Grey is a competent and likable sleuth, and Gabaldon's prose is crisply elegant. Her many fans will be happy to learn that this is the first in a series about the travails of Lord John Grey. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
A popular supporting character from Gabaldon's best-selling "Outlander" series, Lord John Grey gets his own novel (and possibly his own mystery series) in this work. The tale begins in the summer of 1757 when Grey inadvertently glimpses a suspicious sore on the "privy member" of the Honorable Joseph Trevelyan. Suspecting that it is syphilis, Grey is tempted to ignore what he's seen, except that his young cousin Olivia is engaged to Trevelyan. He can't let her marry someone with a deadly venereal disease! Grey is sidetracked from his familial responsibilities, however, by his investigation into the murder of fellow soldier Tim O'Connell. A mysterious woman in a green velvet gown may hold the key but only if Grey can uncover her true identity. Gabaldon's lively prose and gift for historical details make this an enjoyable read. Fans of Lord John will appreciate learning more about his past. Strongly recommended for public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/03.]-Laurel Bliss, Yale Arts Lib. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Lord John Grey, a minor character in Gabaldon's wildly popular Outlander series, investigates a murder-and is forced back into a world he'd hoped to forget. A casual glance at the Honorable Joseph Trevelyan's privy member when both men relieve themselves reveals something that Grey would rather not see: a small chancre. Given that there is no cure for syphilis in 1757, and since Trevelyan is engaged to his cousin Olivia, Grey considers himself obliged to confirm-in secret-whether her fiancé is poxy. Like any other valuable commodity in the mercantile city of London, information has a price, and its purveyors come from all walks of life. Grey's comrade-in-arms, Harry Quarry, a practical sort, tells him to make inquiries among the whores at Trevelyan's favorite brothel before they commence their official assignment: investigating the mysterious death of a fellow soldier, who may have been a spy. A very young prostitute, whose rough Scots accent evokes Grey's lingering (if unrequited) affection for Jamie Fraser, tells him that Trevelyan has been seen dressed as a woman, secretly entering the Lavender Club, where, after the death of his lover Hector, Grey once found some comfort in the arms of other men, though he was half-crazy with grief and drink. The plot thickens when a streetwalker is found viciously murdered, her face beaten to pulp. But she turns out to be a he-and Gabaldon takes readers for a walk on the wild side, offering an intriguing look into London's gay underworld, from dark side streets to elegant clubs-and, briefly, to tender scenes of love, emotional and physical, between men. But her chief focus is on the deepening mystery surrounding Trevelyan, his mistress, his shadowydealings, his sexual identity, and those who serve his complex desires. A compelling and unique period mystery for the author's legion of fans. Agent: Russell Galen/Scovil Chichak Galen
From the Publisher
“Packed with vivid description and detail. Gabaldon ably transports readers to 18th-century London, with all its reeking humanity and glitteringly elegant excess.” —BookPage

“[A] thoroughly entertaining and wonderfully witty historical mystery set in the richly detailed, occasionally bawdy world of Georgian England.” —Booklist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780641577833
  • Publisher: Dell Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/30/2003
  • Series: Lord John Grey Series
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.84 (w) x 8.32 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Diana  Gabaldon
Diana Gabaldon is the New York Times bestselling author of five previous novels -- Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, and The Fiery Cross -- and one work of nonfiction, The Outlandish Companion. She lives with her family in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Biography

To millions of fans, Diana Gabaldon is the creator of a complex, original, and utterly compelling amalgam of 18th-century romantic adventure and 20th-century science fiction. To the publishing industry, she's a grassroots-marketing phenomenon. And to would-be writers everywhere who worry that they don't have the time or expertise to do what they love, Gabaldon is nothing short of an inspiration.

Gabaldon wrote her first novel while juggling the demands of motherhood and career: in between her job as an ecology professor, she also had a part-time gig writing freelance software reviews. Gabaldon had never written fiction before, and didn't intend to publish this first novel, which she decided to call Outlander. This, she decided, would be her "practice novel". Worried that she might not be able to pull a plot and characters out of thin air, she settled on a historical novel because "it's easier to look things up than to make them up entirely."

