cover image A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem

A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem

Manda Collins. Forever, $14.99 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-1-5387-3613-5

Collins (One for the Rogue) kicks off her Lady’s Guide series with this quippy Victorian romance, which sees a sweet relationship bloom during the hunt for a serial killer. Lady Katherine Bascombe, a happily widowed London newspaper owner, chafes at sexist restrictions on women’s speech, leading her to devote a column to informing women of criminal activities in their city, most notably the actions of the mysterious, biblically inspired Commandments Killer. But with her amateur sleuthing into the murders, she accidentally gets principled detective Andrew Eversham kicked off the case, and his pompous replacement promptly arrests an innocent man. The case is considered closed—until, on vacation in the countryside, Katherine stumbles upon a body apparently killed by the Commandments Killer. Andrew is called back into the fold to investigate and soon they are tackling the mystery together, and their sparks of attraction are fed by respect for each other’s intelligence. They both have baggage—Andrew distrusts the upper classes and Katherine is traumatized by her marriage—but the real threat to their love comes when the killer makes things personal. Both romance and mystery fans will find this a treat. Agent: Holly Root, Root Literary. (Nov.)