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Blood for Blood: A John Chase Mystery (John Chase Mysteries) Paperback – 30 May 2013

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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.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Absorbing historical mystery 26 Nov. 2014
By H. Bok - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Another corking mystery from S. K. Rizzolo. In her first, <i>The Rose in the Wheel,</i> the author vividly captured the textures of life in London in 1811. This sequel returns to London but also takes us out into the countryside (which I enjoy more) for a climax that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The story delivers local color, brooding atmosphere, and red herrings galore (I was completely suckered by one of the red herrings and got the villain wrong—though when he/she was revealed, the resolution made perfect sense).

Although it can easily stand on its own, <i>Blood for Blood</i> revisits some of the characters from the first novel, and I enjoyed the way our relationship with them deepened here—especially Penelope Wolfe, who finds herself in an invidious situation that combines material comfort with extreme unease. This situation plays out through scenes that the author unfolds with delicacy but an unflinching eye. A few of the subsidiary elements of the story were given somewhat short shrift (e.g., I would have enjoyed learning more about the political context), but the touching core of the story earned it a five-star rating from me.

Equally impressive to me is the way the author conveyed the rural scenes; I felt as if I were reading a native author of the old school such as a Margery Allingham, not an American one trying to bring to life the early nineteenth-century countryside. Loved the antiquarian and prehistoric elements (read: the pagan bits) and the folklore!

I wish this author had a more mainstream publisher who was able to bring her work further into the limelight.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
fascinating historical mystery 12 May 2003
By Harriet Klausner - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Estranged from her father, who lives in Sicily and her husband, residing in Ireland, Penelope Wolfe takes a job as companion to Lady Julia Ashe in order to feed herself and her daughter. Living with the Ashes is Julia's father and other eccentric individuals. There are dark undercurrents surrounding Julia and her husband whose marriage was a business arrangement that turned into a battlefield.
One night Penelope is awakened by a strange cry. She goes out to the garden only to find the murdered body of Dick, an Ashe's footman. She has the family procure the services of Bow Street Runner John Chase who actively pursues the case until a government informant warns him off. They believe Dick was a Jacobin, who wanted to topple the monarchy, the aristocracy and the government. The government wants to round up all his co-conspirators but John, with the help of barrister Edward Buckler, makes certain they can help the fair Penelope if she needs it.
In 1812, the gulf between the rich and the poor was wider than ever and some radical elements of the population, including the Luddites, advocated violence to level the playing field. Penelope senses something is wrong in the Ashe household but she doesn't know the family history or how it relates to a pregnant prophetess who is supposed to give birth to the Messiah. By the time she discovers the truth another murder is committed and Penelope can only seek justice for the dead. Her need turns BLOOD FOR BLOOD into a fascinating historic mystery that shows the dark side of Regency England.
Harriet Klausner
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Terrific Historical Mystery 31 Jan. 2006
By A. E Maloney - Published on
Format: Hardcover
In the spring of 1812, the Luddites are on the march, Lord Byron is taking London drawing rooms by storm, and Penelope Wolf has become a lady's companion. When one of the footmen turns up dead with a knife to the heart, Penelope and Bow Street Runner John Chase with the help of barrister Edward Buckler, are entangled in a web of family secrets and political conspiracy that stretches far beyond luxurious St. James's Square. This is one heck of a good book! Well written with a terrific plot that pulls you in from the beginning and never lets go until the very end. Tightly woven into the plot is wonderful historical detail about how the

classes interacted, how the police operated, the plight of unwed mothers during this time and the millennial fervor occurring in Regency London when thousands were waiting for the end of the world. A gripping mystery that is a must read!
Fine historical detective novel 13 Sept. 2012
By carl brookins - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I am not, generally, a big fan of historical mystery fiction. On the other hand, a well-written novel that really captures the time and the sense of the place can be vastly interesting. When an author does that, we readers can learn a bit more about the real life of the time and place than is typically found in our school text books. That's fortunate.

Here is an author who immerses us in the life and times of two people in early Seventeenth Century London. Author S. K. Rizzolo has captured and set down on paper what feels like the real London in a real era. London with its crowded streets, its hurly burly and its smoke and ash, and its obsessive sense of class and rules. It is fully accurate? I don't know of course, but it feels right, and that's important. This is Regency London with all its finery and its pimples.

Bow Street Runner John Chase is back, (see The Rose in The Wheel) trying to solve the murder of a mysterious footman called Dick Ransome. The footman was employed in the household of Lord Ashe, a man to be both reckoned with for his class and his wealth, and scorned for his personality and nasty proclivities. Another interesting character from Rizzolo's first novel (see above) is Penelope West. Her errant husband is off doing his art somewhere in Ireland, and Penelope, with her child, Sarah, has become a Companion to Lady Ashe, daughter of wealthy and powerful Sir Roger Wallace-Crag, a position not fit for an inquisitive woman of her disposition, but Penelope's circumstances require it.

When the footman is found stabbed in Wallace-Crag's garden, John Chase begins an investigation. At about the same time, Penelope, increasingly aware of strange undercurrents and rising vicious gossip below-stairs and above, learns about troubling events from both the recent and distant past. These parallel investigations by two carefully flawed characters allow us to visit important and fascinating elements of London society of the time in a way that would have been impossible without their presence in the story. It is a clever and effective construct. From outside the family, Chase learns troubling facts while stalking the streets and institutions of the city, as does Penelope from inside the chambers of a family that has many secrets.

The writing is intelligent and to the point. The pages of the novel are peopled with interesting and compelling fictitious and real people such as Lord Byron, and the charismatic religious, Rebecca Barnwell. The mystery is tightly controlled, fits the characters and the time, and provides a number of surprises along the way. Author Rizzolo has an exciting era to mine for many more regency mysteries. I look forward to them.
Regency England - 1812 23 Aug. 2009
By Lyn Reese - Published on
Format: Paperback
With a young daughter to support and an absent struggling artist for a husband, affluence-raised Penelope Wolfe is forced to seek a living as genteel companion to Lady Ashe. When the Ashe household's footman is murdered, Penelope can't resist turning her sharp mind to ferret out the cause. Together with her friend, Bow Street Runner John Chase, clues are uncovered, revealing dark family secrets, political conspiracies, and a prophetess who has attracted a large following on the eve of the Millennium.

The sights, sounds, and smells of Regency London streets, markets, parks, famous buildings and neighborhoods are vividly illustrated. The period speech patterns ring true. Notable is Rizzolo's portrayal of the wide gulf between the rich and poor, the powerful and the weak. The views of "treasonous" Jacobins become important plot points. The unrest of the Luddites, smashing new machinery in the Northern mills, is highlighted in a stirring speech by Lord Byron in the House of Lords: "Never under the most despotic of infidel governments did I behold such squalid wretchedness as I have seen since my return in the very heart of a Christian country." The action segues somewhat abruptly between past and present, however, leaving the reader to wonder what is going on, when and where.

Short Author's Note explaining historical accuracy is included. This is the second book in this series featuring Penelope Wolfe.
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