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Riot Most Uncouth: A Lord Byron Mystery    by Daniel Friedman order for
Riot Most Uncouth
by Daniel Friedman
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I enjoyed Daniel Friedman's Buck Schatz mysteries (Don't Ever Get Old and Don't Ever Look Back) very much. But I guess when you have an eighty-eight year old protagonist, you can't have all your eggs in one series basket.

So he's come up with another very unlikely antihero of a detective, this time heading back into UK history to feature a young Lord Byron (whom fans of Georgette Heyer's Regency romances will remember well). Byron is launched as a very erratic investigator in Riot Most Uncouth and spends most of the book drunk, drugged or both.

It begins in 1807 Cambridge, England, where Byron is enrolled as a student at Trinity College, though he attends no classes. He has decided that, in addition to being the greatest poet ever, he is also 'the world's greatest criminal investigator.' So, when his butler informs him of the murder of Miss Felicity Whippleby, he is resolved to capture the killer.

Byron sets out for the victim's room with his usual sidekick, a bear he calls the Professor, and meanders into the investigation, where he quickly becomes the chief suspect (Byron is a well known womanizer) of two independent investigators from London, Knifing and Dingle. And there are further vicious killings, one striking very close to home for Byron.

Friedman has an intriguing premise here but it just didn't work that well for me - after all, readers need to feel some engagement with a lead and this Lord Byron simply irritated me. But he did eventually solve the case, and get the girl, more or less.

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