Since the age of sixteen, Arabella Beaumont has been happily employed as a highly paid woman of pleasure. True, respectable ladies of the ton would never deign to call at Lustings, her delightful home. Then again, Arabella has no desire to make dreary small talk and sip tea when she could be enjoying the company of amusing, intelligent, and extremely generous gentlemen.
But while Arabella's admirers are legion, she also has enemies. A paper knife stolen during one of her salons was discovered near the body of a former rival. Arabella was entertaining her wealthy benefactor on the night of the murder, but the engaged duke can't provide the alibi she desperately needs. It falls to Arabella and her resourceful sister, Belinda, to clear her good--or at least innocent--name. Utilizing all the talents in her arsenal, the irrepressible Miss Beaumont will endeavor to catch the real culprit, before the hangman catches up to her. . .
My Review: If you love mysteries and Regency romance, have I got a book for you!!! Arabella Beaumont is one of the wittiest, spunkiest amateur sleuths I've encountered in quite some time.
In the opening scene our heroine, a highly paid courtesan, is enjoying a leisurely breakfast in bed, planning an upcoming trip to Bath where she hopes to catch a glimpse of Jane Austen, when she discovers shocking news in the paper. A former friend and rival, Euphemia Ramsey, has been found murdered with Arabella's monogrammed letter opener! (The insignificant item that caused the estrangement between Arabella and Euphemia, a ruby glass elephant, ends up playing a pivotal role in the outcome of the story.) Death by hanging is most certainly in Arabella's future unless she can track down the real killer, and thanks to her protector and sister/fellow courtesan Belinda, she's given a month to do just that. When a famous courtesan turns to the man who wants her hand in marriage for help, the Rector of Effing ("That Effing church! Those Effing choirboys!"), Regency London just may never be the same again.
All I could think while reading this book was what a wonderful PBS British mystery series it would make. I can hardly wait to see what deliciously naughty adventures await Arabella in the next book!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher with the request for a review.