Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Petty Treason: A Sarah Tolerance Mystery” as Want to Read:
Petty Treason: A Sarah Tolerance Mystery
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Petty Treason: A Sarah Tolerance Mystery (Sarah Tolerance #2)

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  591 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a Fallen Woman
of good family must, soon or late, descend to whoredom.

Miss Sarah Tolerance refuses to follow the path of the Fallen Women who have gone before her. She's a straight shooter, with her pistol as well as her wit, and her mind is as sharp as the blade of her sword.

Miss Tolerance is an Agent of Inquiry, a private invest
ebook, 320 pages
Published May 30th 2006 by Forge Books (first published 2004)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Petty Treason, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Petty Treason

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,004)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Dec 20, 2015 Werner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of historical mysteries, of Regency fiction, or of action heroines
This second volume of Robins' high-quality Sarah Tolerance series has much in common with the first book in style and literary strong points; and of course it shares a protagonist and other continuing characters (and an ethos) with its predecessor, and builds on the premise and events laid out there. While it could be read first and still be enjoyed, IMO the series should be read in order to fully understand the characters and relationships (and Sarah's unique situation), and appreciate their de ...more
Nov 02, 2015 Mei rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
It's been ages since I read a book without even a hint of romance! *blush*

This is one such book. But it was excellent even without any romance!

The heroine, Sarah, is a Fallen woman. We all know what "Fallen" means. But, she choose her path differently: instead of becaming a courtesan, or prostituite, a common "profession" of the fallen, she choose to became an investigator, or, Agent of Inquiry.

She's good at her profession. She's intelligent and observant and she knows what questions to ask to g
Brenda Clough
Jan 07, 2014 Brenda Clough rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
OMG, this is such a great series. The perfect confluence of Regency and detective fiction -- as if Georgette Heyer's secret identity were Agatha Christie. There's also a steady undertone of feminism in there, inherent in the setup. Our heroine Sarah Tolerance is a single woman with a career, in a era when such things are almost totally unheard of. Her adventures are marvelous, and the tone of these books is exact and perfect.
Katharine Kimbriel
Apr 27, 2011 Katharine Kimbriel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: alternative history fans, Regency Noir fans, mystery fans who don't care if the history is alternate
Recommended to Katharine by: Discovered the author's work on Book View Cafe
This is also an alternative world fantasy, for although it’s during the Regency period of England, it’s Queen Charlotte who is the Regent, not her eldest son – and her poor health leads to a lot of scheming, back stabbing and in-fighting amongst the princes for the role of the next regent.

Officially, our heroine, Sarah Tolerance, deals little with royals. She is a Fallen Woman (and in this history, that’s all most people care about her. She should go be a whore and get out of the sight of decen
Petty Treason is the second book (following Point of Honour) in Madeleine E. Robins's delightful series of alternate history Regency detective novels featuring Miss Sarah Tolerance, a Fallen Woman who has become an agent of inquiry (read: private investigator) rather than follow the usual path to prostitution. In Petty Treason, she's hired to look into the death of the Chevalier d'Aubigny, a French émigré beaten to death in bed; along the way, the mystery develops implications that touch the Roy ...more
Sherwood Smith
Aug 04, 2011 Sherwood Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, alt-history
My theory is that this novel about a fallen woman of the Regency era becoming a detective came out too early. The time for it is now, and I hope it will soon appear in ebook form.

Robins opens with a little discursion into manners: the fact that a lady is bound by so many invisible, but quite binding, rules. That a gentleman is not bound by the same rules, and that a gentleman may become a Rake, the implication being that any man but a gentleman, by indulging in the same vices, is nothing short o
PETTY TREASON (Hist. Mys-Sarah Tolerance-England-1810/Georgian) - VG
Robins, Madeleine E. – 2nd in series
Forge, 2004, US Hardcover – ISBN: 0765304007

First Sentence: It is one thing, and a quite considerable thing, to be a lady.

Private Inquiry Agency Ms, Sarah Tolerance, has been hired by a man to prove his sister innocent of murdering her husband. The victim, Chevalier D’Aubigny, was a man of unpleasant appetites but, in spite of Bow Street’s claims, she does not believe the young widow capable o
Laura (Kyahgirl)
4/5; 4 stars; A-

I really enjoyed this book. I've been dragging my feet on finishing it and reviewing for the lamest reason....I have had to get the next one through inter library loan and I don't want to have to wait too long from one to the next. I really enjoy looking at the world through the eyes of Sarah Tolerance. Madeleine Robins has taken a few liberties with history so the world for the purposes of the story but it still feels like Regency era England.

My admiration for the character, Sa
3 1/4 stars

Not as good as the first book in this series.

Some seriously cool action adventure and fencing/ combat sequences - very well described.

