Blood for Blood


In the spring of 1812, the Luddites are on the march, Lord Byron is taking London drawing rooms by storm, and Penelope Wolfe 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 are entangled in a web of family secrets and political conspiracy that stretches far beyond luxurious St. James’ Square. With the help of barrister Edward Buckler, Chase follows the trail of a mysterious mad woman caught peeping in the window at the corpse. Penelope struggles to fit into the fashionable world, encountering people who hide resentment and deceit under smooth smiles. Set against a backdrop of millennial fervor with thousands awaiting the end of the world, Blood for Blood explores the simple truth that every drop of blood spilled will be avenged.

“In this engrossing sequel to Rizzolo’s well-received Regency debut, The Rose in the Wheel (2002), John Chase, a Bow Street Runner (a pre-Victorian constable), and Penelope Wolfe, his accomplished assistant, investigate the fatal stabbing of a footman…The different circles in which Chase and Wolfe move afford Rizzolo an opportunity to depict the disparities in London society of 1812, and she makes the most of it. Engaging and three-dimensional lead characters match her evocative place descriptions. The killer’s motivation may be a little underdeveloped, but that doesn’t detract from a thoroughly entertaining effort that deserves many sequels.”
Publishers Weekly

“Like the best historical mystery authors, Rizzolo is scrupulously accurate and uses her setting as much more than window dressing. The class-conscious society of Regency London acts almost as a foil to the sleuthing efforts of Chase and Wolfe, who uncover a web of family secrets and political conspiracies that extends from sophisticated St. James’ Square to the wilds of Dorset, where Druid rituals may reveal the truth. A natural for fans of Stephanie Barron’s Jane Austen series.”
—Barbara Bibel for Booklist

“Reviewers of S.K. Rizzolo’s excellent first mystery, The Rose in the Wheel, about a young woman trying to keep herself and her baby daughter alive after being set adrift in the London social stew of the early 1800s, evoked such writers as Kate Ross and Laurie R. King as role models. I’d like to add Anne Perry to that list, especially because of the way she and Rizzolo have solved the “Upstairs Downstairs” problem by each creating a pair of characters who can move freely on all levels of an extremely stratified society.

With a range of suspects from Luddites to pro- and anti-Bonapartisans, Wolfe, Chase and especially Rizzolo (a high school teacher in Los Angeles) manage to keep their eyes on the ball with admirable restraint.”
—Dick Adler, Chicago Tribune