A third Regency adventure for George "Beau" Brummell, a legend of the early 19th century (Life on a Silver Tray
, not reviewed, etc.). This time, Beau is a houseguest at Oatlands, country home of his adored Frederica, wife of the chronically unfaithful Duke of York. Beau is anxiously awaiting the arrival of his valet Robinson, who is bringing extensive additions to his wardrobe and, inadvertently, his blue velvet diary. In that diary is a letter from Frederica that Beau should have destroyed, a letter confessing her love for him—an invitation to blackmail in the wrong hands. On the road, Robinson's carriage is waylaid by highwaymen. When he finally arrives, the precious diary and letter are missing. Beau suspects Lord Kendrick, another houseguest, of involvement in a series of recent highway robberies, but before he can investigate further, Kendrick is found stabbed to death by one of Frederica's hair ornaments. Beau's stealthy search of the corpse fails to turn up the letter. No more successful are his further efforts back in London, where John Lavender of Bow Street is working to find Kendrick's killer and a letter burned to ash.
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