I received an ARC from the publishers through the PR company in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Genre: Historical Mystery
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: standalone


Book cover for THE LOST DIARY OF SAMUEL PEPYS: title in pink on greyscale portrait of Samuel Pepys

The diaries of Samuel Pepys have enthralled readers for centuries with their audacious wit, gripping detail, and racy assignations. Pepys stopped writing them at the age of 36… or did he?

It’s the summer of 1669 and England is in dire straits. The treasure’s coffers are bare and tensions with the powerful Dutch Republic are boiling over. An investigator sent by the King to look into corruption at the Royal Navy has just been brutally murdered.

Aided by his assistant, Will Hewer, Samuel Pepys is sent to investigate. he believes the plot to be the work of a Dutch spy. But has be got the right man? The truth may be more sinister. One wrong move and England could be thrown into a war that would have devastating consequences…

Blurb taken from review copy.


THE LOST DIARY OF SAMUEL PEPYS was such a fun read. It’s a historical mystery caper set in a time of unease about war and shifting attitudes to the king, and when the country’s urban worlds are beginning to shift from the medieval narrow, labyrinthine streets to broader ones and all the displacement that involved. (Yes, that was probably one of my favourite world details, the research needed to understand the difference between those two styles, particularly as intervening measures and WW2 means a fair bit of the Stuart construction has long since vanished.)

The mystery itself is extraordinarily complex – conspiracies within conspiracies, and a host of other people and crimes caught up among it. It’s a tangle that’s slowly teased apart (though the investigation reveals a lot more snarls before it does a straight bit of rope.) It makes for a highly entertaining read, engaging and hard to predict.

There are also phrases taken directly from Pepys’ diary. It’s obviously not the exact same voice – Pepys was writing a personal account not a narrative to engage others, so this book has much more dialogue and description, for example. However, there are some little phrases sprinkled in to help evoke his voice. “Up betimes and to breakfast” for example.

All sort of little details help built the world of the 1660s, both the rich and poorer sides as Pepys finds himself having to deal with both. The description of Pepys’ surgery is truly horrible to read. I am very glad modern medicine has come a long way since then!

While everything is nicely tied up at the end, there is space for more books – the ending sets up the premise for what might come next. I hope we do get another book as this was such a fun read.

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