The impulse to set her novel in 18th-century Scotland didn't stem -- as some fans have assumed—from a desire to explore her own familial roots (in fact, Gabaldon isn't even Scottish). Rather, it came from watching an episode of the British sci-fi series Dr. Who and becoming smitten with a handsome time traveler in a kilt. A time-travel element crept into Gabaldon's own book only after she realized her wisecracking female lead couldn't have come from anywhere but the 20th century. The resulting love affair between an intelligent, mature, sexually experienced woman and a charismatic, brave, virginal young man turned the conventions of historical romance upside-down.

Gabaldon has said her books were hard to market at first because they were impossible to categorize neatly. Were they historical romances? Sci-fi adventure stories? Literary fiction? Whatever their genre (Gabaldon eventually proffered the term "historical fantasias"), they eventually found their audience, and it turned out to be a staggeringly huge one.

Even before the publication of Outlander, Gabaldon had an online community of friends who'd read excerpts and were waiting eagerly for more. (In fact, her cohorts at the CompuServe Literary Forum helped hook her up with an agent.) Once the book was released, word kept spreading, both on the Internet and off, and Gabaldon kept writing sequels. (When her fourth book, "Drums of Autumn," was released, it debuted at No. 1 on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list, and her publisher, Delacorte, raced to add more copies to their initial print run of 155,000.)

With her books consistently topping the bestseller lists, it's apparent that Gabaldon's appeal lies partly in her ability to bulldoze the formulaic conventions of popular fiction. Salon writer Gavin McNett noted approvingly, "She simply doesn't pay attention to genre or precedent, and doesn't seem to care that identifying with Claire puts women in the role of the mysterious stranger, with Jamie -- no wimp in any regard -- as the romantic 'heroine."'

In between Outlander novels, Gabaldon also writes historical mysteries featuring Lord John Grey, a popular, if minor, character from the series, and is working on a contemporary mystery series. Meanwhile, the author's formidable fan base keeps growing, as evidenced by the expanding list of Gabaldon chat rooms, mailing lists, fan clubs and web sites -- some of them complete with fetching photos of red-haired lads in kilts.

Good To Know

Outlander may have been Gabaldon's first novel, but she was already a published writer. Her credits included scholarly articles, political speeches, radio ads, computer manuals and Walt Disney comic books.

Gabaldon gets 30 to 40 e-mails a day from her fans, who often meet online to discuss her work. "I got one letter from a woman who had been studying my book jacket photos (with a magnifying glass, evidently), who demanded to know why there was a hole in my pants," wrote Gabaldon on her web site. "This strikes me as a highly metaphysical question, which I am not equipped to answer, but which will doubtless entertain some chat-groups for quite a long time."

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    1. Also Known As:
      Diana Jean Gabaldon (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      Flagstaff, Arizona
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 11, 1952
    2. Place of Birth:
      Flagstaff, Arizona
    1. Education:
      B.S., Northern Arizona University, 1973; M.S., Scripps Oceanographic Institute; Ph.D., Northern Arizona University, 1979
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

When First We Practice to Deceive

London, June 1757
The Society for the Appreciation of the English Beefsteak, a Gentlemen's Club

It was the sort of thing one hopes momentarily that one has not really seen -- because life would be so much more convenient if one hadn't.

The thing was scarcely shocking in itself; Lord John Grey had seen worse, could see worse now, merely by stepping out of the Beefsteak into the street. The flower girl who'd sold him a bunch of violets on his way into the club had had a half-healed gash on the back of her hand, crusted and oozing. The doorman, a veteran of the Americas, had a livid tomahawk scar that ran from hairline to jaw, bisecting the socket of a blinded eye. By contrast, the sore on the Honorable Joseph Trevelyan's privy member was quite small. Almost discreet.

"Not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a door," Grey muttered to himself. "But it will suffice. Damn it."

He emerged from behind the Chinese screen, lifting the violets to his nose. Their sweetness was no match for the pungent scent that followed him from the piss-pots. It was early June, and the Beefsteak, like every other establishment in London, reeked of beer and asparagus-pee.

Trevelyan had left the privacy of the Chinese screen before Lord John, unaware of the latter's discovery. The Honorable Joseph stood across the dining room now, deep in conversation with Lord Hanley and Mr. Pitt, the very picture of taste and sober elegance. Shallow in the chest, Grey thought uncharitably -- though the suit of puce superfine was beautifully tailored to flatter the man's slenderness. Spindle-shanked, too; Trevelyan shifted weight, and a shadow winked on his left leg, where the pad of the downy-calf he wore had shifted under a clocked silk stocking.

