Who was the anonymous damsel in distress who wrote the pleading letter streetwalker Sally Stokes inadvertently pinched from one of her three clients one evening? For that matter, which client's handkerchief contained the letter, and how can Regency dandy Julian Kestrel, the gentry-cove for whom Sally's brother Dipper works, identify the letter's author, its intended recipient, or the man who stole it? With his customary aplomb, Julian traces the author to oily Rev. Gideon Harcourt's Reclamation Society, but by the time Sally's ready to go undercover as a soul ripe for reclaiming, the still-unnamed author has been fatally poisoned, giving still another twist--and not the last--to the mystery. Not the equal of Julian's masterful debut in last year's Cut to the Quick--the coincidences are unbelievable, and the climax drags on intolerably--but it does prove that the sparkle of the earlier novel was no fluke, and makes you wonder if Julian might be the most likeable and accomplished historical detective since Brother Cadfael.