Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Petty Treason (Sarah Tolerance, #2)” as Want to Read:
Petty Treason (Sarah Tolerance, #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Petty Treason

(Sarah Tolerance #2)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  761 ratings  ·  75 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
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 30th 2006 by Tor 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

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  761 ratings  ·  75 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Mar 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Jacob Proffitt
May 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
This is second in a series and the first is very present, here. I highly recommend reading them in order. Which has the added benefit that you'll know what to expect with this one.

I liked this mystery about as much as the first. It's a little actiony and Sarah finds more from sheer dogged determination than Holmesian genius, but that's not really a bad thing. I felt like it bogged down a bit in the middle with lots of meandering and distasteful people and an undercurrent of BDSM wasn't helping,
Oct 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Sherwood Smith
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
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
Katharine Kimbriel
Apr 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 (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
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
Brenda Clough
Dec 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was really great - liked it even more than the first.

Want the unpublished Sarah Tolerance books!
Jan 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
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
Heather Jones
Jan 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Jun 01, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Jul 07, 2007 rated it really liked it
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.
Sep 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
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
Most of all I liked the finale as I was shipping Sarah with Mandiff from the first book and was glad to see their relationship developed here.
As in first part there is a lot of time spent in one brothel or the other. Most of the inquiries are made in them or pubs but those are few and in between. It looks like author is fascinated with that world for some reason which is not wrong of course but it would be nice to see some variety. Even Salon of that French woman is used to form attachments and
Kathy Randol
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great read! A page turner. I couldn’t get enough! Does anyone know if this series will continue? It would be a shame if it didn’t.
Is there a way I could find out? Would I write the author?
If anyone knows the answers to my questions I would appreciate it if you would contact me. or via Goodreads.

My advice is to read the 5 Star reviews. You’ll not be disappointed with this series!
Mar 16, 2018 rated it liked it
I didn't like this book as much as the first book in the series. The first half dragged and then the story picked up in the second half. As in the first book, I found the author's constant reference to the main character as "Miss Tolerance" (rather than "Sarah") to be very annoying.
May 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, historical
Another enjoyable book in this series.
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
These are pretty great. I am sad that #3 is not available as an ebook as I will need to acquire it at some point.
Sep 27, 2018 rated it liked it

A well written mystery with Miss Sarah. Only problem, a little slow and wordy and I had the dang thing figured out early ....
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
This is the first of Robins' works which I've read, and I found it an intelligent and enjoyable read. Even from the beginning, the writing and story-telling styles felt like a combination of Jane Austen and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Upon finishing the book, I am thankful to say that the conclusion did not disappoint! And bravo for a work of Regency historical fiction which is NOT a romance!
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
Jess Manners
May 03, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
Jeffrey Grant
Feb 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 27, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Oct 10, 2011 rated it liked it
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
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • A Broken Vessel (Julian Kestrel Mysteries, #2)
  • Where Serpents Sleep (Sebastian St. Cyr, #4)
  • What Ho, Automaton! (Reeves & Worcester Steampunk Mysteries Book, #1)
  • The Sudbury School Murders (Captain Lacey, #4)
  • The Poisoned Serpent (Medieval Mystery, #2)
  • A Fatal Waltz (Lady Emily, #3)
  • The Wandering Arm (Catherine LeVendeur, #3)
  • A Gentleman of Fortune (A Dido Kent Mystery #2)
  • Historical Whodunits
See similar books…
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

Other books in the series

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