St. Martin's, Dec 2002, 24.95, 320 pp.
The two times that Elspeth Clayton and Gervaise Valerian meet, they exchange heated words. The Georgian miss thinks he is nothing but a dandy who is interested in fine clothes and society gossip. She is more absorbed in finding a way to save her brother Vance who is arrested in France while work for Madame la Pompadour, the king's mistress. The lord holding Vance demands he hand over the incriminating letter that, if revealed, will force the king to break off with his mistress.
Elspeth appeals to a childhood friend for help and he arranges for a certain gentleman of quality to help them. On the night they are to leave for France, Elspeth arranges to meet her champion only to shockingly learn it is Gervaise. He is smuggling his father out of England before he is arrested as a Jacobite sympathizer and if she helps him, Gervaise swears he will free her brother. While in France their lives are constantly threatened and the danger comes from a third partly neither Elspeth nor Gervaise knows about.
Patricia Veryan is the queen of romantic intrigue and her latest Riddle book is jam packed with just that wrapped inside plenty of action. The heroine refuses to let society's conventions interfere with saving her brother. The hero is a complex individual on the order of the Pimpernel as he is quite adept at hiding his inner self from a world that judges only on appearances. He and the heroine make a perfect match.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner