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Murder in Westminster: A Riveting Regency Historical Mystery (Hardcover)
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Perfect for readers looking for a darker twist on Bridgerton, this first in a vibrant, inclusive historical mystery series from a acclaimed author Vanessa Riley portrays the true diversity of the Regency-era, as an aristocrat whose skin color and notorious family history have left her with few friends she can rely on is named as the prime suspect in a murder case…
“A great read to add to your current must-read lists.” – Essence Magazine
“Riley’s storytelling gift is strong and her prose is lovely and evocative…particularly clever.” – Mystery Scene Magazine
“Snappy dialogue, abundant intrigue, and Abbie and Stapleton’s increasingly flirtatious antagonism keep the tension high and the narrative drive strong. Smart, fun, and full of moxie.”—Kirkus Reviews
A BiblioLifestyle Most Anticipated Mystery of Summer 2022
Discovering a body on her property presents Lady Abigail Worthing with more than one pressing problem. The victim is Juliet, the wife of her neighbor, Stapleton Henderson. Although Abigail has little connection with the lady in question, she expects to be under suspicion. Abigail’s skin color and her mother’s notorious past have earned her a certain reputation among the ton, and no amount of wealth or status will eclipse it.
Abigail can’t divulge that she was attending a secret pro-abolition meeting at the time of the murder. To her surprise, Henderson offers her an alibi. Though he and Juliet were long estranged, and she had a string of lovers, he feels a certain loyalty to his late wife. Perhaps together, he and Abigail can learn the truth.
Abigail, whose marriage to Lord Worthing was not a love match, knows well how appearances can deceive. For all its surface elegance, London’s high society can be treacherous. Yet who in their circle would have killed Juliet, and why? Taking the reins of her life in a way she never has before, Abby intends to find out—but in the process she will uncover more danger than she ever imagined . . .
“Fans of Bridgerton will enjoy this one.” –Publishers Weekly
“Intelligent…a welcome addition to the genre.” –Library Journal
About the Author
Vanessa Riley is an award-winning author of historical romance, mystery, and fiction novels featuring realistic multicultural communities and powerful persons of color. To fuel her interest in the Regency and early-Victorian eras, she made time for attending renaissance fairs and consuming period novels and films while obtaining her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and a master’s in industrial engineering and engineering management from Stanford University, as well as a BS and MS in mechanical engineering from Penn State University. A frequent speaker at literary, women's, and STEM events, she lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her military husband and teenage kid. Visit her online at VanessaRiley.com.
Praise for MURDER IN WESMINSTER
“Riley’s inclusive, keenly drawn cast shines a light on the role of people of color in the Regency era…Snappy dialogue, abundant intrigue, and Abbie and Stapleton’s increasingly flirtatious antagonism keep the tension high and the narrative drive strong. Smart, fun, and full of moxie.”
“Riley offers a vibrant picture of the roles Black and mixed-race people played in Regency life. Fans of Bridgerton will enjoy this one.”
“Fans of Regency-era historical mysteries featuring intelligent heroines (such as Andrea Penrose’s Lady Arianna or Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily) will find this series a welcome addition to the genre.”
“Riley’s storytelling gift is strong and her prose is lovely and evocative. She made me see 1806 London in an entirely new way – I’m a fan of Jane Austen as well as Dianne Freeman and many others – but she gave me the gift of an expanded perspective, along with a really well told mystery. The denouement is particularly clever and includes both grim irony and a dandy twist. I’m hoping this will be a long-lived series and I can visit with Lady Abigail again soon.”
—Mystery Scene Magazine
“Murder in Westminster (historical mystery) is sure to be a great read to add to your current must-read lists.”
“Abigail’s complex world, a mix of family, Caribbean immigrants, and the ton, is exactly the world readers today are eager to discover—and to return to. Calling all regency enthusiasts, historical mystery fans, and Bridgerton devotees—this one’s for you.”
