Lord John and the Private Matter is the latest novel by Diana Gabaldon, and set in the same world as her Outlander series. Lord John Grey is a secondary character in that series, and one of my favorites, so I was quite looking forward to this mystery, set off-stage during the Outlander series.
Unfortunately, this failed to live up to my expectations, for two reasons. First, I wasn’t impressed with it as a mystery. Obvious conclusions seemed not to be followed up, a key obfuscating detail appears to exist just to obfuscate, and overall I found it hard to follow and unengaging. Second, there’s very little development or growth of our protagonist—which I don’t think is an inevitable result of its interstitial nature, because there are hints at the end that some relationships might develop in the next book (apparently there are to be three). Here, John is worried and runs around trying to figure things out, and that’s about it. I really like his character when he appears in other books, but here, there just wasn’t enough tension on a personal level to draw me in.
Also, I know the title is appropriate on several levels, but I still don’t like it.
I hope my suspicions about the path of the second book are correct and we get a story about Lord John, not just a plot. This first one was rather a disappointment.