Lord John turned the posy critically in his hand, as though inspecting it for wilt, watching the man from beneath lowered lashes. He knew well enough how to look without appearing to do so. He wished he were not in the habit of such surreptitious inspection -- if not, he wouldn't now be facing this dilemma.

The discovery that an acquaintance suffered from the French disease would normally be grounds for nothing more than distaste at worst, disinterested sympathy at best -- along with a heartfelt gratitude that one was not oneself so afflicted. Unfortunately, the Honorable Joseph Trevelyan was not merely a club acquaintance; he was betrothed to Grey's cousin.

The steward murmured something at his elbow; by reflex, he handed the posy to the man and flicked a hand in dismissal.

"No, I shan't dine yet. Colonel Quarry will be joining me."

"Very good, my lord."

Trevelyan had rejoined his companions at a table across the room, his narrow face flushed with laughter at some jest by Pitt.

Grey couldn't stand there glowering at the man; he hesitated, unsure whether to go across to the smoking room to wait for Quarry, or perhaps down the hall to the library. In the event, though, he was prevented by the sudden entry of Malcolm Stubbs, lieutenant of his own regiment, who hailed him with pleased surprise.

"Major Grey! What brings you here, eh? Thought you was quite the fixture at White's. Got tired of the politicals, have you?"

Stubbs was aptly named, no taller than Grey himself, but roughly twice as wide, with a broad cherubic face, wide blue eyes, and a breezy manner that endeared him to his troops, if not always to his senior officers.

"Hallo, Stubbs." Grey smiled, despite his inner disquiet. Stubbs was a casual friend, though their paths seldom crossed outside of regimental business. "No, you confuse me with my brother Hal. I leave the whiggery-pokery up to him."

Stubbs went pink in the face, and made small snorting noises.

"Whiggery-pokery! Oh, that's ripe, Grey, very ripe. Must remember to tell it to the Old One." The Old One was Stubbs's father, a minor baronet with distinct whiggish leanings, and likely a familiar of both White's Club and Lord John's brother.

"So, you a member here, Grey? Or a guest, like me?" Stubbs, recovering from his attack of mirth, waved a hand round the spacious confines of the white-naped dining room, casting an admiring glance at the impressive array of decanters being arranged by the steward at a sideboard.

"Member."

Trevelyan was nodding cordially to the Duke of Gloucester, who returned the salutation. Christ, Trevelyan really did know everyone. With a small effort, Grey returned his attention to Stubbs.

"My godfather enrolled me for the Beefsteak at my birth. Starting at the age of seven, which is when he assumed reason began, he brought me here every Wednesday for luncheon. Got out of the habit while abroad, of course, but I find myself coming back, whenever I'm in Town."

The wine steward was leaning down to offer Trevelyan a decanter of port; Grey recognized the embossed gold tag at its neck -- San Isidro, a hundred guineas the cask. Rich, well-connected...and infected. Damn, what was he going to do about this?

"Your host not here yet?" He touched Stubbs's elbow, turning him toward the door. "Come, then -- let's have a quick one in the library."

They strolled down the pleasantly shabby carpet that lined the hall, chatting inconsequently.

"Why the fancy-dress?" Grey asked casually, flicking at the braid on Stubbs's shoulder. The Beefsteak wasn't a soldier's haunt; though a few officers of the regiment were members, they seldom wore full dress uniform here, save when on their way to some official business. Grey himself was only uniformed because he was meeting Quarry, who never wore anything else in public.

"Got to do a widow's walk later," Stubbs replied, looking resigned. "No time to go back for a change."

"Oh? Who's dead?" A widow's walk was an official visit, paid to the family of a recently deceased member of the regiment, to offer condolences and make inquiry as to the widow's welfare. In the case of an enlisted man, such a visit might include the handing over of a small amount of cash contributed by the man's intimates and immediate superiors -- with luck, enough to bury him decently.

"Timothy O'Connell."