—Brian Kenney, First Clue Newsletter
“Smart, witty, and refreshingly diverse, this new Regency-set series from acclaimed author Vanessa Riley combines her signature emotional richness and attention to detail in a historical mystery featuring a strong, clever, and captivating heroine . . .”
— Fresh Fiction
“Vanessa Riley deftly combines historical fact with an exhilarating story and a truly inclusive cast of characters in a novel that’s not just a great read, but important, shedding light on the abolitionist movement. Murder in Westminster is a triumph: atmospheric, evocative, and utterly irresistible.”
—New York Times bestselling author Tasha Alexander
“Murder in Westminster is a fresh, unique take on the Regency, deftly weaving historical fact with dastardly intrigue. Lady Worthing is an intrepid and unforgettable heroine and I can’t wait for the next adventure! Clever and engaging.”
—New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn, author of the Veronica Speedwell mysteries
"You don't want to miss this invigorating take on the Regency lady sleuth. Vanessa Riley breathes new life into the genre and offers a unique perspective in Murder in Westminster."
—Sherry Thomas, USA Today bestselling author of the Lady Sherlock series
"Riley provides readers with her trademark rich tapestry of characters of assorted privilege and how they were both constrained by and empowered by the society of the early 19th Century.”
—Maryelizabeth Yturralde, Creating Conversations Booksellers (Redondo Beach, CA)
Praise for Vanessa Riley
"Riley gifts readers a sparkling love story with deep wells of faith and feeling...It's refreshing to read historical romance that reflects the true diversity of the era. Patience struggles to stake her legitimacy in the aristocracy both because she is a woman and a woman of color. Riley honors that reality...At its heart, A Duke, The Lady, and A Baby is about overcoming trauma, a testament to love forged in adversity—a love that both leaves space for and hastens healing. Riley knows how to spin a yarn built on faith and trust, that lilts along with the gentility and reserve of her characters."
—Entertainment Weekly on A Duke, The Lady, and a Baby
"Riley is at her best when she lets her Gothic impulses out to play...Readers on the lookout for Black or disabled characters in historical romance will not want to miss this."
—The New York Times on A Duke, The Lady, and a Baby
"Riley loads her expertly crafted romance with intrigue, droll banter, and steadily building passion. Readers will be hard-pressed to find a flaw in this big-hearted Regency romance."
—Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW on A Duke, The Lady, and a Baby
"Mystery and simmering passion unite to keep you turning pages until the duke, lady and baby find their happy ever after."
—NPR on A Duke, The Lady, and a Baby
“Richly detailed, vividly depicted, and sweeping in scope, Island Queen is historical fiction at its absolute finest. A stunning must-read!”
—Chanel Cleeton, New York Times bestselling author of The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba on Island Queen
“Riveting and transformative, evocative and immersive...by turns vibrant and bold and wise, discovering Dorothy’s story is a singular pleasure.”
—The New York Times on Island Queen
"Riley's well-researched depiction of 1814 England tells a broad story of life in wartime, the lack of women's rights, mental health, and suicide, while, with all the difficulties they face, Patience and Busick's love story feels genuine and deep."
—Booklist on A Duke, The Lady, and a Baby
"With strong heroines, swoon-worthy heroes, and deeply emotional stories, Vanessa Riley is a magnificent voice in historical romance—one not to be missed! A Duke, The Lady and A Baby is Vanessa at her finest."
—Sarah MacLean, New York Times bestselling author on A Duke, The Lady, and a Baby
"Riveting from the first sentence to the last. Vanessa Riley's lyrical voice shimmers in this emotional, uplifting tour de force. One of the best historicals I've read in years."
—Kristan Higgins, New York Times bestselling author on A Duke, The Lady, and a Baby
"Bestselling author Vanessa Riley is known for her romantic Regency-era tales, and her latest is bursting with wit and charm."
—Woman's World on A Duke, The Lady, and a Baby
"In addition to the deeply emotional story of the protagonists, gothic touches and a mystery keep the plot moving smartly through this book. A book to savor."
—Frolic, Book of the Week for A Duke, The Lady, and a Baby
"I love a historical, and Vanessa Riley writes them full of people of color living and loving in all their glory."
