Slightly Shady [NOOK Book]

Overview

Amanda Quick's bestselling trademark is a combination of suspense and passion in historical tales alight with sparkling wit and brimming with dangerous intrigue. Now she serves up the most tantalizing novel of her career as an enterprising woman allies herself with a mysterious spy, only to be caught in a seething brew of treachery — and temptation....

From the moment he burst into her antiquities shop in Rome, Lavinia Lake knew the stranger ...
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Slightly Shady

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Overview

Amanda Quick's bestselling trademark is a combination of suspense and passion in historical tales alight with sparkling wit and brimming with dangerous intrigue. Now she serves up the most tantalizing novel of her career as an enterprising woman allies herself with a mysterious spy, only to be caught in a seething brew of treachery — and temptation....

From the moment he burst into her antiquities shop in Rome, Lavinia Lake knew the stranger was nothing but trouble. He said he was in pursuit of a killer. He swore he was only trying to save her. Yet no matter what he claimed, Lavinia was convinced that Mr. Tobias March was bent instead on destroying her. And when the self-described spy hustled her and her niece out of the shop and back to England, Lavinia could only hope that one day she would would find a way to repay Mr. March in full.

But Lavinia never imagined the shocking circumstances under which they would meet again ... or that soon he would become more deadly — and more compelling — with each passing day.

In the business of making private inquiries, Tobias March had been hired to trade down a powerful villain who even now was intent on assuming control of a vast criminal organization. Yet in his search he had found nothing but one dead end — and one dead body — after another.

And then, just as his investigation was heating up once more, he found his mission and his life complicated by the most ungovernable, unpredictable, exasperating woman he had ever met.

Faced with a tangled web of deceit and danger, Tobias had no choice but to form a partnership with Lavinia, a lady whose past could only be described as slightly shady. Yet when he persuaded her to become his associate, neither Tobias nor Lavinia realized that their heated disputes would spark a sizzling desire — or that the deeper they kept digging for the truth, the deeper they were digging their own graves....

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
After her 15th consecutive New York Times bestseller, USA Today called Amanda Quick (an alias for Jayne Ann Krentz) "one of the hottest...writers in romance today." In Slightly Shady, Quick tells the story of Lavinia Lake, an Englishwoman who returns to England after her antiques shop in Rome is destroyed by a stranger who claims to be on the trail of criminals. Upon her arrival, Lavinia becomes the target of a blackmailer, who turns up dead when she attempts to meet him. Waiting for her at the scene is the man who destroyed her shop, a P.I. named Tobias March. In her desperate quest to find the source of the intrigue surrounding her, Lake is forced to team up with the mysterious March, only to fall passionately in love with him.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Spirited heroines and sardonic heroes populate this sexy Regency-era thriller by the ever reliable Quick, alter ego of Jayne Ann Krentz. This time out, Quick offers the parry and thrust of danger and romance, as embodied in resourceful Lavinia Lake and roguish Tobias March. Lavinia first encounters Tobias when he bursts into her antiques shop in Rome, trashing her wares, all the while claiming to be on the trail of a murderer and warning Lavinia that she is in danger. There's also talk of treason, a criminal organization known as the Blue Chamber and an evil mastermind named Azure. Despite her skepticism, Lavinia returns with her niece, Emeline, to London, where she is caught up in more intrigue. She sets herself up as a private detective and even though stubbornness on both sides leads to an oil-and-water pairing, she soon finds herself in business with Tobias, attempting to foil a blackmail scheme, locate the culprit in a series of murders and identify the surviving member of Azure's organization. Arch humor and the expert removal of bodices are Quick's stock in trade, and the old formula still works splendidly. As usual, the novel's outcome is visible a mile off, but familiarity, after all, is golden in literary franchise land. Major ad/promo. (Apr. 10) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
In Quick's latest Regency, Lavinia must team up with a private investigator to save herself from scandal--and ends up falling in love. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Another humorous, romantic mystery of Regency England. To save herself and her niece from embarrassment and financial ruin, Lavinia becomes a discreet, but paid, sleuth to determine who is blackmailing her client-and her. Unhappily, she is compelled to join forces with Tobias, a professional investigator chasing a wicked villain who leaves bodies behind for the pair to discover. In typical Quick style, after much repartee they become partners in more ways than one. This easy read is sure to please the author's fans.-Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From The Critics
After being stranded with her niece in Rome by her employer, Lavinia Lake opens up an antique shop. However, private investigator Tobias March destroys her merchandise and tells Lavinia to return to London or else. He says nasty villains have used her shop to pass messages. He explains that a criminal named Carlisle killed Bernard Ruckland and will murder again if necessary.In London, Lavinia visits Holton Felix, an odious person trying to blackmail her. Instead of a confrontation, Lavinia finds Holton dead. Tobias enters the room a few minutes later. They search for a missing diary with incriminating evidence of treason and other crimes, but fail to find it. Thus starts the teaming of the reluctant professional detective Tobias with obstinate amateur sleuth Lavinia. Although each one insists to a beloved relative that they find the other despicable, they begin to fall in love. However, Tobias' investigation is dangerous and Lavinia has a tendency to place them in deadly situations. New York Times best-selling author Amanda Quick furnishes her myriad of fans with an exciting non-stop historical romantic mystery with numerous twists and turns. The story line equally provides justice to the romance and the sleuthing, which, in turn, both historical sub-genre audiences will relish the tale. The lead characters are a fun pair either squabbling or loving while the secondary "good guys" enhance understanding of them. Hopefully, the writer will quickly return with more stories from this dynamic detective duo.
Kirkus Reviews
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 galleryoflife-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.
From the Publisher
“Quick has spun a tense and romantic tale in thecrumpets-and-strumpets milieu of Regency England, and her pacing is impeccable....Bottom line: sexy and suspenseful.”
–People