"Really? What happened?" O'Connell was a middle-aged Irishman, surly but competent; a lifelong soldier who had risen to sergeant by dint of his ability to terrify subordinates -- an ability Grey had envied as a seventeen-year-old subaltern, and still respected ten years later.

"Killed in a street brawl, night before last."

Grey's brows went up at that. "Must have been set on by a mob," he said, "or taken by surprise; I'd have given long odds on O'Connell in a fight that was even halfway fair."

"Didn't hear any details; I'm meant to ask the widow."

Taking a seat in one of the Beefsteak's ancient but comfortable library wing chairs, Grey beckoned to one of the servants.

"Brandy -- you, too, Stubbs? Yes, two brandies, if you please. And tell someone to fetch me when Colonel Quarry comes in, will you?"

"Thanks, old fellow; come round to my club and have one on me next time." Stubbs unbuckled his dress sword and handed it to the hovering servant before making himself comfortable in turn.

"Met your cousin the other day, by the bye," he remarked, wriggling his substantial buttocks deeply into the chair. "Out ridin' in the Row -- handsome girl. Nice seat," he added judiciously.

"Indeed. Which cousin would that be?" Grey asked, with a small sinking feeling. He had several female cousins, but only two whom Stubbs might conceivably admire, and the way this day was going...

"The Pearsall girl," Stubbs said cheerfully, confirming Grey's presentiment. "Olivia? That the name? I say, isn't she engaged to that chap Trevelyan? Thought I saw him just now in the dining room."

"You did," Grey said shortly, not anxious to speak about the Honorable Joseph at the moment. Once started on a conversational gambit, though, Stubbs was as difficult to deflect from his course as a twenty-pounder on a downhill slope, and Grey was obliged to hear a great deal regarding Trevelyan's activities and social prominence -- things of which he was only too well aware.

"Any news from India?" he asked finally, in desperation.

This gambit worked; most of London was aware that Robert Clive was snapping at the Nawab of Bengal's heels, but Stubbs had a brother in the 46th Foot, presently besieging Calcutta with Clive, and was thus in a position to share any number of grisly details that had not yet made the pages of the newspaper.

"...so many British prisoners packed into the space, my brother said, that when they dropped from the heat, there was no place to put the bodies; those left alive were obliged to trample on the fallen underfoot. He said" -- Stubbs looked round, lowering his voice slightly -- "some poor chaps had gone mad from the thirst. Drank the blood. When one of the fellows died, I mean. They'd slit the throat, the wrists, drain the body, then let it fall. Bryce said they could scarce put a name to half the dead when they pulled them out of that place, and --"

"Think we're bound there, too?" Grey interrupted, draining his glass and beckoning for another pair of drinks, in the faint hope of preserving some vestige of his appetite for luncheon.

"Dunno. Maybe -- though I heard a bit of gossip last week, sounded rather as though it might be the Americas." Stubbs shook his head, frowning. "Can't say as there's much to choose between a Hindoo and a Mohawk -- howling brutes, the lot -- but there's the hell of a lot better chance of distinguishing oneself in India, you ask me."

"If you survive the heat, the insects, the poisonous serpents, and the dysentery, yes," Grey said. He closed his eyes in momentary bliss, savoring the balmy touch of English June that drifted through the open window.

Speculation was rampant and rumors rife as to the regiment's next posting. France, India, the American Colonies...perhaps one of the German states, Prague on the Russian front, or even the West Indies. Great Britain was battling France for supremacy on three continents, and life was good for a soldier.

They passed an amiable quarter hour in such idle conjectures, during which Grey's mind was free to return to the difficulties posed by his inconvenient discovery. In the normal course of things, Trevelyan would be Hal's problem to deal with. But his elder brother was abroad at the moment, in France and unreachable, which left Grey as the man on the spot. The marriage between Trevelyan and Olivia Pearsall was set to take place in six weeks' time; something would have to be done, and done quickly.

Perhaps he had better consult Paul or Edgar -- but neither of his half-brothers moved in society; Paul rusticated on his estate in Sussex, barely moving a foot as far as the nearest market town. As for Edgar...no, Edgar would not be helpful. His notion of dealing discreetly with the matter would be to horsewhip Trevelyan on the steps of Westminster.

The appearance of a steward at the door, announcing the arrival of Colonel Quarry, put a temporary end to his distractions.

