The fourth puzzle for real-life dandy Beau Brummel—clever, compassionate friend to the Prince of Wales in Regency England (The Bloodied Cravat, 2002, etc.)—begins in Watier’s, the London gambling club he owns. When young Lieutenant Nevill lost a fortune at play, the generous Brummel forgave the debt. Now Nevill’s in even hotter water. In response to his accusation that respected Home Office official Theobald Jacombe has cheated at cards, Jacombe has challenged him to a duel. The evening before the event is to take place, an unknown party makes it unnecessary by shooting Jacombe to death at Vauxhall Gardens, an entertainment complex, and Nevill is arrested for the killing. Beau, convinced of his innocence, works to uncover Jacombe’s deeply hidden unsavory past and its connection to Molly, Nevill’s beloved. While she’s waiting for Nevill to carry her off, Molly lives and works at Haven of Hope, a women’s shelter run by Beau’s close friend Lydia Lavender, whose policeman father is in charge of the case. Before it’s all over, Nevill’s nasty grandfather will become a second murder victim and Beau will draw a confession from a surprising killer.
Relaxed storytelling replete with clever plotting, vivid character portraits, and period detail.