The Mystery Woman by Amanda Quick is the second in the Ladies of Lantern Street historical paranormal romantic suspense series (available April 23, 2013).
I have been a fan of Amanda Quick aka Jayne Ann Krentz since I read Mystique and backtracked to pick up the books I had missed. Her novels were, for a long time, a pleasure to read, like taking a warm bubble bath. But by the time she had written several Arcane Society novels, I was thoroughly tired of her work. I am happy to report that Amanda Quick has returned to the spunky, brave, and adventurous heroines of the past with Beatrice Lockwood in The Mystery Woman, Book 2 of the Ladies of Lantern Street series.
The novel has many fewer paranormal aspects than the Arcane Society series, and that’s all to the good as far as I’m concerned. Beatrice meets hero Joshua after her former employer is murdered and she finds herself being chased by the Bone Man. Joshua believes that Beatrice is blackmailing his sister over some information Beatrice might have garnered from her former employer. She tells him most emphatically that she is not a blackmailer.
Beatrice is now a highly paid companion with some survival skills she can call on as needed. She has a stocking gun tucked into one of her garters, and she is not afraid to use it.
There are plenty of sinister happenings afoot what with people trying to raise the dead from a formula found on an Egyptian scroll, The Bone Man searching for Beatrice, and the Messenger looking just as hard for her.
The real fun of the novel is the relationship between Beatrice and Joshua and sparks fly at their very first meeting. Joshua is one of Quick’s damaged heroes; he had hidden himself away for a year because he was wounded while working as a spy for the government and feels that he has nothing to offer society or any woman. Beatrice has other ideas.
“Who taught you how to use a stocking gun, Miss Lockwood?” he asked.
“A former employer,” she said.
“Would that former employer by any chance be the late Dr. Roland Fleming, proprietor of the Academy of the Occult?”
For one frozen moment she could not breathe. It was as if the room had suddenly titled, throwing her off-balance. Her own cup of coffee trembled in her hand. Her pulse beat frantically and she knew a panic unlike any she had experienced since the night she fled the scene of Fleming’s murder.
She called on her acting skills to collect herself.
“I have no idea what you are talking about, Mr. Gage.” She summoned up her stage smile. “Or should I address you as the Messenger?”
The action leads to a showdown in the laboratory of a mad scientist where Joshua and Beatrice fight for their lives and their love.
If I have a complaint about this novel, it would be against the dreadful cover art, a headless woman is pulling a stocking gun from the garter on her plump thigh. Once past that eyesore, it’s full speed ahead in this new Amanda Quick story.
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