“If you start an Amanda Quick book in the late afternoon, you’ll probably spend the night with it.”
The Denver Post

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307418333
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/18/2007
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 35,858
  • File size: 563 KB

Meet the Author

Amanda Quick, a pseudonym for Jayne Ann Krentz, is a bestselling, award-winning author of contemporary and historical romances. There are over twenty-five million copies of her books in print, including Seduction, Surrender, Scandal, Rendezvous, Ravished, Reckless, Dangerous, Deception, Desire, Mistrss, Mystique, Mischief, Affair, With This Ring, I Thee Wed, and Wicked Widow. She makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, Frank.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Read an Excerpt

Prologue

The intruder's eyes blazed with a cold fire. He raised a powerful hand and swept another row of vases off the shelf. The fragile objects crashed to the floor and shattered into a hundred shards. He moved on to a display of small statues.

"I advise you to make haste with your packing, Mrs. Lake," he said as he turned his violent attention to a host of fragile clay Pans, Aphrodites, and satyrs. "The carriage will leave in fifteen minutes, and I promise you that you and your niece will be aboard, with or without your luggage."

Lavinia watched him from the foot of the stairs, helpless to stop the destruction of her wares. "You have no right to do this. You are ruining me."

"On the contrary, madam. I am saving your neck." He used a booted foot to topple a large urn decorated in the Etruscan manner. "Not that I expect any thanks, mind you."

Lavinia winced as the urn exploded on impact with the floor. She knew now that it was pointless to berate the lunatic. He was intent on destroying the shop and she lacked the means to stop him. She had been taught early in life to recognize the signs that indicated it was time to stage a tactical retreat. But she had never learned to tolerate such annoying reversals of fortune with equanimity.

"If we were in England, I would have you arrested, Mr. March."

"Ah, but we are not in England, are we, Mrs. Lake?" Tobias March seized a life-size stone centurion by the shield and shoved it forward. The Roman fell on his sword. "We are in Italy and you have no choice but to do as I command."

It was useless to stand her ground. Every moment spent down here attempting to reason with Tobias March was time lost that should be spent packing. But the unfortunate tendency toward stubbornness that was so much a part of her nature could not abide the notion of surrendering the field of battle without a struggle.

"Bastard," she said through her teeth.

"Not in the legal sense." He slammed another row of red clay vases to the floor. "But I believe I comprehend what you wish to imply."

"It is obvious that you are no gentleman, Tobias March."

"I will not quarrel with you on that point." He kicked over a waist-high statue of a naked Venus. "But then, you are no lady, are you?"

She cringed when the statue crumbled. The naked Venuses had proved quite popular with her clientele.

