cover image A Most Intriguing Lady

A Most Intriguing Lady

Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York. Avon, $28.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-321682-2

This superior blend of mystery and romance from the Duchess of York (Her Heart for a Compass) introduces Lady Mary Montagu Douglas Scott, the younger daughter of close friends of Queen Victoria, who chafes at being expected to adhere to her era’s rigid restrictions on women. She gets an opportunity to exercise her intellect and knowledge of human nature in 1872 when her parents host a party at a family home on the Scottish Borders. When a guest is distraught by the theft of her jewel-festooned brooch, Lady Mary solves the mystery, and this personally rewarding experience leads to other cases. By 1875, her reputation for handling sensitive inquiries discreetly—including probing the theft of charitable funds and the burglary of an aristocrat’s safe concealed in her sitting room—has led to a secret life as a problem-solver for high society. Her detective work coincides with her growing interest in Col. Walter Trefusis, a 34-year-old war veteran who leads a covert life of his own. The author never lets the romantic plotline dominate and plausibly depicts the struggles of a capable woman who empowers herself to achieve her own potential. Claudia Gray fans will welcome a sequel. Agent: Lacy Lynch, Dupree/Miller & Assoc. (Mar.)