Celeste Bradley, Author . St. Martin's $6.50 (384p) ISBN 978-0-312-98486-1

Bradley's Regency-era Liar's Club series (The Pretender, etc.) is based on a trite premise—that a band of aristocratic gentlemen are really "ruthless" covert operatives for the Crown—but this fast, frothy second installment proves that even old formulas can yield surprising results. When young widow Clara Simpson inadvertently rouses the Crown's ire with her reformist cartoons, penned under the nom de plume of Sir Thorogood, Liar's Club member Dalton Montmorency decides to pose as Sir Thorogood to flush the elusive cartoonist out into the open. As Sir Thorogood, Dalton finds himself fending off several attempts on his life. Clara, meanwhile, makes it her mission to unmask him. The game becomes even more complex when Dalton tries to break into the house where Clara is posing as a maid to dig up material for her next cartoon. Clara mistakes Dalton for a thief, and he, in turn, believes her a maid. In these roles, the two allow their attraction to blossom. Bradley carefully layers deception upon deception, keeping the intrigue level high and the tone bright. Despite the book's sober second half and bittersweet denouement, readers will race through this delightful comedy of errors and eagerly anticipate the next installment. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 09/22/2003
Release date: 10/01/2003
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-4299-0191-8
Mass Market Paperbound - 374 pages - 978-0-312-94601-2
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