A lady with a secret to hide and a gentleman reputed to be mad make a dandy investigative team.
Ursula Kern changed her name after a scandal in her past and now runs a successful secretarial service in Victorian London. When her best worker, Anne Clifton, is found dead, she refuses to believe the vivacious Anne would kill herself, as the police surmise, and decides to investigate. Ursula had been doing secretarial work for the notorious Slater Roxton, who isn't happy to be shunted aside with little explanation. Roxton is an archaeologist who gained fame when he was accidentally buried in a tomb and left for dead on an island. He escaped, spent a year with a small community seeking enlightenment, and returned to London to manage the affairs of his father’s second wife and children. Refusing, for his own reasons, to be ignored, he insists on helping Ursula determine the truth about Anne's death. Their quest leads to a wealthy nobleman with an unhappy wife who has a knack for cultivating difficult plants—plants that are being used to create a hallucinogenic drug being offered to those who can afford it at a private club that also provides high-class prostitutes. Ursula’s own secret may be exposed by a muckraking journalist until Roxton comes to her rescue, and he continues to anticipate the troubles she encounters as she puts herself in in harm's way trying to find a dangerous killer. Her partnership with Roxton puts her in more personal danger as they pursue a passionate affair that could break her heart.
Quick’s fans will not be disappointed in her latest combination of detective story and sexy romance (Otherwise Engaged, 2014, etc.), a pleasing page-turner.