Prior to picking up this book, I had assumed it was a romance, with a mystery subplot. This is a novel where the mystery takes centre stage, which I had no problems with as the ever skilful Ms. Laurens made the identity, and the possible motive(s) so compelling that as a reader I was fully engaged in the hunt for the murderer. This book reminded me of Jayne Ann Krentz’s period novels but in a way that was distinctly Ms. Laurens.
For those who are familiar with previous related novels by this author, it features the recurring characters of aristocratic sleuth Barnaby Adair and Inspector Stokes of Scotland Yard and their wives, Penelope and Griselda. The romance and sex in this book is that of Barnaby and Adair with their aforementioned spouses, proving that there can be plenty of passion, post the I dos and parenthood.
This was a very enjoyable novel, which doesn’t feature much passion from the new characters Violet, the companion to the murdered Lady Halstead, and Heathcote Montague, the man of business who is engaged to provide answers about discrepancies in Lady Halstead’s accounts. Both Violet and Heathcote are very circumspect in their behaviour which I was quite miffed about.
Penelope, Griselda and Violet refuse to be left out of the investigation and of course using their unique feminine insights to come up with clues and lines of inquiry the men wouldn’t think of pursing themselves. I was actually surprised at how engrossing I found this book. As always Ms. Laurens gives the reader more than their monies worth.
#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens pulls back the curtain on a world that has been hidden from us . . . until now.
Montague has devoted his life to managing the wealth of London’s elite, but at a huge cost: a family of his own. Then the enticing Miss Violet Matcham seeks his help, and in the puzzle she presents him, he finds an intriguing new challenge professionally . . . and personally.
Violet, devoted lady-companion to the aging Lady Halstead, turns to Montague to reassure her ladyship that her affairs are in order. But the famous Montague is not at all what she’d expected—this man is compelling, decisive, supportive, and strong—everything Violet needs in a champion, a position to which Montague rapidly lays claim.
But then Lady Halstead is murdered and Violet and Montague, aided by Barnaby Adair, Inspector Stokes, Penelope, and Griselda, race to expose a cunning and cold-blooded killer who stalks closer and closer. Will Montague and Violet learn the shocking truth too late to seize their chance at enduring love?