cover image The River Knows

The River Knows

Amanda Quick, . . Putnam, $24.95 (355pp) ISBN 978-0-399-15417-1

The suspense begins with the first sentence of this romantic mystery from the pseudonymous Quick (Jayne Ann Krentz uses this pseudonym for her Victorian novels). Gossip spreads fast about the liaison between "unimportant, unfashionable, excessively dull" Louisa Bryce and wealthy, handsome Anthony Stalbridge. In reality, their first kiss was a spur-of-the-moment coverup when the two are caught snooping around Elwin Hastings's mansion. Louisa, an undercover reporter for the sensational newspaper, Flying Intelligencer , is investigating Hastings's crooked financial dealings, while Anthony seeks the truth about his fiancée, one of three society women who supposedly committed suicide a year ago. Under the guise of their romance, Louisa and Anthony expose Hastings's many criminal schemes. Their relationship isn't all business, however, and Louisa's profession isn't her only secret. Quick's tightly woven tale allows little room for extraneous subplots—every cracked safe and mysterious prostitute plays an important role. Light humor and playful love scenes temper the more gruesome moments for an alluring combination of foggy nights and steamy afternoons. (Apr.)