Title: The Berkeley Square Affair
A stolen treasure may hold the secret to a ghastly crime...
Ensconced in the comfort of their elegant home in London’s Berkeley Square, Malcolm and Suzanne Rannoch are no longer subject to the perilous life of intrigue they led during the Napoleonic Wars. Once an Intelligence Agent, Malcolm is now a Member of Parliament, and Suzanne is one of the city’s most sought-after hostesses. But a late-night visit from a friend who’s been robbed may lure them back into the dangerous world they thought they’d left behind. . .
Playwright Simon Tanner had in his possession what may be a lost version of Hamlet, and the thieves were prepared to kill for it. But the Rannochs suspect there’s more at stake than a literary gem–for the play may conceal the identity of a Bonapartist spy–along with secrets that could force Malcolm and Suzanne to abandon their newfound peace and confront their own dark past...
Author: Teresa Grant
Series: Malcolm & Suzanne Rannoch Historical Mystery
Published by Kensington Source: Publisher
Published: 25 March 2014
Genres: Historical Mystery
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The opportunity to review this title could not have come at a better time! I had heard of Teresa Grant’s historical mysteries, and had wanted to read them, so I jumped at the offer to read this one.
The seventh (or 9th installment if you count the two novellas) in this series that mixes intrigue and political wrangling with British aristos, romance, and personal and family secrets into a gripping tale full of a sense of the time and place, historical references and plenty of heart.
Suzanne and Malcolm are now residing in the house on Berkeley Square: both have decidedly retired from the spy game, and are concerned with raising their two children, Colin and Jessica. Together they are a formidable pair: even with the secrets still between them that could derail their relationship, and the secret they are working to find the answers to now could threaten more than just their own relationship.
A script that could be another version of Hamlet has appeared, and the consensus is that there is a code buried within the script. Malcolm’s handler, Carfax, has again requested that he solve the mystery, one that reaches back to a dispatch case that was raided in Ireland some 20 years earlier. Several characters are introduced: each with a reason to withhold the truth, or share only pieces, and Malcolm and Suzanne are working to put all of the pieces together.
Unfortunately, Suzanne has several secrets that could unravel her relationship with Malcolm, and as more agents for the French, the British and potential dual-leanings are unearthed, along with hints to an art smuggling ring and other blackmail efforts from Malcolm’s purported father, the twists never end. While there are several characters, each with their own credible and well-defined stories, they are rarely confusing; Grant not only manages to keep characters and their myriad of ties in the story easy to follow for readers, but provides a clear listing of the Dramatis Personae in the beginning of the story for easy reference.
I was completely engrossed in this story as it progressed, with little bits of information shared with readers as Malcolm or Suzanne shared information, or started to piece the story together. Each solution and puzzle piece that fits in only serves to generate several more questions, and the story continues to hold readers in a spell, guessing and wondering where the next shoe will drop.
There is a terrific sense of place and time, with varied insertions of quiet domestic life and parenting from Malcolm and Suzanne, giving the story warmth and grounding their connection in a reality that shines through the mystery and questions. I was completely surprised at the final answers, and yet, it was the only possible solution to the mysteries that were wound tighter than a Gordian Knot. A lovely installment in the series, continuing the stories of Suzanne and Malcolm and developing more information about the others in the series that readers have come to know. This is an intelligently crafted and presented mystery that can be savored as it is enjoyed.