First Line Friday — The Barrister And The Letter of Marque

20 Aug

Happy Friday — it’s been a soggy and muggy week with Fred’s journey through the usually sunny South. But I am looking forward to some better conditions as I travel to my cabin in the mountains. Hopefully a lot of reading is on the horizon too!

This week I am featuring The Barrister And The Letter of Marque by Todd M. Johnson. I have loved his contemporary suspense, and this Regency-era mystery is up my alley too. Here’s the first line —

Early evening shadows blanketed the study lit only by desk candles and a sputtering fire in the hearth.

As a barrister in 1818 London, William Snopes has witnessed firsthand the danger of only the wealthy having their voices heard, and he’s a strong advocate who defends the poorer classes against the powerful. That changes the day a struggling heiress, Lady Madeleine Jameson, arrives at his door.

In a last-ditch effort to save her faltering estate, Lady Jameson invested in a merchant brig, the Padget. The ship was granted a rare privilege by the king’s regent: a Letter of Marque authorizing the captain to seize the cargo of French traders operating illegally in the Indian Sea. Yet when the Padget returns to London, her crew is met by soldiers ready to take possession of their goods and arrest the captain for piracy. And the Letter—the sole proof his actions were legal—has mysteriously vanished.

Moved by the lady’s distress, intrigued by the Letter, and goaded by an opposing solicitor, Snopes takes the case. But as he delves deeper into the mystery, he learns that the forces arrayed against Lady Jameson, and now himself, are even more perilous than he’d imagined.

Todd M. Johnson is the author of three legal thrillers: The Deposit Slip (2012), Critical Reaction(2013), and Fatal Trust (2017), and The Barrister and the Letter of Marque (2021), his first foray into historical mystery. He has been a practicing attorney for over 30 years, specializing as a trial lawyer. A graduate of Princeton University and the University of Minnesota Law School, he also taught for two years as adjunct professor of International Law and served as a US diplomat in Hong Kong. He lives outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife and daughter.


3 Responses to “First Line Friday — The Barrister And The Letter of Marque”

  1. Cindy Davis August 20, 2021 at 11:00 am #

    I am seeing a lot of interest in this book! I hope you enjoy it 🙂 My link is here:

  2. Paula Shreckhise August 20, 2021 at 1:37 pm #

    Finished this one a few days ago! Very intriguing! Sherlock meets Rumpole!

    My first line comes from Crossed Lines by Jennifer Delamere:
    London, England. June 1881

    Mitchell B. Harris, better known to readers of the Era as Our London Correspondent, leaned casually on the desk of John Munson, toying with his cane while Munson chuckled over what he was reading.

  3. Carla August 20, 2021 at 6:55 pm #

    Between that first line and that cover, I am definitely intrigued.

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