the-regency-detective-2013-x-200Reviewed by Caleb Shadis

The Regency Detective was written by two authors, David Lassman and Terence James, and I’m fairly certain that I could point out who wrote which parts. There was the story that was the driving force of the book, and there was the history which gave background and ambiance. There was lots of cool history but there was also the ‘ya, ya, let’s get on with the story’ history. At times, it really felt like the mystery was just a way for them to convey their knowledge of the location where the story was taking place. That got irritating.

As far as I can tell this is the first book in the series but it feels like the second or third. This is supposed to be a mystery series and we get three separate mysteries in this book alone. Who killed Jack Swann’s father, who does Lockhart work for (the man courting Jack’s sister) and who committed the murders. The first is an obvious several book arc and I didn’t really expect it to end in this one. The second has some kind of overlap with the first. The third is where I dropped the stars down to 3.5. The third mystery – the one that gets solved – doesn’t even begin until almost two thirds of the way through the book. It felt like “Oh ya! We need to give them a mystery that is actually solved in THIS book!” In many ways this book felt like an episode instead of a full book.

Jack Swann is a man on a mission. When he was 12 he witnessed the murder of his father, and he has been trying to find the murderer ever since. He was adopted by the family his father worked for and grew up with his “sister”, Mary. When Jack was old enough, he set himself up as a detective (along the lines of Sherlock Holmes, without the chemical dependencies). He has made a name for himself and is doing quite well with the business. He can pick and choose his cases, but he never passes up a case that might relate to the murder of his father. This is how he ends up going to Bath.

Wherever Jack goes, trouble seems to be able to find him. He also has been practicing the art of observation and thus has a very good memory. He also has the remarkable ability to put together odd clues–even ones that are not apparently related. I like Jack and I am certainly willing to try the next book in the series. I hope by then the writing has evened out a bit and the story flows smoothly.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Caleb is a software engineer and amateur woodworker living in southern Minnesota. He has more hobbies than he has time or money for, and enjoys his quiet time reading.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by The History Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.