Rising, he touched Stubbs's shoulder.

"Fetch me after dinner, will you?" he said. "I'll come along on your widow's walk, if you like. O'Connell was a good soldier."

"Oh, will you? That's sporting, Grey; thanks." Stubbs looked grateful; offering condolences to the bereaved was not his strong suit.

Trevelyan had fortunately concluded his meal and departed; the stewards were sweeping crumbs off the vacant table as Grey entered the dining room. Just as well; it would have curdled his stomach if he were obliged to look at the man while eating.

He greeted Harry Quarry cordially, and forced himself to make conversation over the soup course, though his mind was still preoccupied. Ought he to seek Harry's counsel in the matter? He hesitated, dipping his spoon. Quarry was bluff and frequently uncouth in manner, but he was a shrewd judge of character and more than knowledgeable in the messier sort of human affairs. He was of good family and knew how the world of society worked. Above all, he could be trusted to keep a confidence.

Well, then. Talking over the matter might at least clarify the situation in his own mind. He swallowed the last mouthful of broth and set down his spoon.

"Do you know Joseph Trevelyan?"

"The Honorable Mr. Trevelyan? Father a baronet, brother in Parliament, a fortune in Cornish tin, up to his eyeballs in the East India Company?" Harry raised his brows in irony. "Only to look at. Why?"

"He is engaged to marry my young cousin, Olivia Pearsall. I...merely wondered whether you had heard anything regarding his character."

"Bit late to be makin' that sort of inquiry, ain't it, if they're already betrothed?" Quarry spooned up a bit of unidentifiable vegetation from his soup bowl, eyed it critically, then shrugged and swallowed it. "Not your business anyway, is it? Surely her father's satisfied."

"She has no father. Nor mother. She is an orphan, and has been my brother Hal's ward these past ten years. She lives in my mother's household."

"Mm? Oh. Didn't know that." Quarry chewed bread slowly, thick brows lowered thoughtfully as he looked at his friend. "What's he done? Trevelyan, I mean, not your brother."

Lord John raised his own brows, toying with his soup spoon.

"Nothing, to my knowledge. Why ought he to have done anything?"

"If he hadn't, you wouldn't be inquiring as to his character," Quarry pointed out logically. "Out with it, Johnny; what's he done?"

"Not so much what he's done, as the result of it." Lord John sat back, waiting until the steward had cleared away the course and retreated out of earshot. He leaned forward a little, lowering his voice well past the point of discretion, yet feeling the blood rise in his cheeks nonetheless.

It was absurd, he told himself. Any man might casually glance -- but his own predilections rendered him more than delicate in such a situation; he could not bear the notion that anyone might suspect him of deliberate inspection. Not even Quarry -- who, finding himself in a similarly accidental situation, would likely have seized Trevelyan by the offending member and loudly demanded to know the meaning of this.

"I...happened to retire for a moment, earlier" -- he nodded toward the Chinese screen -- "and came upon Trevelyan, unexpectedly. I...ah...caught sight -- " Christ, he was blushing like a girl; Quarry was grinning at his discomfiture.

"...think it is pox," he finished, his voice barely a murmur.

The grin vanished abruptly from Quarry's face, and he glanced at the Chinese screen, from behind which Lord Dewhurst and a friend were presently emerging, deep in conversation. Catching Quarry's gaze upon him, Dewhurst glanced down automatically, to be sure his flies were buttoned. Finding them secure, he glowered at Quarry and turned away toward his table.

Copyright © 2003 by Diana Gabaldon.

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Customer Reviews

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 181 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2008

    Gay Porn says it all

    I have loved every single one of Diana Gabaldon's books, but have to say I was so disappointed and sad at the content in this book. I find Lord John as a character, interesting, but I could use a little less of the grafic gay encounters Lord John encounters. I would never recommend this book or any in its series, and would like a refund of my money. I should have read them in the bookstore and saved my money.

    7 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 7, 2010

    Fun, quick read

    This book took me about 16 pages to get into. I did have to re-read a few paragraphs, as my mind started to wander. After that, though, I really enjoyed the story. I enjoy Lord John as a character. He has a quick, dry wit. He is kind and considerate of others. He is intelligent and likable.

