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The Sans Pareil Mystery

(Detective Lavender Mysteries #2)

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  5,438 ratings  ·  266 reviews
On a cold February night in Regency London, a dark curtain falls on the Sans Pareil Theatre following the death of April Clare, a promising young actress, whose body is found in mysterious circumstances.

Detective Stephen Lavender and his dependable deputy, Constable Woods, quickly discover that nothing is quite as it seems. As successive mysteries unfold, they soon realise
Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 6th 2015 by Thomas & Mercer
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Average rating 4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,438 ratings  ·  266 reviews

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Start your review of The Sans Pareil Mystery (Detective Lavender Mysteries #2)
A good cozy that brings my mind back to Nancey Drew/Hardy Boys type mysteries but with an older detective. A fast moving plot and a great narration kept me entertained throughout.
Clemens Schoonderwoert
May 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This exciting mystery is the 2nd volume of "The Detective Lavender Mystery" series from the author, Karen Charlton.

Once again at the end of the book you'll notice an Author's Note, where the historical details concerning this mystery are wonderfully described and implemented within this marvellous tale by the author.

Story-telling from this author is of a superb quality, all characters, whether real historical or great fictional, come vividly to life within this mystery, the atmosphere and histor
I made 126 notes and highlights on this book in Kindle. That's either an excellent sign … or a really, really bad one. I sincerely wish I had paid more attention to the author's and main character's names before requesting this from Netgalley, because I read a free novella by Charlton featuring Detective Lavender some time ago. I loathed it. I didn't believe a word of it, and I never would have chosen another in the series; it was with a sinking feeling that I began to recognize all the things I ...more
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the first book in the series and when I saw the rest of the series on kindle daily deal, I was more than happy to buy the rest of the series to date. This one I actually preferred to the first one. Set in London, where I’ve always lived, I was fascinated by the Regency version of a bawdy neighbourhood, around Covent Garden and Theatre land.
I love learning history through historical fiction and in this book I learned more about how the Spanish were affected and treated during the Napole
Leni Iversen
I'm not going to read the rest of this series. The mysteries are just too easy to solve, there are no surprises. And while I rather like the characters, they are so anachronistic. I keep having to remind myself that the story is set in 1809 and not 1909. It's a shame, as the author has clearly put in a lot of research as to buildings and people and events, but she utterly fails capture the feel of the era. This is why I don't read much historical fiction, especially historical fiction set in the ...more
Aug 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Detective Lavender mysteries.
Bow Street Magistrates’ Court, London
Monday 19th February 1810. “Me Ma says send a constable! Quick! They’re murder in’ a woman at Raleigh Close ‘Art Street.” Detective Lavender noticing the fear on on the child’s face and knowing the area the child refers to as one of the worst in Regency London states that he will go. This is the beginning of Karen Charlton’s The Sans Pareil Mystery (Detective Lavender Mystery, #2). Having read the author’s Plague Pits & River Bones, I kept on reading, and thi
Apr 09, 2020 rated it liked it
I loved book 1 in this series! In this second book I enjoyed the mystery and detective part of the story. I enjoyed the setting of 1800s London, but this one didn't hold my attention as well as book 1. I don't really like the character of Magdalena for some reason. But I'm willing to try the next book and see how that goes! ...more
The Regency world in a parallel universe...

Regency London 1810: Bow Street detective Stephen Lavender and his colleague Constable Ned Woods are called to a derelict building about to be demolished. A neighbour insists there's a woman in the building, but when Lavender's men search it, they find no one. The demolition proceeds and when the wall falls down, the corpse of a beautiful young woman is revealed beneath the floorboards. It's not long until she is recognised as one of the actresses at th
Oct 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Received from Netgalley.

