The mistress of fast-paced Regency scandal and folderol returns after With This Ring (1998), offering a sequel in title only. Emma Greyson, let go from her first job for her outspoken opinions, is nearly raped at Ralston Manor on her second job by seducer Chilton Crone, and is again let go of her position as a paid lady’s companion. During her employment at Ralston, she’d disguised her red hair with a dark wig. Thus, when Crane sees her now, unwigged, at her new job as companion to Lady Mayfield at Ware Castle, where the brightest names in London society gather for a house party, she goes unrecognized. In evading Crane, though, she’s forced to hide in a wardrobe in Lady Miranda’s bedchamber. No sooner is Emma in the closet than a hand covers her mouth—foe Edison Stokes is also hidden there! Stokes, bastard son of a dead rakehell, is at Ware to find the lost Book of Secrets, a text full of occult recipes. (Readers hoping for a supernatural twist to a Regency outing will be disappointed: the Book of Secrets is largely a MacGuffin.) Since Emma and her younger sister Daphne are orphans, Emma must pay Daphne’s upkeep at a school in Devon. She has also unwisely invested money from the sale of her parents’ house. When Emma discovers Crane trying to rape the servant girl, she bops him over the skull with a bed-warmer, but this time she’s saved from exposure by Edison; later, Crane is murdered. Even so, she falls under suspicion as the culprit until Edison suggests that he and Emma were in bed together during the killing. She’s then hired by Edison, who needs her to test the book’s magical elixirs, and more . . . . Circles and circles within Polite Circles lead readers over familiar ground.