—BookTrib on A Duke, The Lady, and a Baby
"Riley opens up the world of Regency romance by depicting a heroine whose society views her as the Other and pairing her with a powerful man whose war wounds now cause him to see himself differently. There's wordplay and swordplay in this not-to-be-missed romance, plus subtle love scenes that prove Patience and Busick's mettle as helpmeets and lovers."
—BookPage on A Duke, The Lady, and a Baby
"Everything you could ever want in a Regency and more!—If you read only one duke book this year, make it this one!"
—Grace Burrowes, New York Times bestselling author on A Duke, The Lady, and a Baby
"With brilliant pacing, memorable characters, and witty dialogue, the premise elevated beyond our expectations. A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby portrays Black people in a beautiful way that makes us relatable and takes us out of the stereotypical maid and slave roles. We definitely give this novel a strong five out of five stars."
—AAMBC on A Duke, The Lady, and a Baby
"The novel is unique for its multicultural perspective as Patience battles the constraints of British Regency society and longs for the freedom of her native shores, Demarara...Vanessa Riley schools readers through her page-turning narrative about a woman caught in a culture not of her birth, yet drawn to a kind and loving man with a title."
—Historical Novel Society on A Duke, The Lady, and a Baby
"Smart and witty...Vanessa Riley delivers the perfect historical read."
—Julia Quinn, #1 New York Times bestselling author on A Duke, The Lady, and a Baby
"Brilliant, emotional, and breathtakingly romantic! A Duke, The Lady, and A Baby will sweep you off your feet. Elegant, enchanting historical romance to be treasured."
—Lenora Bell, USA Today bestselling author on A Duke, The Lady, and a Baby
"Readers should prepare for an all-nighter with A Duke, The Lady, and A Baby. Wow. Riley's passion for the Regency era is unquestionable as she takes readers on an emotional journey of adventure, suspense and romance. This story will linger with readers until the sequel."
—Pat Simmons, award-winning and national bestselling author of the Jamieson Legacy
“Brings the same elaborate storytelling and portrayal of a more diverse Regency world than is traditionally found. Riley’s commitment to writing the complex emotions of motherhood remains a crucial part of the series—also a welcome addition to the genre. Well-researched, with a fascinating author's note at the end, this story proves the first was no fluke. A historical romance of impressive heft.”
—Kirkus Reviews on An Earl, The Girl, and a Toddler
“Riley offers powerful depictions of love, including the love of a father for a daughter, the love between friends, and most of all the love between two individuals who are meant for each together. Riley's extensive research into people of color during the Regency era adds greatly to the appeal of this page-turning romance. Fans of Shonda Rhimes’ adaptation of Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton books will devour this series.”
—Booklist, Starred Review on An Earl, The Girl, and a Toddler
“Daniel and Jemina’s interactions are filled with witty banter and innuendo, and the hero’s tender interactions with his daughter will make readers swoon. Move over, Bridgertons. There’s a new set of scandalous aristocrats waiting to take London society by storm.”
—Library Journal on An Earl, The Girl, and a Toddler
“Bridgerton fans, if you read just one book on this list, make sure it's Vanessa Riley's terrific An Earl, the Girl, and a Toddler.”
—Popsugar on An Earl, The Girl, and a Toddler
“The mystery about Jemina's past, especially, keeps the pages turning until a very satisfying happy-ever-after.”
—NPR on An Earl, The Girl, and a Toddler
“The amnesia trope is a challenging one to do convincingly, but Riley pulls it off with style…Readers craving a multicultural Regency will be pleased.”
—Publishers Weekly on An Earl, The Girl, and a Toddler
“While there’s a lot of humor and playfulness... Riley doesn’t pull her emotional punches....Riley dispels the myth of the all-white Regency—people of color rose to the titled elite in this and in many other historical periods—while also refusing to diminish or gloss over an iota of the bigotry and judgment a blackamoor earl would face.”
—Bookpage on An Earl, The Girl, and a Toddler