"How dare you? Just because my niece and I got stranded here in Rome and were obliged to go into trade for a few months in order to support ourselves is no reason to insult us."

"Enough." He whirled around to face her. In the lantern light, his forbidding face was colder than the features of any stone statue. "Be grateful that I have concluded that you were merely an unwitting dupe of the criminal I am pursuing and not a member of his gang of thieves and murderers."

"I have only your word that the villains were using my shop as a place to exchange their messages. Frankly, Mr. March, given your rude behavior, I am not inclined to believe a single thing you say."

He pulled a folded sheet of paper from his pocket. "Do you deny that this note was hidden in one of your vases?"

She glanced at the damning note. Only moments ago she had watched in stunned amazement while he shattered a lovely Greek vase. A message that looked remarkably like a villain's report to his criminal employer had been tucked inside. Something about a bargain with pirates having been successfully struck.

Lavinia raised her chin. "It is certainly not my fault that one of my patrons dropped a personal note into that vase."

"Not just one patron, Mrs. Lake. The villains have been using your shop for some weeks now."

"And just how would you know that, sir?"

"I have watched these premises and your personal movements for nearly a month."

She widened her eyes, genuinely shocked by the infuriatingly casual admission.

"You have spent the past month spying on me?"

"At the start of my observations, I assumed that you were an active participant in Carlisle's ring here in Rome. It was only after much study that I have concluded you probably did not know what some of your so-called customers were about."

"That is outrageous."

He gave her a look of mocking inquiry. "Are you saying you did know what they were up to when they came and went in such a regular fashion?"

"I am saying no such thing." She could hear her voice climbing but there was little she could do about it. She had never been so angry or so frightened in her life. "I believed them to be honest patrons of antiquities."

"Did you indeed?" Tobias glanced at a collection of cloudy green glass jars that stood in a neat row on a high shelf. His smile was devoid of all warmth. "And how honest are you, Mrs. Lake?"

She stiffened. "What are you implying, sir?"

"I'm not implying anything. I am merely noting that most of the items in this shop are cheap replicas of ancient artifacts. There is very little here that is truly antique."

"How do you know?" she shot back. "Never say you are an expert in antiquities, sir. I will not be taken in by such an outlandish claim. You cannot pass yourself off as a scholarly researcher, not after what you have done to my establishment."

"You are correct, Mrs. Lake. I am not an expert in Greek and Roman antiquities. I am a simple man of business."

"Rubbish. Why would a simple man of business come all the way to Rome in pursuit of a villain named Carlisle?"

"I am here on behalf of one of my clients who employed me to make inquiries into the fate of a man named Bennett Ruckland."

"What was the fate of this Mr. Ruckland?"

Tobias looked at her. "He was murdered here in Rome. My client believes it was because he learned too much concerning the secret organization that Carlisle controls."

"A likely story."

"Nevertheless, it is my story and mine is the only tale that matters tonight." He hurled another pot to the floor. "You have only ten minutes left, Mrs. Lake."

It was hopeless. Lavinia took two fistfuls of her skirts and started up the stairs. But she paused midway as a thought struck her.

"This business of making inquiries into murders on behalf of your clients -- it seems a rather odd sort of profession," she said.

He smashed a small Roman oil lamp. "No more odd than selling false antiquities."

Lavinia was incensed. "I told you, they are not false, sir. They are reproductions designed to be purchased as souvenirs."

"Call them what you wish. They look remarkably like fraudulent imitations to me."

She smiled thinly. "But as you just said, sir, you are no expert in rare artifacts, are you? You are merely a simple man of business."

"You have approximately eight minutes left, Mrs. Lake."

She touched the silver pendant she wore at her throat the way she often did when her nerves were under a great strain. "I cannot decide if you are a monstrous villain or merely deranged," she whispered.

He looked briefly, chillingly, amused. "Does it make any great difference?"

"No."

The situation was impossible. She had no choice but to concede the victory to him. With a soft exclamation of frustration and anger, she whirled and rushed on up the stairs. When she reached the small, lantern-lit room, she saw that, unlike herself, Emeline had made good use of the time allotted to them. Two medium-size and one very large trunk stood open. The smaller trunks were already crammed to overflowing.