London; February 1810 and the body of a young actress is found in an abandoned building in the process of being demolished. The young woman, a baron’s daughter, worked at the Sans Pareil theatre, (now called the Adelphi) a theatre unusually run by a woman. That this theatre was (and still is) a real place and that it was run by a real historical figure, adds a nice little flavour of authenticity to this story. In fact I thought many of the historical details seemed very r
Kiesha ~ 1Cheekylass
Edit: Second time around was much better. I'll give it a 3.5/5

This one fell short for me... After book 1, I wanted to understand more of the romance between Lavender and Magdalena. The author gave us TOO much of them in book 2 but yet the romance doesn't seem genuine. It felt like I missed something from the start. Magdalena was heavily involved in this book which unfortunately took away from the mystery. The mystery wasn't that great either. I sure hope book 3 is better.

Story 2.5
Narration was
Jan 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, historical, england
The Sans Pareil Mystery is book two in the Detective Lavender Mysteries series by Karen Charlton. Detective Lavender caught a case of a young girl found in a condemned building in London. At first, this case was a mystery to Detective Lavender until he realises the young women was a twin, and everything started to fall into place. The readers of The Sans Pareil Mystery will continue to follow Detective Lavender and Constable Ned Wood.

The Sans Pareil Mystery is the third book I have read of Kare
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great female character building. Love the addition of real actresses.
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Started the series with this one, and looking forward to the rest! Some reviewers have disliked Lavender and Magdelena's romantic subplot, and while I'm not generally a fan of that, I found her an incredibly likeable character. Excellent audio narration adds to the enjoyment. ...more
Oct 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
The background to this novel is the Napoleonic wars abroad, the war for colonies and trade routes between France and England, and the world of theatre and culture at the beginning of the nineteenth century in London. It is populated with Spanish refugees like Dona Magdelena. In this story, we are thrust into the world of political intrigue and naval espionage.

It all begins with a discovery of a dead woman hidden under the floorboards of a building being demolished. It turns out that this woman
Cathy Cole
Sep 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This follow-up to the first Detective Lavender mystery, The Heiress of Linn Hagh, is set in an actual theatre of the time that was run by a woman. And speaking of women, Lavender's love interest, the beautiful Spanish Magdalena, plays a much more important role in this book-- both as lover and in having her share of the action. In that day attitudes towards Catholics generally were not at all sympathetic, especially the opinions of people in authority. If Lavender marries Magdalena, it could be ...more
Sep 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Detective Stephen Lavender and his trusty sidekick Constable Woods first appeared in The Heiress of Linn Hagh, which I also enjoyed. The novels are set in the Regency Period and in this one the Napoleonic War on the continent creates an environment in which treachery thrives.

A young woman is found dead in a derelict house, and Lavender must discover who she was and why she died.

A solid mystery in which the lovely Magdelena again appears. My favorite part was discovering that the Sans Pareil thea
Another great case for Lavender and Woods.

The second installment in the Detective Lavender series. This book was quite enjoyable, just as good as the first one. Love the core characters. Absolutely love the way historical events and places are woven into the story. This time Stephen and Ned must deal with the death of an actress who happens to be connected to the peerage and also is an identical twin. They along with Magdalena also get caught up in uncovering a French spy ring. Action, mystery a
May 24, 2018 rated it really liked it

The second in the Detective Lavender series, set in London in 1810, Lavender is the chief detective in the Bow Street Runners. The body of a young woman is found under the floor of a derelict house about to be demolished. She is identified by the pathologist who had seen her on stage at a local theatre.

Apart from the murder mystery, the story gives interesting insights into Regency London. The Napoleonic Wars are not going well and London is full of foreigners such as Spanish that have fled from
Sep 14, 2017 rated it liked it
The second book in the series, and I am still true to my first impression of the story.
The mystery is done well, and makes you anticipate the coming events, even if the "switched" part is a bit tropy. The process of investigation is exciting enough to keep attention, and the actual solution was not the thing, that was expected after few first chapters.
I do like the characters, the friendship between Lavander and Woods is priceless. Love-line is fine, does not takes too many attention, which is
Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
follow the mystery

too many different solutions that happened on their own. sure damsel in distress but treason? they are great mysteries. i did solve a few things early, but the pacing is excellent. still think it should lavender and woods mysteries.
Nadishka Aloysius
I figuered out which sister was dead and congratulated myself, only to realise that I was just half-way through the book!
It was also nice to see the development of the romance between Dona Magdalena and Lavender, as well as the Woods'family life. Characters make a story
Andrew Foulds
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Spanish Intrigue

