About the Author
S. K. Rizzolo was born in Aspen, Colorado, but raised in Saudi Arabia and Libya where her father was employed in the oil industry. Returning to the United States for high school and college, Suzanne earned an M.A. in English. Currently a high school teacher, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter. The Rose in the Wheel, a mystery set in Regency England, was her first novel. http://www.skrizzolo.com/
Set in Regency England, S.K. Rizzolo’s series features the crime-solving adventures of a Bow Street Runner, an unconventional lady, and a melancholic barrister.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I've been trying for many years to figure out why the Regency period appeals to me so much in both historical fiction and mysteries (and real history) but I can't quite put my finger on it. My attraction to the era comes and goes; back in my 20's (the dark ages), I was really into Regency historical fiction, then I fell off, then I went back to those and mysteries, then I fell off again and now I'm back once more. It seems I can't stay away but I do know that part of my liking for it is a deep-seated love of American history and this period was certainly important to the left side of the pond. Anyhoo, there are particular authors that I can always count on to carry me away to the Regency and S.K. Rizzolo is one of them, without fail. I love the history of the Bow Street Runners, the beginnings of London's police, and John Chase really brings the Runners to life. Having to cope with two distinctly different cultures in his latest case brings out the best in him, piquing his natural-born curiosity and his (perhaps) unusual intelligence. When Hugo Garrod engages Penelope Wolfe to interview him for a magazine piece at the estate, she goes against the best advice of her dear friend Edward Buckler because she is in real need of income since her ne'er-do-well husband abandoned her. It's only natural for Chase to accept her help in finding the culprit behind the malicious events surrounding Marina, given their successful collaborations in the past, and Edward finds it impossible to remain uninvolved. A highlight of this series is the attention the author pays to various social issues of the day and in this book she tackles the British feelings regarding slavery and racism, specifically bringing it out in the story of a biracial daughter of a wealthy British merchant and his determination to introduce her to society. That girl, Marina, comes into her own during this very stressful time but what exactly is causing her so much difficulty in the rarified world of British society if not the facts of her birth? I so enjoyed being back in the company of Penelope, John and Edward and it's their personal stories that really draw me in with the crimes they work on being the icing on the cake. The ways they find to get to whatever truths are eluding them are entertaining and sometimes inspiring and, once again, Ms. Rizzolo takes us along for a delightful journey. The last few sentences leave the reader wanting more and I really wish I could twitch my nose and bring that fifth book into being right now ;-)
This is an excellent historical mystery. It is fourth in a series, and although it is the first one I have read, it was not a problem. The relationships between the core set of characters, John Chase, Edward Buckler and Penelope Wolfe seem to hint at some history between them that was probably from the first three books, but I didn't feel lost at any time. Bow Street Runner John Chase is hired to protect Marina, the illegitimate daughter of wealthy sugar baron Hugo Garrod, and to find the culprit behind mysterious tricks being played on Marina that seem to point to her Jamaican heritage and her mother's practice of Obeah. Rizzolo paints a perfect portrait of the social structure of the day - the prejudices against the working class and mixed races, and the struggle of a single woman of the time, whether as a widow or as a woman trying to support herself in the world. The mystery was well-plotted and well-paced. The list of suspects was difficult to narrow down, and the story kept me guessing right up until John Chase solved it. I recommend this book for any fans of historical mysteries. I also liked the friendship you could see between Chase, Buckler, and Penelope, and I will definitely go back and read the first books to see how they all came together.