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SLIGHTLY SHADY by Amanda Quick


by Amanda Quick

Pub Date: April 10th, 2001
ISBN: 0-553-80188-0
Publisher: Bantam

Another winner from Quick (Wicked Widow, 2000, etc.), this one a Regency mystery.

Lavinia Lake thought it would be easy to launch her young niece Emeline into society. All she would need to do is bring the girl along on a pleasure trip to Italy and let her hobnob with people of quality, especially the fascinating Mrs. Underwood. Unfortunately, their traveling companion preferred orgies to tea parties and ran off with a count of doubtful lineage. Lavinia and Emeline ended up stranded in Rome, penniless—until Lavinia had another brilliant idea: open an antiquities shop selling classical bric-a-brac of even more doubtful lineage. Now, she's unaware that several notorious criminals are using her shop as a place to leave each other messages, but p.i. Tobias March knows all about it. Though convinced that the lovely Lavinia is innocent, he orders her to return to England and smashes up the shop in the process. Employed by a nobleman who prefers to remain anonymous, Tobias is on the trail of Azure, the mysterious leader of the criminal consortium known as the Blue Chamber. He never meant to put Lavinia at the mercy of a blackmailer or jeopardize her niece's chances of marriage, but his rash action does just that. Meanwhile, detection work intrigues Lavinia, who is as determined to launch Emeline as ever. So, she reinvents herself as an investigator and wangles a commission from the low-born but well-married Joan Dove, who has received a death threat in the form of a wax figurine in her likeness lying in a pool of blood. Lavinia and Tobias join forces to solve the case, moving through every circle of Regency London from glittering society balls to filthy brothels. A gallery of life-sized wax nudes posed in erotic tableaux provides the first clue in this ingenious and deftly plotted mystery rife with twists and turns.

Nobody does it better.