Not to get all girlie, but this book desperately needed more of the schmultzy, gooey, emotional stuff - and well characterization - which is not necessarily a girlie thing. This is a book marketed toward women right? Women - well this woman at least - want to know all of these character, emotional life, back story kinds of things. I wanted to know more
Jan 18, 2009 Aarti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The second (sadly, of only two) book in the Sarah Tolerance mystery series set in an alternate Regency period of British history. Miss Sarah Tolerance is a Fallen Woman living in Regency London, making her living by doing private and discreet investigations for the well-to-do. She is approached by a Mr. Colcannon to investigate the violent death of his brother-in-law, the Chevalier d'Aubigny, who was found bludgeoned to death in his own bed. As Miss Tolerance soon discovers, there are more peopl ...more
I liked this. The mystery was a little too intricate for my taste, but Robins did a good job of describing the English criminal justice system of the Regency period. I was intrigued by the status of a wife (Offences of Petty Treason included the killing of a husband by a wife.), how crimes were investigated by magistrates, how witnesses and suspects were treated etc. And all this information was conveyed by strongly drawn characters, from the highest to the lowest ranks of Regency society. Miss ...more
Jeremy Preacher
May 13, 2015 Jeremy Preacher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, historical
Petty Treason is even better than Point of Honour, I think. The central mystery is nicely twisty, with plenty of interesting characters and complicated motivations. Miss Tolerance herself remains a delight, and while she gets into somewhat fewer brawls than in the first book, they still retain their convincing realism.

One of the striking aspects of the book is its treatment of the shocking (by modern American standards) legal system and its complete lack of any sort of assumption of innocence or
Jeffrey Grant
Feb 06, 2015 Jeffrey Grant rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good writing never gets old and doesn't necessarily need a quantum shift in storytelling every time.

This story has Sarah Tolerance investigating the murder of a french immigrant who married into a somewhat wealthy English family. As she investigates, she uncovers the murdered man's more unsavory habits and the wide and secretive extent of his associates.

The general feeling hasn't changed in this story, just the particulars of the case. However, the progress of the case is different in this cas
Jess Manners
May 03, 2014 Jess Manners rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a big believer in the idea that you can judge a book by its cover, and the cover of Petty Treason looks really cheesy. Like, it screams "bodice ripper," despite the fact that no bodices are actually ripped (it's implied that some are tugged at off screen, as it were). Still, this book (and its predecessor, which I read years ago and can't really remember) combines two things I have an inordinate amount of interest in: murder mysteries and 19th century England. Also, more and more I think tha ...more
Jul 15, 2007 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i found out about this book after attending a 'writers with drinks' event up in san francisco, where the author read from the first chapter. i was laughing so hard, enjoying the play with gender roles, history and language that i bought the book immediately after -- from ms. robins!

the book as a whole: more of the same. =) a good mystery, kept my attention, and witty along the way. a fun, fast read.
Heather Rose
Madeleine E. Robbins' book Petty Treason is the second book in a mystery series set in Regency England, but about as far from a "Regency novel" as you could imagine. The protagonist is a "fallen woman" -- and, I might note, takes every opportunity to make sure people know of her status and to agonize about it to the reader -- who has turned herself into a sort of private investigator, with the assistance of a handful of very conveniently placed powerful friends (who, of course, couldn't invite h ...more
Sep 20, 2008 Mkotch rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this series and yearn for more. Georgette Heyer has always been my favorite author, and Robins' mysteries bring back memories of those favorites.
This was really great - liked it even more than the first.

Want the unpublished Sarah Tolerance books!
May 24, 2016 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016booksread
This is a perfectly enjoyable Regency era mystery, with a strong female protagonist who is maybe just a little too good at everything. I like the look at brothels and non-judgmental portrayal of sex workers. I enjoyed it quite a bit in the middle, but towards the end I felt let down. There's just something not there that keeps this from being among my favorites. But if period mysteries are your thing, like me, you're probably always looking for more and this is recommended. (It's also the second ...more
I really enjoy this series. Sarah Tolerance is a terrific, sympathetic and interesting character, and the author gives her plenty of exciting adventures to take the reader along on as she experiences them!

Sarah is just coming down from her adventures from the first book in the series when this one starts. She is asked to look into the murder of an aristocrat, who has secrets that may implicate innocents around him.

