Amanda Quick, a pen name of prolific writer Jayne Ann Krentz, takes readers to Victorian-era London in her latest romantic mystery, Garden of Lies. The story follows independent businesswoman Ursula Kern, owner of the Kern Secretarial Agency, who is stunned when one of her employees seemingly takes her own life. Ursula, however, knows the woman too well to believe she would commit suicide. Instead, Ursula is convinced that her friend has been murdered.
Archaeologist and adventurer Slater Roxton is surprised when Ursula tells him she must abruptly resign from her position as his stenographer. He’s even more stunned when she confesses that she plans to investigate what she believes is the murder of her employee. Unable to convince her to abandon the dangerous plan, he announces that he will join her. As an archaeologist, he’s proven skillful at finding lost artifacts, which should easily translate into detective work. Ursula gladly accepts his aid. While she finds Mr. Roxton extremely attractive, she is unaware that his main interest in joining her investigation is to keep her safe.
As Slater and Ursula join forces to unravel the tangled skein of criminal activity that surrounds the truth about her friend’s fate, it quickly becomes apparent that they are now on the mysterious killer’s hit list. They narrowly survive his attacks, and it’s anyone’s guess whether they will unmask the villain before he terminates them both.
Garden of Lies is simply delightful in so many ways. The details of the story’s setting in Victorian London are impeccable, and the hero and heroine are honorable, daring and sharply intelligent. The secondary characters aren’t just flimsy foils, either; they add charm and humor to the tale, and the mystery plot is cleverly detailed, forming a most satisfactory labyrinth of clues. And to top it all off, the dialogue between Slater and Ursula is witty and their romance eminently rewarding. Readers of historical romance and mystery are going to love this latest book from Quick.
Lois Dyer writes from her home in Washington State