Amanda Quick, Author . Jove $7.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-515-13862-7

Those who have enjoyed Quick's popular Regency mysteries featuring Lavinia Lake and Tobias March (Late for the Wedding ) may find some pleasure in this Victorian romance/mystery, but others, particularly fans of Quick's earlier works (Mistress , etc.), will feel shortchanged by its weak plotting. Caroline Fordyce, who writes a popular fiction serial, and mysterious gentleman Adam Hardesty make a likable couple, but since virtually no obstacles stand in the way of their union, there's little suspense in watching them come together after only a few heated kisses. Both skeptics, the pair become involved in the Victorian craze for mediums and all things spiritualist after Adam stumbles across a murdered medium and finds a list of names, with Caroline's figured prominently. Alas, there are only two viable suspects, and Quick's sleight of hand is scant. Her characters are given to chunks of exposition that reveal the mechanics of the plot. (For example, a medium delivers a convenient monologue in an empty room.) Despite these flaws, this book remains a pleasant enough diversion, even if it pales in comparison to the author's best work. Some readers may have hoped that Quick's recent change of publishers heralded a renewed energy in her writing, but this novel feels like more of the same. Agent, Steve Axelrod. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 01/17/2005
Release date: 02/01/2005
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