As before, Sarah's refusal to fit into any of the accepted roles society deems her
This was another good one, following close on the heels of the first in the series. Once you have the hang of the style, though, it may be easy to pick out the guilty, but perhaps that only adds to the enjoyment: to think yourself just a little bit smarter than the heroine. I heartily approve of the solution and Sarah Tolerance's actions (within the constraints of the time period). At least this time there was no worry about the book turning into an icky romance. Tolerance's relationship with th ...more
Lori McD
3.5-4+ stars

These books are difficult for me to rate, because while they're well-written, they're gritty and harsh - not at all what one might expect from a Regency novel. They remind me a bit of Jennifer Ashley's Captain Lacey mysteries - they expose the underbelly of London Society. What happens to gently bred ladies who are compromised or otherwise ruin their reputation? Regency romance novels would have us believe that the Rake always ends up on love with the Lady and marries her. But that's
I don't really understand why ITV hasn't snapped up the rights to these books against some future date when they're low on Downton Abbey and Lewis scripts. It's true, Sarah Tolerance works basically on her own - she's more a noir detective than a procedural heroine - so a great deal of the book is just her, um, thinking stuff over rather than talking it over with Laurence Fox or whatever, so that's maybe a strike against the cinematic qualities of the books, but certainly more internal novels ha ...more
Continues to be a well written and compelling, perhaps slightly romanticized but never idealized portrait of Regency England. The relationship in Point of Honour which I wished to see further developed was.

In the prior book, I felt that one of Robins' themes was the situation and status of homosexuals within Regency England: in this sequel, the theme appears to be the state of justice at that period, and particularly the options available to women within the judicial system (Hint: not awesome.)

Aug 27, 2011 Lorena rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As with the first book, I find the author's choice to make the history of this Regency novel ever so very slightly out of step with the actual history of the Regency period perplexing. Robins is certainly not lacking in imagination or writing skill, as evidenced by her characterizations and most of the plotting, which just makes the very slight effort put into (and payoff from) the historical changes seem more like just inaccuracies. I enjoy alternate history and fantasy both, not to mention Reg ...more
Apr 11, 2011 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not 100% sure I would have given this book four stars if I had not been curled up on a couch with a spring cold and looking for a pleasant distraction. But those were the circumstances, and this was the book. And,it was a wonderful companion for a dull day.

The heroine's far-fetched profession (fallen woman in Regency London turned P.I)and non-stop adventures (murder and espionage) are complemented by her very refined code of honor. This all adds up to a most improbable story and a very sati
Dec 18, 2011 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, historical
I checked both this book, and the first book in the series out from the library. Having read both over the weekend, and really enjoying them, I have purchased both books (thank you!) to add to my permanent home library.

This book was every bit as enjoyable as the first. The second in this alternate history Regency Era series finds Miss Sarah Tolerance hired by a man to find out who murdered his brother-in-law (beaten to death in his own bed!). The victim was not a very pleasa
Apr 27, 2012 Lucy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sequel to Point of Honour, Petty Treason continues the adventures of enquiry agent Sarah Tolerance, a Fallen Woman who has taken up this profession in preference to the usual fate of prostitution. Asked to investigate the death of a French émigré, Sarah finds connections to several different strata of English society, as well as a widow who had been a most unhappy wife.
As usual in this alternate version of the early 19th century, there is a connection to royalty as well, with references to the P
Katharine Kerr
Sep 10, 2011 Katharine Kerr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book, which is even smoother and more engrossing than POINT OF HONOR. Often an author's first book in a new series still has some rough edges -- true of POH -- but they've been smoothed away in this second Sarah Tolerance book. The characters are engrossing, and the mystery is both plausible and mysterious. I did have my suspicions about the identity of the murderer, and I was proved right at the very end, but it took till the very end!

Robins has done her homework for her a
The first book in this series grabbed my attention because of the alternate history element. The mystery was fine, but I was more interested in the world-building that took place. With this second book, though there is a deeper exploration of relationship between two of the main characters, there is relatively little that is new in terms of alternate history. The mystery itself was well rounded, but again, I was looking for more exploration of this other England. The stories of both books remind ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 33 34 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • A Broken Vessel (Julian Kestrel Mysteries, #2)
  • Why Mermaids Sing (Sebastian St. Cyr, #3)
  • The Sudbury School Murders (Captain Lacey, #4)
  • What Ho, Automaton! (Reeves & Worcester Steampunk Mysteries Book, #1)
  • Bonfire Night (Lady Julia Grey, #5.7)
  • A Fatal Waltz (Lady Emily, #3)
  • Vienna Waltz (Rannoch/Fraser Publication Order, #4)
  • The Poisoned Serpent (Medieval Mystery, #2)
  • The Wandering Arm (Catherine LeVendeur, #3)
  • Queen's Ransom (Ursula Blanchard, #3)
Writing gives Madeleine Robins the chance to focus on many of her ruling passions: cities, history, swordplay, the history of disease, and the future of mankind–with a side order of historical costuming and infrastructure (urban plumbing is far more interesting than you’d think).

Born in New York City, the Author has been, in no particular order, a nanny, a teacher, an actor and stage-combatant, an
More about Madeleine E. Robins...

Other Books in the Series

Sarah Tolerance (3 books)
  • Point of Honour (Sarah Tolerance, #1)
  • The Sleeping Partner (Sarah Tolerance, #3)

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »