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The Birth of Blue Satan    by Patrica Wynn order for
Birth of Blue Satan
by Patrica Wynn
Order:  USA  Can
Pemberley, 2001 (2001)
Hardcover, Paperback, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by G. Hall

The Birth of Blue Satan marks the start of an interesting new historical mystery series set in early 18th century England, a time period not previously used (to my knowledge) in mysteries. George I, the first Hanoverian king, has just come to the throne and the period is rife with political struggles between the Whigs and Tories - supporters of the Hanovers and James the Pretender respectively. Fortunately Wynn includes a good historical background section to refresh the reader's memory of the times.

The intrigues among the aristocratic and royal circles provide a perfect backdrop for this mystery. In the best Georgette Heyer tradition, there is an engaging, well-born (but improverished and somewhat plain) heroine, Hester Kean, and a handsome and dashing hero, Gideon Viscount St. Mars. It is also the time when beautiful women are essentially 'sold off' to the highest bidder.

Gideon has fallen in love with the vapid but beautiful Isabella Mayfield and has a good chance to win her hand in marriage. However, he must drop his suit when his Tory father is suddenly murdered and Gideon becomes the key suspect. He is arrested but escapes capture. Gideon goes into hiding as the gentleman highwayman Blue Satan. Hester is Isabella's cousin and lives with her family. As the poor relative, her role is somewhat that of a servant. Of course, Hester has fallen for Gideon and ends up helping him solve the murder.

This is Wynn's first mystery and the book spends a bit too much time on the characters' introspection before it gets to real action. It is really a 250 page book but lasts 325 pages, and the reader will get somewhat impatient waiting for the intelligent and resourceful Hester to link up with Gideon. Still it is an enjoyable read, especially for one who likes to learn a bit of history along with her mystery. I will definitely look for the next volume in the series.

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