Two unlikely allies—Maj. Robert Kurland, who suffered a serious leg injury at the Battle of Waterloo, and his childhood friend and de facto housekeeper, Miss Lucy Harrington—join forces in Lloyd’s delightful debut, the first in a Regency series set in the English village of Kurland St. Mary. When Robert spots a person carrying a heavy load near the church one night, he suggests Lucy, the rector’s oldest daughter, make some discreet inquiries regarding a spate of recent pilfering. The disappearance of a maidservant is also cause for concern. When Lucy, who resents being constrained because she’s a woman, bridles at being denied a more active role in the investigation, Robert’s valet and butler try to rein her in. Lucy also must deal with her father’s selfishness, her rambunctious twin brothers, the curate’s unwelcome admiration, and a beautiful sister whose prospects exceed her own. Readers will hope that death returns soon to Kurland St. Mary. Agent: Deidre Knight, Knight Agency. (Dec.)
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Major Robert Kurland has returned to the quiet vistas of Kurland St. Mary to recuperate from the horrors of Waterloo. However injured his body may be, his mind is as active as ever. Too active, perhaps. When he glimpses a shadowy figure from his bedroom window struggling with a heavy load, the tranquil façade of the village begins to loom sinister . . .
Unable to forget the incident, Robert confides in his childhood friend, Miss Lucy Harrington. As the dutiful daughter of the widowed rector, following up on the major's suspicions offers a welcome diversion-but soon presents real danger. Someone is intent on stopping their investigation. And in a place where no one locks their doors, a series of thefts and the disappearance of two young serving girls demands explanation . . .
As Robert grapples with his difficult recovery, he and Lucy try to unearth the dark truth lurking within the village shadows, and stop a killer waiting to strike again . . .
Burglary and a missing person report disrupt the quiet of Kurland St. Mary in 1816. Maj. Robert Kurland may be a hero of the Battle of Waterloo, but his broken leg leaves him helpless as a baby. On a sleepless night, he thinks he sees a dark shadow carrying something to the church. His overly solicitous valet, who saved his life in battle, thinks Kurland was seeing something that wasn't there, thanks to the laudanum that's been easing his pain. Only Lucy Harrington, the rector's oldest daughter, takes Kurland seriously. As a substitute mother for her siblings and a general caregiver to the community, she's already worried since one of her servants has disappeared. Although Lucy doesn't shrink from the less savory aspects of life, her suspicion that one of her brothers might be involved in a series of burglaries is hard to face. She and Kurland collaborate to find out how a snuffbox, an opened grave, an impoverished curate and a jilted lover are linked to what Kurland saw in this slow-paced Jane Austen imitation that doesn't omit a single cliché of the genre, including the sprinkling of freckles across the bridge of Lucy's nose. A Regency Rear Window whose chair-bound hero and the woman who civilizes him generate a few sparks worthy of Darcy and Elizabeth. But even the harder-edged elements of gambling, drug use and suicidal obsession can't set this period debut on fire.