This is the second novel in this series I have read and so far am enjoying it. It could move a little quicker I feel. I have enjoyed the setting as I am a big fan of Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe series. This book references that war with Napoleon and uses it as the backdrop for the plot. All in all an interesting and enjoyable read
Carol Evans
May 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
There were several good things about The Sans Pareil Mystery. I enjoyed learning about the theater in London in 1810 and it is interesting to note that both the San Pareil Theater and the woman running it did actually exist. The mystery itself was okay, although the clues were not necessarily as noticeable as the big flashing arrows saying "this is s bad guy." I like Lavender and Wood as a team, but Lavender seems older to me than young 30s, his attitudes and actions don't necessarily fit. Or ma ...more
Jean Gill
Oct 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Hang on to your carriage-straps and enjoy the ride!

What a cracking first chapter, misleading the reader nicely! If you enjoy a classic whodunit story and immersion in a previous time period, you’ll love the latest escapades of Detective Lavender and his sidekick Woods. Karen Charlton cleverly interweaves history with fiction, both the background of the theatre and the wider European stage of war. Lavender’s Spanish girlfriend is a focus for Spanish, French and English tensions, with many mysteri
Elizabeth Lloyd
Apr 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read this 19th century detective story without realising that it was the second investigation in Regency London for Detective Lavender and Constable Woods, but this was no handicap. Although Stephen Lavender is reserved, we slowly learn of his sad past, his new budding romance and his renowned detective abilities. Assisted by dependable Ned Woods, he is able to cut through the mystery to the dangerous underlying plot, while dealing with his tortuous private life.

The other main character, Donᾶ
Barbara Rogers
Sep 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Book two in the Lavender mystery series. Another great addition to the series.

"Me Ma says 'Send a Constable'! Quick! They're murdering a woman at Raleigh Close on 'Art Street." So begins the mystery. In the remains of a dilapidated building, they find the body of a beautiful young woman concealed beneath the floorboards. She's been dead for two or three days -- and -- her shoes don't fit. The young woman is soon identified as an actress from the local theater.

Lavender and Woods investigate and t
D.L. Kaiser
Aug 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fabulous Mystery!

I would heartily recommend this novel for all readers of period mystery! Excellent characters, most thoroughly researched, intertwine in an intelligent, well thought out plot. I appreciated the fact that this was not bogged down with mindless details excessive to the plot, or pointless sex scenes. If you are looking for a fun mystery romp through the early 1800's, this is it!
Dorothy Lamp
Oct 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
.The sans parcel mystery review

I really enjoyed the book . I loved the intelligent and independent Magdalena and her accomplishments during such a stifling time period for women I was glad detective lavender couldloveher for herself.
Nov 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
War. Refugees. Murder. But most of all, what Charlton has here is a number of strong, independent female characters in a time and place in which there is a price to pay for that. She portrays their strengths (some out of necessity), their sacrifices, and their struggles.
I really enjoyed the strength of Dona Magdalena. Great Read. Enjoy this book, it also has wonderful descriptive narratives ring

Love this. Felt like I was in the middle of the Naval Espionage of 1810. Really wonderfully crafted read. Read This
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Karen Charlton writes historical mystery and is also the author of a nonfiction genealogy book, 'Seeking Our Eagle.' She has published short stories and numerous articles and reviews in newspapers and magazines. An English graduate and ex-teacher,
Karen has led writing workshops and has spoken at a series of literary events across the North of England, where she lives. Karen now writes full-time an

Other books in the series

Detective Lavender Mysteries (6 books)
  • The Heiress of Linn Hagh (Detective Lavender Mysteries, #1)
  • The Sculthorpe Murder (Detective Lavender Mysteries #3)
  • Plague Pits & River Bones (Detective Lavender Mysteries #4)
  • Murder in Park Lane (Detective Lavender Mysteries #5)
  • The Willow Marsh Murder (The Detective Lavender Mysteries #6)

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Happy Women's History Month! One of the undisputedly good things about modern scholarship is that women’s history is finally getting its due....
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