    I thought the story went along in true DG fashion, lot's of coincidences and character connexions (as it's spelled in this series). As for it being gay porn, I suppose if you consider the mildest love scene to be porn, then you shouldn't be reading DG AT ALL. The love scenes between her heterosexual couples are much more explicit than the single, short, fade to black scene in this book (I can't comment on subsequent books in this series; I haven't read them yet). Who cares about the fact that the sex in this book is "gay sex"? There is sex in DG's books. All her main characters have it. Lord John is a main character. He is gay. He has sex. Frankly, I had been feeling a bit sorry for him, as he had no love interest, just pining for Jamie Fraser all the time, poor guy. So I was actually happy for him to have got a little "action" so to speak.
    Moving on...

    As an aside, as a fan of the Outlander series I was pleased to meet Nessie for the first time with Lord John. She is introduced in the Outlander series in book 7. Dottie is also introduced here as a child. That was fun for me.
    In closing, I would not recommend this story to my 73-year-old mother (or any of DG's books, for that matter), but I do recommend it to most other historical fiction fans. It's relatively short, and easy to read. And I look forward to the next one!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    insightful Georgian espionage mystery

    In 1757, Major John Grey, an aristocrat concludes he must end his cousin Olivia¿s engagement to John Trevelyn because he knows the man suffers from the pox. After consulting on the delicate matter with his military superior, Colonel Quarry also assigns John to investigate stolen ordnance requisitions, which unless recovered will force the English armies on the continent to make costly relocations to avoid massacres. <P>John begins his inquiries with the homicide of soldier Timothy O¿Connell who is the prime suspect. Evidence takes John to a whorehouse and subsequently to a gay gentleman¿s house, Lavender House that he knows intimately from five years ago. He continues to follow the trail that leads to a small specialty wine shop and from there to the murder of a wine maker wearing a dress. As he closes in on the military case, he makes major progress on the personal matter too, but does not realizing the two connect. John forces the end of Joseph¿s engagement to Olivia, but also is drugged by the man. <P>Though readers need to understand that this is not a romance and the likable hero has a gay encounter, the novel still is the typical Gabaldon book. The insightful Georgian espionage mystery is rich with a taste for the era, but not just the typical kind found in mid eighteenth century novels. John, who has appeared in previous novels such as THE FIERY CROSS, is a delightful hero and the support cast adds depth to the era and to the suspense including a rather surprising heterosexual love story. <P>Harriet Klausner

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 8, 2010

    Interesting

    I loved the Outlander Series and thought I would give "Lord John and the Private Matter" a chance. Even though I knew John was gay, it was still a bit uncomfortable to read about that kind of "stuff". I personally have nothing against someone who chooses that way of life, but it is also different to actually read and experience it. The story its self was very interesting though. More of a "who done it" book that was very interesting. It was fun to read about characters that were barely touched upon in the "Outlander Series" and understand who they really were. In the end I do say I rather ended up enjoying the book after all. I am still considering on whether I am going to read the next one in the series, but probably will out of morbid curiosity.

    This book is for sure not for everyone, but if you can get over the sexual preference and escapades of John you will find it a good read.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Lord John and the Private Matter

    I am a fan of Diana Gabaldon. Lord John and the Private Matter is a spin off from her Outlander Series which was recommended to me by a friend. While she has major talent and was going somewhere with this book it fell short. It seems as though it wasn't thoughtfully put together. Seemingly, Lord John is not the character we'd hoped he'd be in this book. There was an expectation to his investigative ability as he is educated and an officer, however, he came off 2D in this book. He only followed clues and was assaulted in some form or another, rather than putting clues together and solving a mystery. The plot is revealed in a run-on sentence in the end and the anti-climax is muddled. I expected more, but won't give up, I will probably read the next in this series just to see if it gets better.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 5, 2011

    Love Gabaldan, not so much John Grey....

    I loved the Outlander series and am sorely disappointed with John Grey. The characters lack sympathy, warmth and charisma, while the history seems quite weak. The obsession with homosexual behavior got a bit boring and did not add to the storyline. I will continue the Outlander series but no more John Grey for me.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2005

    truly outstanding!