"Thank goodness you are here." Emeline's words were muffled, as her head was inside the wardrobe. "Whatever took you so long?"

"I was attempting to convince March that he had no right to toss us out into the street in the middle of the night."

"He is not tossing us into the street." Emeline straightened away from the wardrobe, a small antique vase cradled in her arms. "He has provided a carriage and two armed men to see us safely out of Rome and all the way home to England. It is really very generous of him."

"Rubbish. There is nothing at all generous about his actions. He is playing some deep game, I tell you, and he wants us out of his way."

Emeline busied herself rolling the vase into a bombazine gown. "He believes we are in grave danger from that villain Carlisle, who used our shop as a place to send and receive messages from his men."

"Bah. We have only Mr. March's word that there is any such villain operating here in Rome." Lavinia opened a cupboard. A very handsome, extremely well endowed Apollo gazed out at her. "I, for one, am not inclined to put much faith in anything that man tells us. For all we know, he wants the use of these rooms for his own dark purposes."

"I am convinced he has told us the truth." Emeline stuffed the cushioned vase into the third trunk. "And if that is the case, he is right. We are indeed in danger."

"If there is some villainous gang involved in this affair, I would not be surprised to discover that Tobias March is their leader. He claims to be a simple man of business, but it is obvious to me that there is something distinctly diabolical about him."

From the Paperback edition.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 40 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(11)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(10)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 40 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I loved it. As usual with all Amanda Quick's books I could not put it down,

    The book started out a little slow, but is well worth reading as the two books that follow, Don't Look Back and Late For The Wedding, are extremely exciting. By the end of the third book, Tobias' and Lavina's love had grown so great, I was so involved with the characters, I was really sad to be done.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2001

    Good story, but easy to figure out.

    Mr. Tobias March was a professional when it came to discreetly collecting information. His current client, Lord Neville, had him locating a diary. It had belonged to the valet of a cutthroat named Carlisle. Carlisle was a former member of the Blue Chamber, a notorious crime group that once had connections throughout England and Europe. Now only one person lived from the former group. The diary held that name. <BR><BR> Widow Lavinia Lake had not known Carlisle was using her small shop in Italy for a drop-off point. Mr. March broke everything in the shop, shipped her and her niece, Emeline, to England, and then expected her to be grateful he had ruined her business! Lavinia quickly began a business of collecting information as well. After all, she had to have some way of getting money for rent and to help Emeline find a suitable husband! It was not long before Lavinia and March met again. <BR><BR> Both wanted the diary for different reasons. Neither trusted the other. Each were strongly attracted to the other. Someone was out to stop them from their investigations no matter the cost. Yes, they were both in deep trouble! <BR><BR> **** Well written mystery, but too easy to figure out. Even so, the book is so full of adventure and danger that it will definitely hold onto the attention of all its readers until the very end. Recommended! ****

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2006

    Not her best, but still better than most

    In Slightly Shady we are introduced to her characters of Lavinia and Tobias, who become partners in a detective business. While this was not Amanda Quick's best novel, I still enjoyed the twist and turns and witty dialogue she does so well. I look forward to the rest of the story on these 2 characters.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2004

    Not the best

    I can not believe what I am about to write about an Amanda Quick book - I truly did not like, enjoy, or re-read this book. I have been a huge fan prior to this book. I felt it was slow and boring. I was actually able to put this book down for a day or two (praying it would get better). Never before have I put down a book by this esteemed author without feeling disappointment. I do not plan to purchase any sequels to this even though I own all the other Amanda Quick books. Sad to say that this book will find its way to charity.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2003

    romance?

    I have to agree with the other viewers on the lack of romance in this book. Great plotline and the dialogue is better than I've read in her other books. I don't feel the characters were as clearly developed as the mystery was. I did enjoy it enough to purchase Don't Look Back(book 2) and so far the series itself is comical and enjoyable.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2002

