Berkley, May 2003, 22.95, 256 pp.
Most of society in Regency London thinks that Beau Brummell is a glorified dandy who cares for nothing but the cut and style of his clothes. He is a personal friend of the Prince Regent and is invited to all the parties the Ton gives. One day while dining at his club White's, he realizes it doesn't please his palate. He opens his own club Waitiers, which becomes an overnight hit, serving delectable food and allowing the clientele to indulge in gambling.
One night at the club, some men are playing cards when Lieutenant Nevill accuses Mr. Jacombe of cheating. Mr. Jacombe, a man with a high position in the government and known for his kindness and honor, is so angry he challenges the soldier to a duel. Before that can happen, Mr. Jacombe is murdered and witnesses place Lieutenant Nevill at the scene holding a gun. Beau, who knows the lieutenant, doesn't believe he is guilty and goes out of his way to prove it.
The hero of this regency mystery actually existed with his closest friends knowing he was intelligent so it should not surprise history buffs that Beau could have been a brilliant detective. As he examines the victim's life, he learns that the man was not a paragon of virtue but a vile predator who had many people wishing him dead. The who-done-it is fascinating and it is obvious that Rosemary Stevens does her research because MURDER IN THE PLEASURE GARDEN is an accurate vivid depiction of life in Regency England.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner