Mesmerizing mystery in Regency-era London, featuring the lovers and private investigators of Slightly Shady (2001).
Lavinia Lake hopes to marry off her pretty niece Emeline, but her partner Tobias March is dismayed by the sheer number of young bucks attracted to the naive girl. Will he have to play the role of paterfamilias when he’s not even married to her aunt, the lovely and intelligent Lavinia? Perhaps—but a puzzling new case distracts them both. Dr. Howard Hudson, an old friend of Lavinia’s late father, has married a sexy little adventuress named Celeste. Tobias has his doubts about the couple, but Lavinia won’t listen to him. Like her, Dr. Hudson is a mesmerist, a profession she abandoned after a woman she once hypnotized drowned herself. (Only Lavinia knew that Jessica’s husband Oscar had beaten her savagely and repeatedly.) The plot thickens when a priceless bracelet disappears. Set with a cameo of the Medusa’s head, the bauble is reputed to have mysterious powers over men and women. Tobias suspects that Dr. Hudson and Celeste stole it when its owner was in a trance—and then Celeste is strangled by an unknown assailant. Eager to solve the mystery, Lavinia investigates, even employing mesmerism again in search for clues. When she meets Darfield, quack physician to wealthy females of nervous disposition, she barely escapes his orgasm inducer, a machine that saves him the bother of manually stimulating the women who flock to his offices. The killer’s identity comes as no surprise when a kindly prostitute recounts her sadistic treatment at his hands. Lavinia risks her life to confront the madman and learns of a very deep secret, a lifelong obsession—and something even worse, having to do with “Medusa.”
Delightful mix of mystery, sensuality, and the historical detail that makes Quick's Regencies such a pleasure.