    Decent

    I am a huge Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick/Jayne Castle fan. I read Slightly Shady in the middle of reading 4 or 5 other Quick/Krentz books. (I don't remember which ones, please don't ask me) I think I'm getting this one confused with another one, but I thought it was decent. The plot was interesting and the characters... I wanted to slap Lavina. I really did, but she reminded me of one of Quick/Krentz's other characters so I waited to see if she'd get any better by the end of the book. She didn't, but neither did the other character Lavina reminds me of. I am really excited that Quick has written a sequal. I loved it when she did that with Gift of Gold and Gift of Fire (Verity was who Lavina reminded me of and I'm hoping things will turn out similarly). I have the feeling that the mode of development of the characters was deliberate and all will be delved into deeper in the sequal. I love the Regency romances she writes, but I'm REALLY fond of her Jayne Castle books. I can honestly say I'd buy this book... at Goodwill for 45 cents like I buy all my other books.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2001

    Disappointed in Slightly Shady

    I was pleased to see that a new Amanda Quick novel was released. I have always enjoyed her novels; until this one. It was poorly constructed, the plot extremely contrived and the dialogue was very choppy. Both main characters had little to redeem them, they were just very annoying people. I hope that Ms Krentz takes a little more time writing her next Amanda Quick novel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2001

    Not what I expected.

    Amanda Quick is one of my favorite writers. She is original and the romances in her books are always hot and seductive. Don't get my wrong, she rocks. But what happened in this book? I have never said this in a review, (especially for one of her books) but it totally sucked. For once I was actually bored and just skimmed through the middle and end just to get it over with. The characters were lousy! Usually her characters, notably the women, are fiesty and possess remarkable qualities. The woman, Lydia or whatever, was a nag and a total bore. The guy was all right. But to say that the romance was poorly developed would be an understatement. And the ending? It was weak. Just weak. I'm sorry, it it my sole opinion, but I have to say I am thoroughly disappointed in this book. I got the niggling feeling Amanda Quick sat down and *ping*, done and published. Too fast. Anyway like I said it is my opinion. I am sure many others differ. Thanks.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2001

    I love it, i love it, i love it...

    I just love it. No need to say anything. To tell you the truth, this is the first Amanda Quick book I was able to finish in one sitting. Definitely cannot wait for the sequels...

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2001

    Slighty Shady is Awesome!!!!

    This was an excellent book. It has everything(romance, suspence, love and drama).....A MUST READ!!!! Amamda outdid herself on this one...Her best book to date!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2001

    not up tostandard

    I have read every amanda quick (jayne ann krentz) book written - - i have a bookshelf just for these books and I found this one to be a great disappointment. the story line was good but the characters very underdeveloped. the mystery was good but the romance was left out almost as an afterthought. in her other books the seduction and mystery seem to be of equal value going from one to the other even with them intertwined but with this book the mystery is almost the whole book with a little romance to make the reader happy. amanda please come back - - there are so few of your books - - i cant wait for a really good one now!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2001

    I Loved this Book. It was a great read. I recommend it highly along with, I Thee Wed, Wicked Widow and any other book that she has written.

    I Loved this book. I have read all the books that she has written as well as the ones under Jayne Ann Krentz. This was a fun read. The characters were very interesting although predictable. But I thought that the identity of the villain was a different route for Ms. Quick. Read this book, you can't go wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Entertaining Regency romantic suspense

    After being stranded with her niece in Rome by her employer, Lavinia Lake opens up an antique shop. However, private investigator Tobias March destroys her merchandise and tells Lavinia to return to London or else. He says nasty villains have used her shop to pass messages. He explains that a criminal named Carlisle killed Bernard Ruckland and will murder again if necessary. <P>In London, Lavinia visits Holton Felix, an odious person trying to blackmail her. Instead of a confrontation, Lavinia finds Holton dead. Tobias enters the room a few minutes later. They search for a missing diary with incriminating evidence of treason and other crimes, but fail to find it. Thus starts the teaming of the reluctant professional detective Tobias with obstinate amateur sleuth Lavinia. Although each one insists to a beloved relative that they find the other despicable, they begin to fall in love. However, Tobias¿ investigation is dangerous and Lavinia has a tendency to place them in deadly situations. <P>New York Times best-selling author Amanda Quick furnishes her myriad of fans with an exciting non-stop historical romantic mystery with numerous twists and turns. The story line equally provides justice to the romance and the sleuthing, which, in turn, both historical sub-genre audiences will relish the tale. The lead characters are a fun pair either squabbling or loving while the secondary ¿good guys¿ enhance understanding of them. Hopefully, the writer will quickly return with more stories from this dynamic detective duo. <P>Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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