June 04, 2001 12:00 PM

by Amanda Quick

When her antique shop becomes a bulletin board for a band of spies and a man who tried to blackmail her turns up dead, Lavinia Lake does what any resourceful widow in 19th-century London would do: She becomes an investigator. Joining forces with the gruff and volatile Tobias March, Lavinia scours London from society balls to waterfront brothels in search of the killer.

Quick has spun a tense and romantic tale in the crumpets-and-strumpets milieu of Regency England, and her pacing is impeccable as Lavinia and Tobias close in on their prey. But when the sparks between them become hard to ignore, the headstrong Lavinia realizes that the identity of the murderer is not the only thing she would like to uncover. (Bantam, $23.95)

Bottom Line: Sexy and suspenseful

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