St. Martin's, May 2002, 6.99, 350 pp.
Francesca Cahill is a twenty-year-old woman born of very wealthy parents who want her to marry only a man from a socially prominent family. In 1901 NYC, if a woman didn't find a husband, she was considered an old maid but Francesca doesn't care about such frivolity. She wants a career as a sleuth and has successfully solved three murder cases to date.
Her parents are putting pressure on her to see Calder Hart, a wealthy and prosperous lady's man who cares more about Francesca than she is willing recognize. Instead Francesca loves Calder's half brother Rick Bragg, the New York police Commissioner, who also happens to be a married man. When Bragg's niece is kidnapped, Calder, Rick and Francesca put aside their personal differences and work together to get her out of the hands of a murderer who will kill her if he doesn't get what he wants.
Each Francesca Cahill mystery is better than the one before it. Brenda Joyce writes an exhilarating mystery that ends satisfactorily. However, the characters' stories continue in the next book in the series so that readers always have a feeling of home coming when they pick up the latest Francesca tale. Personally, this reviewer can't wait for the next romantic mystery in this enthralling series to come out.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner