An upper-class Regency lady with a finely honed sense of social responsibility must solve a murder or find herself accused.
Miss Emmeline St. Germaine lives in London at the pleasure of her brother, who keeps his town house open to her as long as she behaves. Little does he know that his sister, secretly known as the Avengeress, works with a like-minded group of friends to rescue children who are being sexually exploited by their employers and, under the sobriquet of the Rogue, writes a scandalous gossip column for radical newspaper The Prattler. Emmeline’s latest escapade involves the rescue of a very young maid just as she’s about to be raped by her employer, Sir Henry Claybourne. Unfortunately, after Emmeline escapes with the child, Sir Henry is murdered, the family silver stolen, and the unknown Avengeress blamed by the press. Emmeline, keenly aware of the danger she faces in such a male-dominated culture, reluctantly decides that only solving the murder can protect her identity. With the help of her maid, her coachman, her friends, and the owner of The Prattler, she digs into Sir Henry’s background and learns more about how the unfortunate children are delivered into the hands of their rapists. Nor can she relax among the social circle of her uncle, wealthy jurist Sir Jacob Pauling, for it includes Dr. Giles Woodforde, who’s known Emmeline since childhood and is in love with her even though she doesn’t acknowledge his devotion or trust him with her dark secrets. Nevertheless, his medical knowledge proves helpful as she scours pitiful orphanages and elite drawing rooms in her search for the truth. Her shocking discoveries will change her life forever.
Hamilton, who writes everything from kitchen cozies (No Grater Danger, 2018, etc.) to Regency romances, combines aspects of both in a much grittier new series that explores the second-class status of women, which continues to this day.