cover image PETTY TREASON: A Sarah Tolerance Mystery

PETTY TREASON: A Sarah Tolerance Mystery

Madeleine E. Robins, . . Forge, $24.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-0400-1

In Robins's second delicious Regency mystery to feature "agent of inquiry" Sarah Tolerance (after 2003's Point of Honour ), someone bashes in the head of the Chevalier D'Aubigny, a man whose faults far outweighed all other considerations. Blame falls on his mouse of a wealthy wife, who is arrested and thrown into England's awful prison system. Miss Tolerance investigates the many people who wanted the chevalier dead, a commission that takes her from the best salons to the worst stews and gin shops of 1810 London. In her quest, she must deal with the political ramifications of peculiar sexual practices in the royal family, the maneuvering of French émigrés for power and the machinations of Bonaparte, not to mention a few inept and dangerous officers of the law. Sarah may be a "Fallen Woman," but she's also clever, resourceful and highly capable with a sword. She is so well realized that we accept the conceit of a female sleuth—a liberated Elizabeth Bennett, as it were—who fences, wears men's clothing and lives behind her aunt's brothel. One hopes that the delicate hint of romance with the Magistrate Sir Walter Mandif is realized in future novels in this most pleasing and agreeable series. Agent, Valerie Smith. (Sept. 4)