THE BLOODIED CRAVAT
It is the height of London's Society season in 1806 and George "Beau" Brummell has gone to Oatlands, the country home of Frederica, the Duchess of York, for a weekend party celebrating her birthday. Unfortunately, he is having some difficulty maintaining his usual sartorial splendor as the esteemed Robinson and Beau's luggage are long overdue.
As it turns out, Robinson has been held up by a highwayman and all of Beau's belongings have been stolen except his gift for Freddie, which Robinson protected at risk of life, limb and dignity. Among the missing items is Beau's scrapbook which contains a letter written to him by Freddie in a moment of weakness, a letter which, if exposed, could cause a Royal scandal and lead to Beau's disgrace. At all costs, Beau must find the letter, and that means he must unmask the highwayman.
In the meantime, Freddie's other guests have arrived, including a few of questionable quality. There are some thefts and Freddie receives the first blackmail threat. Feeling betrayed by Beau, she becomes noticeably cool towards him and begins to show favor to those who would be pleased to see him lose his high place in Society.
A guest who has managed to antagonize nearly everyone is murdered during the house party. Freddie calls in John Lavender of Bow Street, a dour Scot with a low opinion of Society in general and George Brummell in particular, largely because of his earlier attentions to Lavender's lovely daughter, Lydia. Beau knows that Lavender would like nothing better than to prove him guilty of the murder, propelling him into his own attempt to solve the murder as well as find the letter. Above all, Beau needs to win back the Duchess's affection and trust.
Agatha award-winning and national bestselling author Rosemary Stevens brings the reader into the heart of Regency life, ranging from high society to the criminal world of Seven Dials, with both pathos and humor. The Siamese cat Chakkri, "otherwise known as Master and Supreme Ruler of the Brummell Household", continues to be Robinson's nemesis while Beau contends with more bodies, blackmail threats, spying and the malevolent gazes of Lavender and Freddie's companion, Ulga. Red herrings abound to keep the reader guessing and Beau's pain and confusion are evident as his feelings for both Freddie and Lydia become more apparent in this third entry in the Beau Brummell series. Ms. Stevens has created another winner and readers will clamor for more.
©2002 and beyond by Lelia Taylor. Not to be used without permission by anyone except the specific author being reviewed.