Lindsey’s mother, Edith Crompton has high expectations for her daughters. Though they aren’t titled, they do have the money that will enable them to catch the eye of some of the higher ranked peers. Edith tried to match her oldest daughter, Portia last season but Portia had a different choice and married someone Edith considered lower than what she should have accepted. This season, Edith is pushing a match between Lindsey and Lord Wrayford, who is next in line for the title of Duke! Lindsey isn’t interested.
In fact, Lindsey doesn’t want to get married. She wants to seek out criminals like the Bow Street Runners. Getting married, especially to a peer would curtail her activities all together. And if she were going to marry, it wouldn’t be to Wrayford. The man never looks at her face but instead to her bosom. She’s positive that she can find proof that he would be a bad match and convince her father to stop her mother’s matchmaking. To this end, Lindsey is searching Wrayford’s library when she’s suppose to be at the ball at his house. She doesn’t expect to get caught, but when the Earl of Mansfield enters the room, she’s exposed.
The Earl of Mansfield, Thane Pallister is looking into the murders of housemaids. He’s offered his help to Bow Street and hopes to find the murderer before he claims another victim. He has his suspensions and plans on interviewing on of Wrayford’s maids. He doesn’t expect to find a young woman in the library nor did he expect to find himself attracted to her. His mind tells him to keep focused on the murder case but his heart is telling himself something different. Of course, showing up with a young pretty maid in tow doesn’t look good if you want to catch a young woman’s eye!
Lindsey learns about the murders of the housemaids and decides that she will find the murderer. She quickly learns that it’s not as easy as she thinks it will be with her mother pushing her into Wrayford’s company every time she turns around and when all the evidence she can figure out points to Mansfield, who she finds herself wanting to spend more time with. Could she be attracted to a murderer?
This is the second book in this series about the Crompton sisters but you do not need to read the first one to thoroughly enjoy this one. They are stand-alone books though Portia is mentioned in passing throughout this book.
The characters in this book are fun. Edith is a pushy social climbing mama who will let nothing and no one get in her way, including her daughter’s wishes. After all, she’s the mama and she knows best. Lindsey has read adventure books and stories about Bow Street Runners. She’s romanticized them and in her naivety thinks she can emulate them. She doesn’t plan on getting married, as any husband would stop her. Wrayford is a money grubbing womanizing man. He knows what he needs but he also knows what he wants and thinks he can have both if he plays his cards right. Thane, on the other hand, knows what his duty should be and what he’d like to do. If he can combine the two, great but if he can’t he’ll figure out a way to make everything work out. He shows the world one side of himself while keeping his true self hidden. Can he chance letting Lindsey know who he really is?
This book is a historical novel and the author does an excellent job portraying the time period. She weaves historical fact into the story effortlessly giving the reader a visualization of what that time period looked like. Girls weren’t expected to be able to know the news of the day but they were expected to speak French. Peers could almost push their way into helping the Bow Street Runners, even if they didn’t really have experience in that type of work. Physicians were positive that upper class women were much more delicate than their lower class counterparts. Yes, all of the typical historical elements are present giving this story a feel of authenticity.
I really liked this story. Lindsey’s bumbling attempts to find the murderer were amusing as was Thane’s growing attraction. Edith’s manipulations were perfect and Wrayford made an excellent bad guy. The searching out of who was murdering the maids was interesting and the culprit was not who I would have ever expected. All in all, this book was everything I would want a historical romance novel to be.
The wealthiest heiress of the season, Miss Lindsey Crompton finds detective work far more fascinating than social engagements--at least until she meets Thane Parker, the Earl of Mansfield. Thane is a paradox: a war hero and a cad, a wicked scoundrel and an indulgent guardian of his young ward. When Lindsey sneaks into his house to investigate his role in a series of murders, he blackmails her into a betrothal.
Thane has a secret life he keeps hidden from everyone, especially the infernally curious--and curiously alluring--Miss Crompton. Working with the Bow Street Runners, Thane is tracking a killer who may be one of Lindsey's suitors. Even if their engagement is a ruse, the heat between Thane and Lindsey is undeniably real. And with a murderer on the loose, desire has never been so dangerous...