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Lord John and the Private Matter by Diana…
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Lord John and the Private Matter (original 2003; edition 2005)

by Diana Gabaldon

Series: Lord John (1), Outlander (3.2)

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3,202663,149 (3.48)96
Lord John is in a difficult spot. His cousin Olivia is engaged to marry the Honorable Joseph Trevelyan, but he has just observed something of a rather personal nature that, if confirmed, might put an end to any talk of marital bliss. Determined to investigate further, Lord John is distracted when the Crown calls for his services. A comrade in arms has been slain, and to complicate matters, the victim may have been a traitor. Now Lord John has not one, but two puzzling mysteries to solve.… (more)
Member:roncito
Title:Lord John and the Private Matter
Authors:Diana Gabaldon
Info:Seal Books (2005), Mass Market Paperback, 464 pages
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Lord John and the Private Matter by Diana Gabaldon (2003)

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English (62)  French (2)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (66)
Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
Not entirely a success - this book is neither meaty, complex and id-pleasing (like Gabaldon's Outlander series) nor witty and smart (like a successful mystery novel), and ends up mediocre.

I think part of the problem here is that Gabaldon's strength is in the epic full of anguish, love, and sex, and this book has none of the first two, and the third is entirely off-stage. She's stuck in part due to the fact that Lord John Grey, the protagonist here, is a secondary character in the Outlander books, and thus has much of his story pre-determined. Nothing too exciting can happen to him here, because it would undermine or undo those books.

Another issue is that Gabaldon stumbles in her dealings with the queer subcultures of 18th century London. She raises interesting issues and introduces potentially interesting characters - and then drops them, with their stories unsettled.

Lord John Grey himself, a highlight of the Outlander books, seems pale and cold here, close to boring. The best scene was his interaction with a Scottish whore halfway through the book. I think without the English-Scottish culture clash, Gabaldon can't manage to write compelling character interplay.

It's not an awful book, but it was a disappointment. I guess if I want to see really interesting (and sexy) things happen to Lord John Grey, I'll have to rely on fanfiction. ( )
  elenaj | Jul 31, 2020 |
Lord John and the Private Matter is the first full-length novel in the Lord John Grey series. Diana Gabaldon has taken Lord John, one of her characters from the Outlander series, and given him his own set of adventures. In this one Sir John accidentally sees a sore on the "privy member" of Joseph Trevelyan, the man who is betrothed to his cousin. Certain that Trevelyan is poxed, and with his older brother away, it falls to John to investigate the matter further to figure out if what he saw was accurate, and if it is, to somehow find a way to put an end to the betrothal without harming his cousin's reputation. Then there's the matter of another officer who's been found murdered and is suspected of being a spy. Before long the two puzzles intersect with one another.

Lord John is covertly gay in a world where that is completely taboo. He remarks, "Loss of position and social ruination were the least of it; imprisonment, public whipping, and the pillory were likely.” For readers who might be worried about any gay sex scenes, have no fear, there is only one brief, alluded to encounter.

This book seems to get a lot of bad reviews but I enjoyed it very much. Maybe, because I'm not an avid reader of the Outlander series, I wasn't filled with disappointment that Jamie and Claire are only referenced. The writing was good and I'm a big fan of historical mysteries just like this one. I plan to eventually read the other two full length Lord John novels and possibly the short stories as well.


TBR 1155 ( )
  Olivermagnus | Jul 2, 2020 |
56 points/100 (3 stars/5).

Lord John Grey is on the case! Tasked with finding out who murdered a man, Lord John is also looking into whether the fiance of his cousin is Poxed and looking for a missing young man, as well.

Quite frankly, I have no idea who this book was written for. It wasn't for me. Perhaps she wrote it to Lord John? But, Lord John doesn't even feel like the person I came to know in Outlander. So once again I'm just left wondering why this was even written.

Mostly, this was just a historical detective novel, with a splash of LGBT thrown on top. And really, it wasn't all that interesting, either. The most interesting part of the story was how Lord John was going to go about trying to prove that the fiance did have Syphilis, only because it was really amusing. Gabaldon tried to make the murder of the army man interesting, but I really didn't find anything interesting about it, except that she tried to make it as complicated as possible behind the scenes.

The worst things about the plot, perhaps, was that everything is revealed in a single chapter at the end of the book and that they were all interconnected. It was 20 minutes of infodump about things we have already learned, as well as the true motives behind everything. This was perhaps the least interesting way to end this book I can think of. I didn't really care about any of the plot threads at this point, but what little interest I had in them died when they started becoming interwoven. There was no real need for them to have been connected at all, except that the author wanted them to be.

Perhaps most disappointing was the lack of romance or any real social ties. Lord John is alone in this book. The strongest part of Gabaldon's works are the relationships she weaves. This book really didn't have any of that, so it felt sort of lifeless. I came to really enjoy Lord John's presence in Outlander, but he doesn't even really seem like the same person here. There are hints of the person I came to enjoy, but that is it - hints. Perhaps there are only hints because most of the relationships I associate with him aren't actually established yet. Still, I was disappointed.

This was not the book for me. I like the character, I like Outlander. Not certain what this was trying to accomplish. I was bored pretty much the entire time, and while there was nothing overly bad about it, really, there just wasn't anything that kept me interested, either. ( )
  keikii | Jan 23, 2020 |
Lord John Grey has returned from his exile as the governor of Ardsmuir prison and is back in London, waiting to join his regiment on their next deployment. In the meantime, he's facing the unpleasant of having to interfere in his cousin, Olivia's engagement, as he's discovered her fiance may just have syphilis. He's also pulled into an investigation into the murder of one of the lower ranking members of his regiment who may just have been entangled in espionage.

Lord John Grey has always been one of my favourite characters in the Outlander series, so it was fun to dive into one of his many adventures that have been alluded to in the main series. Gabaldon's historical fiction writing chops are in evidence here as she evokes 18th century London with details large and small. It's interesting to spend time in the younger Lord John's head as he balances his public face with his personal desires. Enjoyable if you're fully embedded in all things Outlander. ( )
  MickyFine | Oct 17, 2019 |
I couldn't get past page 1 of Gabaldon's first Outlander book, but I loved this one from start to finish and read every book and novella in this series, until I got to the third and last one, which brings Lord John into the Outlanderland and I dropped it like it was on fire. ( )
  badube | Mar 6, 2019 |
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gabaldon, Dianaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lodewijk, AnnemarieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schnell, Barbarasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woodman, JeffNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Margaret Scott Gabaldon and Kay Fears Watkins,
my children's wonderful grandmothers
Voor Margret Scott Gabaldon en Kay Fears Watkins, de fantastische  grootmoeders van mijn kinderen
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It was the sort of thing one hopes momentarily that one has not really seen - because life would be so much more convenient if one hadn't.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Lord John is in a difficult spot. His cousin Olivia is engaged to marry the Honorable Joseph Trevelyan, but he has just observed something of a rather personal nature that, if confirmed, might put an end to any talk of marital bliss. Determined to investigate further, Lord John is distracted when the Crown calls for his services. A comrade in arms has been slain, and to complicate matters, the victim may have been a traitor. Now Lord John has not one, but two puzzling mysteries to solve.

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