    First of all: this is NOT a romance novel, so don't buy it if that is what you are looking for. The book focuses on Lord John Grey, who has returned from his exile only to accidentaly discover that his cousin's fiancé suffers from syphilis. He decides to investigate the afair and, if necessary, prevent the marriage, only to discover that more is amiss... The book is well-written, the plot intriguing and most characters are complex - what's not to love about this book?

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 27, 2011

    Big disappointment!

    As thrilling as the Outlander series is, Diana dropped the ball with the Lord John series. The plots are endlessly wordy and boring. Its funny that the premise is a good idea but the writing is redundant. Luckily I love the Outlander characters and am reading the books a second time through as years have passed between books so they are like new again.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2010

    Outlander series much better

    I expected the same level of character development and plot twists and turns as are in the Outlander series. I kept on reading and finished it, but I never really "got into it". The story just plodded along and never really grabbed me. I don't plan to read the rest of the books in this series.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2008

    Oh, Lord!

    After devouring the Outlander series I never considered that Diana could bore me. I'm sorry but I couldn't finish this book. I'm eagerly waiting for the next installment of Claire and Jamie.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2007

    Stick to what you know

    Frankly, I found this work to be sensationalist and exploitative. While it may be historically accurate in some ways, much of this particular novel read more like gay porn than anything else. Not surprising since Gabaldon seems to be fixated entirely on this character's sexuality. She has reduced him to such a demeaning stereo-type that one wonders what Jamie Fraser sees in him, let alone how he could have come to think of Lord John as such a dear and intimate friend, since we are never given much opportunity to know anything else about him. I can't say I'd recommend this one.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2007

    A waste of time

    I loved Gabaldon's outlander series. I couldn't wait to read this new book. I found it boring and had to force myself to finish it. I would have rather had Gabaldon spin off one of the more interesting characters in the Outlander series like Fergus or Ian

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2011

    Not worth the money

    This short story of Lord John's foibles while away from the overshadowing of Jamie and Claire falls far short of Ms. Gabaldon's larger novels. Indeed, I felt the more I read her novels, though I thoroughly enjoyed the previous 7, it seemed she tried harder and harder to expound upon sexual issues and interludes. The novels were good in and of themselves without the over the top sexual encounters.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 28, 2011

    a bit hard to follow chacters at first

    but all comes together at the end. looking forward to the rest of the series

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2007

    I was very disappointed in this book

    I concur, this book was a waste of time & money. I loved Gabaldon's outlander series. I couldn't wait to read this new book. I found it boring and had to force myself to finish it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2006

    so sad....

    I really was hoping for a great little novel, as I have loved all of her other books. Alas, it was really horrible. Eagerly awaiting her next Outlander novel, hopefully she'll give up on Lord John.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2004

    Boring

    I loved the outlander series so I thought I would try Lord John. I could not get past a paragraph without falling asleep or trying to pay attention to what I was reading. What a huge let down.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2004

    Not good Gabaldon

    I am such a fan of the Claire/Jamie series, and I had high hopes for this book. It's awful. I can't imagine Diana Gabaldon writing this book and her editor allowing it to be published. It's disjointed and confusing, boring and uninteresting, all at the same time. There isn't one sympathetic character. I'm writing an historical mystery novel myself and I've gotten some tips from this book on what can go wrong and how NOT to write.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2004

    GABALDON WROTE THIS???

    My first thought upon completing this book was...I hope this is the pubs idea. The idea that this is the first in a series is very distressing. I found nothing positive in this piece to recommend. I am a romance reader. This is NOT a romance. If Ms. Gabaldon did not intend this to be a romance, the publisher should not promote it as one. Diana Gabaldon is a splendid writer and I would recommend her previous series. There is a percentage of the society that might enjoy this piece, however, I am not among that group .

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2004

    Gabaldon wrote THIS?????

    Since I first read Gabaldon's books, the Outlander stories, I have eagerly awaited the next publications of her books. This offering was certainly not what I expected and I still am amazed that it was published. I do hope that she is not becoming an author who publishes on her name only. I found the book to be boring and a futile attempt at redeeming Lord John. I finished it in hopes of finding the reason for publication somewhere in those pages...it never happened. While her previous books were five star, this one barely rates the one star...and should be a wake up call...please leave Lord John as a minor character and don't foist inferior literature on your fans, you are far too talented.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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