DIE I WILL NOT
Unhappy wife and young mother Penelope Wolfe fears scandal for her family and worse. A Tory newspaper editor has been stabbed while writing a reply to the latest round of letters penned by the firebrand Collatinus. Twenty years before, her father, the radical Eustace Sandford, also wrote as Collatinus before he fled London just ahead of accusations of treason and murder—a mysterious beauty closely connected to Sandford and known only as N.D. had been brutally slain. Now the seditious new Collatinus letters that attack the Prince Regent in the press seek to avenge N.D.’s death and unmask her murderer. What did the editor know that provoked his death?
Her artist husband Jeremy being no reliable ally, Penelope turns anew to lawyer Edward Buckler and Bow Street Runner John Chase. As she battles public notoriety, Buckler and Chase put their careers at risk to stand behind her and find N.D.’s killer. They pursue various lines of inquiry including a missing memoir, Royal scandal, and the dead editor’s secretive, reclusive wife. As they navigate the dark underbelly of 1813 London among a cast driven by dirty politics and dark passions, as well as by decency and a desire for justice, past secrets and present criminals are exposed, upending Penelope’s life and the lives of others.
“This is a Regency far from the mannered drawing-rooms and pastoral rides of Austen pastiches–vivid with detail, teeming with raucous life, peopled with wistful and memorable characters. Delving into the sensational aspects of Society and politics, Rizzolo delivers her most compelling mystery yet.”
—Stephanie Barron, author of the Jane Austen Mysteries
“History and 1813 London come alive in this powerful saga, highly recommended for fans of historical mysteries who are looking for a combination of powerful history background and involving plot.”
—Midwest Book Review, January, 2015
“Perfect for fans of C.S. Harris, this well-researched mystery takes us to the heart of the Regency underworld…”
—Lauren Willig, New York Times bestselling author of the Pink Carnation Series
“This is the third in Rizzolo’s John Chase series to feature these three intriguing and contrasting investigators. Rizzolo neatly sets up early 19th-century London with her superb descriptions of time and place as she takes us from the stink and filth of the streets to the overheated drawing rooms of the rich and powerful. Fans of regency mysteries are in for a treat.”
—Sharon Magee, Mystery Scene Magazine
“The 1813 murder of a newspaper editor intrigues Penelope Wolfe, but the resulting scandal could involve her. The editor was about to reveal the identity of Collantinus, who’s been writing letters attacking the Prince Regent. Twenty years ago, Penelope’s father had used that name to pen treasonous letters. Fearing arrest after the murder of a lady known only as N. D. and with ties to the Prince Regent and himself, he fled the country. Now someone uses his alias to seek revenge for N. D.’s murder. To protect her family, Penelope enlists the aid of two friends: barrister Edward Buckler, who’s in love with her even though she’s already married, and John Chase, a Bow Street Runner. Together they risk their lives and careers to unmask the villains and protect Penelope.
The complicated mystery is neatly solved, while the personal relationships are intriguing. Readers unfamiliar with the previous books in the John Chase mysteries may feel disoriented by the characters and period language, but as the story unfolds this fades away. From the rigid, prim-and-proper rules of society to the seamier sides of the city, Rizzolo vividly brings to life the world of Regency London.”
—Historical Novel Society
“Rizzolo vividly depicts Regency London through her trio of contrasting but equally likable protagonists—Penelope, Buckler, and Chase.”
—Publishers Weekly, Sept. 22, 2014
“Die I Will Not tells of an unhappy wife and young mother who fears her family will be beset by scandal and danger. Her father was accused of treason and murder decades ago; now a dead editor’s secret leads Penelope to battle scandal, risk her reputation and life, and search out a killer. History and 1813 London come alive in this powerful saga, highly recommended for fans of historical mysteries who are looking for a combination of powerful history background and involving plot.”
—Midwest Book Review, January, 2015
“Set in 1813, Rizzolo’s intricate third Regency mystery (after 2003’s Blood for Blood) centers on the era’s heated politics. Twenty years earlier, Eustace Sandford fled England to avoid arrest for seditious writings under the name Collatinus and the alleged murder of his lover, courtesan Nell Durant. Though Eustace is not the source, new radical writings begin appearing in the press under the Collatinus pseudonym, alluding to the murder of “N.D.” Penelope Wolfe, Eustace’s daughter, attempts to see newspaperman Dryden Leach, who has vowed to expose the new Collatinus, in hopes he can identify the writer. After an unknown woman fatally stabs Leach, Penelope calls on barrister Edward Buckler and Bow Street Runner John Chase for help in clearing herself and her family’s reputation. Despite the overly complex backstory, Rizzolo vividly depicts Regency London through her trio of contrasting but equally likable protagonists—Penelope, Buckler, and Chase.”
“Dryden Leach, editor of a Tory newspaper in 1813 London, is stabbed to death by a mysterious figure who is seen running from his offices. All fingers point to a rogue using the name Collantinus to publish treasonous letters against the Prince Regent. Twenty years earlier, Penelope Wolfe’s father wrote letters under the same alias before fleeing England, and the young mother fears suspicion will fall on her and her family.
Within days of her husband’s murder, Leach’s wife Mary, an acquaintance of Penelope’s, also dies under mysterious circumstances. Even though well-respected married ladies risked disgrace by becoming involved with politics or crime, Penelope knows she must find who’s behind the murders, and whether they are connected to her exiled father. A woman in a man’s world, Penelope can’t rely on her ne’er-do-well husband (an artist who has squandered her money), so she calls on two men for help: John Chase, a Bow Street Runner (London’s first professional police force), who helps Penelope at the risk of expulsion from his department; and barrister Edward Buckler, who also puts his job and reputation on the line to assist Penelope (with whom he shares a mutual attraction).
