cover image A Dangerous Affair

A Dangerous Affair

Caro Peacock, Author . Avon $13.95 (303p) ISBN 978-0-06-144748

Liberty Lane returns in Peacock's newest Victorian London melodrama. Worried about funds, the industrious Liberty (last seen in A Foreign Affair ) accepts a commission from Benjamin Disraeli to spy on Columbine, a dancer whose indiscretions could cause a public scandal. When Columbine turns up poisoned after feuding with Jenny, another dancer, Liberty decides she must track down the killer before Jenny hangs for the crime. What she uncovers is a web of secrets drawing together the mighty with the dregs of society. Peacock skillfully interweaves figures of real Victorian London, while avoiding the genre's typical focus on aristocracy. London's artistic underbelly is grimy, gritty and has instant appeal that the ton can't match. The mystery flows smoothly, with well-placed red herrings, excellent reveals and pleasing surprises. Readers should look forward to their next meeting with Liberty and her friends, particularly gruff, wise groom Amos, the Watson to Liberty's would-be Sherlock Holmes. (Feb.)