Title: Die I Will Not
Series: John Chase Mystery Series #3
Author: S.K. Rizzolo
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Genre: Historical Mystery
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Die I Will Not
John Chase Mystery Series #3
Poisoned Pen Press, November 2014
From the publisher—
Unhappy wife and young mother Penelope Wolfe fears scandal for her family and worse. A Tory newspaper editor has been stabbed while writing a reply to the latest round of letters penned by a firebrand calling himself Collatinus. Twenty years before, her father, the radical Eustace Sandford, wrote as Collatinus before he fled London just ahead of accusations of treason and murder. A mysterious beauty closely connected to Sandford and known only as N.D. had been brutally slain, her killer never punished. The seditious new Collatinus letters that attack the Prince Regent in the press also seek to avenge N.D.’s death and unmask her murderer. What did the journalist know that provoked his death?
Her artist husband Jeremy is no reliable ally, so Penelope turns anew to lawyer Edward Buckler and Bow Street Runner John Chase. As she battles public notoriety, Buckler and Chase put their careers at risk to stand behind her while pursuing various lines of inquiry aimed at N.D.’s murderer, a missing memoir, Royal scandal, and the dead editor’s missing wife. As they navigate the dark underbelly of Regency London among a cast driven by dirty politics and dark passions, as well as by decency and a desire for justice, past secrets and present criminals are exposed, upending Penelope’s life and the lives of others.
A long time ago, or what seems like a long time in one’s reading life, I “discovered” S.K. Rizzolo’s first book, The Rose in the Wheel, and fell in love with the characters and the setting and the time period and the author’s writing style. In a word, I was smitten. Then came Blood for Blood the following year and this was no sophomore slump. I could hardly wait for the third book but wait I did…and wait and wait and wait.
Finally, I gave up, thinking the author had decided not to continue writing, and I mourned the death of the series. Imagine my surprise and delight when, 11 1/2 years after the second book, I found out the third was coming out. Die I Will Not has been high on my TBR list ever since I was invited to take part in this blog tour.
So, what’s the verdict? Well, I did enjoy it quite a lot but, somehow, a bit of the charm is gone. Perhaps that’s because it’s been too long and my recollections of the first two books had become a little “shinier” than reality but, on the other hand, it could be that my reading expectations have changed in all those years (I know they have) or that the author’s touch has faded just a little. I don’t really know why I’m not so enthralled by this third book but I DID think it’s quite good.
Not being especially well-versed in the details of Regency London, I can’t say if Ms. Rizzolo’s setting is 100% accurate but it certainly has the feel of being right and I easily immersed myself in Penelope’s London. I’m sorry her worthless husband is still around but, of course, divorce wasn’t really possible in those days except at great cost and with dire social consequences so I suppose we’ll have to continue putting up with him. (Maybe, some day, Penelope will figure out a way to “dispose” of him without getting caught.) Penelope is a strong-minded, intelligent woman and it’s not surprising she would want to follow this latest potential lead to the truth about her father and an old unsolved murder. She’s very lucky to have two such stalwart friends to help.
The other two main characters, John and Edward, were just as I remembered them and they remain my favorites of the three. I’m particularly interested in the exploits of the Bow Street Runners, precursors to our modern-day police, and John didn’t let me down in the least. There are many twists and turns in this mystery and the characters—and the reader—have to keep their wits about them.
Regardless of any hesitations I might have, I’m delighted that Penelope, John and Edward are back and I do hope that we’ll see them again next year.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, November 2014.
About the Author
S.K. Rizzolo is a longtime Anglophile and history enthusiast. Set in Regency England, The Rose in the Wheel and Blood for Blood are the first two novels in her series about a Bow Street Runner, an unconventional lady, and a melancholic barrister. An English teacher, Rizzolo has earned an M.A. in literature and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.
For more information please visit S.K. Rizzolo’s website. You can also find her on Facebook and Goodreads.
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