A young lady left near penniless after the murder of her hated stepfather must find a way to support herself and her young sister. The usual occupations of women in her position (governess, paid companion) are unsuitable-both because they are unappealing and will not allow her to keep her sister by her side. Inspired by her mother’s disastrous second marriage, she starts a business that makes discreet inquires into the character of gentlemen offering for the hand of wealthy women so that they can make an informed choice whether or not to wed. When one of her clients is murdered she is determined to discover if the culprit was one of the suitors she was investigating. Little does she realise that her new man of business is investigating her on suspicion of the same murder. The two eventually team up and using an affair as cover embark on an investigation that leads them into a shady world of alchemy and malign hypnotic suggestion.
They uncover the murderer and thwart his evil schemes, falling in love along the way.
It has been quite some time since I last read any Amanda Quick and I’d almost forgotten how much I enjoy her writing. The historical setting is vivid, the heroine is strong and intelligent, the secondary plots complex. It all adds up to an easy and satisfying read.
I continue to enjoy her portrayal of heroines that are neither young, nor particularly beautiful, by the standards of the age. And I quite liked that this heroine was the only person who thought the hero attractive and interesting-she was obviously seeing him through the eyes of love right from the start.
Contradictory as it seems this is fluff with substance.-Lynn