Four stars (of five)
Lord John continues his adventures as a soldier and highfalutin sleuth. Away from the busy streets of London, Grey finds himself in Prussia, acting as an English liaison officer and settling disputes for some of the locals in the town of Gundwitz. Local lore professes to the existence of a succubus, who is said to have visited a number of townsfolk and is blamed for the death of a Prussian soldier. Skeptical, yet curious, Grey goes to the graveyard to investigate and stumbles upon an English soldier with whom he is acquainted. While trying to quell another round of superstitious behaviour and solve the murder, Grey finds himself fighting his attraction to Hanoverian Captain Stephan von Namtzen, an elusive ‘agreement’ with Jamie Fraser the main impediment. Grey must also dodge advances by the beautiful young widow Louisa, Princess von Lowenstein, who seeks to lessen Grey’s daily tensions. While Grey seeks to solve the case logically, something sinister keeps him from presenting a quick. All around him the battle is raging on and the Seven Years War has only just begun. Gabaldon is wonderful in her storytelling and keeps Grey fans wanting more.
Gabaldon offers another gem in her Lord John series, which hones in on Grey’s sleuthing capabilities as well as his past with one Jamie Fraser. The attentive reader will tease out nuggets to add to the Outlander series, in which the entire LJG series serves as a bridge in time during the Jamie-Claire hiatus. Lord John is sure to continue playing a key role in this series (obviously) and the larger Outlander one, in the books to come. While I have read this novella before, new crumbs as they relate to the larger double series emerged, making this an all-around enjoyable feat. Not to be missed as part of the larger reading experience known as Gabaldon’s Outlander mega-series.
Kudos, Madam Gabaldon for adding to your already interesting character. How can I not love Grey and his dry wit as he solves crimes in what seems to be his spare time?