Lord John Grey, a minor character in Gabaldon’s wildly popular Outlander series, investigates a murder—and is forced back into a world he’d hoped to forget.
A casual glance at the Honorable Joseph Trevelyan’s privy member when both men relieve themselves reveals something that Grey would rather not see: a small chancre. Given that there is no cure for syphilis in 1757, and since Trevelyan is engaged to his cousin Olivia, Grey considers himself obliged to confirm—in secret—whether her fiancé is poxy. Like any other valuable commodity in the mercantile city of London, information has a price, and its purveyors come from all walks of life. Grey’s comrade-in-arms, Harry Quarry, a practical sort, tells him to make inquiries among the whores at Trevelyan’s favorite brothel before they commence their official assignment: investigating the mysterious death of a fellow soldier, who may have been a spy. A very young prostitute, whose rough Scots accent evokes Grey’s lingering (if unrequited) affection for Jamie Fraser, tells him that Trevelyan has been seen dressed as a woman, secretly entering the Lavender Club, where, after the death of his lover Hector, Grey once found some comfort in the arms of other men, though he was half-crazy with grief and drink. The plot thickens when a streetwalker is found viciously murdered, her face beaten to pulp. But she turns out to be a he—and Gabaldon takes readers for a walk on the wild side, offering an intriguing look into London’s gay underworld, from dark side streets to elegant clubs—and, briefly, to tender scenes of love, emotional and physical, between men. But her chief focus is on the deepening mystery surrounding Trevelyan, his mistress, his shadowy dealings, his sexual identity, and those who serve his complex desires.
A compelling and unique period mystery for the author’s legion of fans.