This is the third in Rizzolo’s John Chase series to feature these three intriguing and contrasting investigators. Rizzolo neatly sets up early 19th-century London with her superb descriptions of time and place as she takes us from the stink and filth of the streets to the overheated drawing rooms of the rich and powerful. Fans of regency mysteries are in for a treat.”
—Sharon Magee, Mystery Scene Magazine
“I love all types of mysteries. However, I’ve always thought that mysteries set in historical England were, of course, even more “hook” worthy due to their atmospheric qualities. One series that I recommend is by S.K. Rizzolo. Her Regency mysteries are intelligent, historical, detailed, and full of drama and intrigue.
Recently, the third book, Die I Will Not, published and I was super excited to read it as a newspaper editor’s murder is involved. Being a journalist, I adore settings, plots, and scenes surrounding that industry, especially historically, and if politics and scandal are involved too, then I am sold.
I have to admit, I read the author’s note first even though it is at the end. That was so interesting! Knowing that the author’s mystery was based on an authentic “what if” made me even more curious! When she stated that a true historical Tory newspaper editor was assassinated in response to an article he wrote in reaction to the Reform Act during the mid-1800s, my interest couldn’t have been perked more.
Rizzolo’s mysteries aren’t cozy mysteries, they are smart mysteries. Her word choice and sentences, dialogue and plot, is one that you must read at full attention and will a focused mind. If you do, you’ll be captivated by the novel and dive into the mystery at full speed. You might not even realize you’ve reached the end of the book so fast, as I know I didn’t. Her period and historical particulars were interesting and visual. I was able to create scenes in my head as if I was propelled back in time to the cobbled, dark streets. When I wasn’t entrenched in those specifics, I was reading excellent dialogue from well-developed and dimensional characters that pushed me forward. The imagery was delicious and the intrigue riveting, making a combined effort that truly captured my mind.
There are quite a lot of characters and plot secrets and clues, so you must be sharp and nimble in your reading. If you are dedicated to it, then you’ll feel as if you’ve accomplished a puzzle and made friends with some unique characters by the end. She employed not just the use of one “sleuth” but several. Penelope Wolfe, who shines as the lead in this third book, turns again to Bow Street Runner (Constable) John Chase, as well as to lawyers Edward Buckler and Ezekial Thorogood. Together, they are on the hunt for justice, even if it means being involved in the dark world of royal intrigue and scandal.
As her novels always do, the book takes on some underlying issues that surround the common people and the Royals. Not to mention her authentic portrayal of the lavish Prince Regent (to become George IV), and his wife Caroline, was fairly spot-on. His spending was not viewed as wise by the taxpayers at the time, and he was irresponsible, which started to diminish the view of the monarchy among the people. We can certainly understand the dissent and societal issues clearly within the pages of this mystery. She utilizes old newspaper reports that even recorded the affairs of George IV and Caroline, who never got along, as their divorce attempts in the House of Lords were recorded. They lived separately, and so with that, derives scandal of course! I really liked how she integrated this into the mystery.
I think that Die I Will Not was the best yet by Rizzolo, as I really loved the plot, historical details, characters, scandal, political intrigue, and teamwork within the novel. If you are a mystery reader that likes history, then I highly recommend this novel for a long winter weekend of intense getaway into the pages of a book.”
—Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
“When signing up for this tour, I was offered the chance to read the entire John Chase series (The Rose in the Wheel, Blood for Blood and Die I Will Not). I jumped at the chance, and that has turned out to be one of the better literary decisions I have made in recent memory.
By the time I got to Die I Will Not, I had twice ridden in a horse-drawn carriage at breakneck speed through the foggy streets of Regency London and was chomping at the bit for a third excursion. And the fabulous foursome (Chase, Buckler, Penelope Wolfe and S. K. Rizzolo) do not disappoint. Other than seeing Penelope out of danger, I really did not want Die I Will Not to end!
Penelope is a most interesting character. I can see how she has grown throughout the series. At the start of the series, she was quite naive – at least as naive as you can be raising a child alone because your philandering artist husband only shows up when he wants money. By the third installment, we find out that she had been born in rather better social circumstances than we might previously have believed. She is well educated and often surprises the upper-class denizens with her knowledge of the classics. Her would-be protectors realize that she is not one to sit back and let things happen around her. And she maintains her character and responsibility, and respectability as a married woman with a child even when those around her do not, despite the fact that her strength is like nectar to the men buzzing around her.
I could see myself being acquainted with Bucker and Chase as well. They are loyal to their friends, even at their own peril (both in life and on the job).
We know from Chapter 1 that the conservative editor of a newspaper has been stabbed by a woman. Soon we learn that Penelope had attempted to see the editor (Dryden Leach) and been turned away. You see, someone has been using the name adopted by Penelope’s father 20 years ago to write letters considered treasonous because they derided the excesses of the upper classes, especially the Prince Regent.
But the report is that Leach went home sick. Why do they not want the truth out? When the editor dies, it is put about that a man with a cloak and a mask stabbed him. Why? A witness disappears. Within a few days, the editor’s wife is found dead, gruesomely murdered underground in a room where cows were housed.
As with the previous installments, the suspense in Die I Will Not winds tighter and tighter, until it has gone as far as it can go and the story spins furiously (deliciously) to its conclusion. I know I’ve used this allegory before, but this fine book reminds me of a rollercoaster. You secure yourself in the car, make that first climb up, and hurtle over the top, plunging to the depths, screaming in fearful release, holding on for dear life while rattling around corners, and finally coming back to rest where you started. You look at your companion, smile and both say at the same time, “Let’s go AGAIN!”