A DANGEROUS LIAISON WITH DETECTIVE LEWIS – Jillian Stone
The Gentlemen of Scotland Yard , Book 2
Throughout Scotland and England – 1887
Since Detective Raphael Lewis was originally from Charing Cross station in Edinburgh, Chief Detective Inspector Zeno Kennedy, head of Scotland Yard's Special Branch, chooses him to go there to protect the daughter of a famous industrialist after the man was murdered. The Special Branch of Scotland Yard's main objective is dealing with anarchists and others intent on killing large numbers of people. The only problem is Ambrose Greyville-Nugent, who was killed just by falling in the threshing machine that he invented, is also the father of Rafe's former fiancée. Four years ago, Rafe broke their engagement and is sure Fanny, Ambrose's daughter, will not think nicely of him trying to bring her back to London in order to protect her. Ambrose isn't the first industrialist to die under disturbing circumstances, and it appears someone is after men behind the new modern inventions. In fact, Rafe's favorite invention from the Scotland Yard laboratory is a hand-held battery run light that just needs to be hit once in awhile to keep itself lit. How can he face a woman who should rightly be irate at seeing him again, after the embarrassment she surely went through after he left?
Francine Greyville-Nugent hasn't even buried her father when a ghost from her past comes and tells her Scotland Yard thinks her father was murdered, and that she needs protection. Fanny never knew what happened the night of their engagement party; she and Rafe were outside kissing when her father found them and went into his study with Rafe. Soon, her father came out and announced the engagement was over and Rafe was gone. As they start their journey to London, nattily dressed men keep popping up and trying to kill them. There is no way to find out why they are after Fanny and Rafe, and it takes all of Rafe's abilities to help them escape from every situation. It seems as soon as one man is taken care of, two more show up. Soon, Fanny is sick and tired of walking and riding the train through the countryside and is determined to return to Edinburgh and hire as many bodyguards as it takes to keep her safe.
When a friend of Fanny's father, Professor Minnow, shows up with his submersible machine, he, too, is targeted by the nattily dressed men. But it is when Fanny finds out that Rafe was married at the time of their engagement party that she can't believe how much longer she can stand the hurt inside her. Now they just have to find out if the group wants to kill all inventors or just kidnap them, and for what reason.
Jillian Stone is continuing her series featuring the agents of Scotland Yard. Even back then this is the beginning of finding and collecting evidence, and also using the telegraph to obtain and give information. Told from Rafe's and Fanny's points of view, Fanny shows herself to be a thoroughly modern woman, interested in her late father's business and even in favor of women's suffrage; she's no shrinking violet, until confronted with Rafe after over four years. Rafe has grown used to living in London and putting his life with Fanny deep into his subconscious until this case brings them crashing together. I could almost feel the anger and disappointment Rafe's appearance brings into Fanny's life, and to give Rafe his due, he does admit to the many ways he hurt her, and even the secrets he's still carrying around.
Secondary characters are the fellow detectives at Scotland Yard and Professor Minnow, inventor of maybe the first submersible machine (submarine). The Professor is always available for a dram of whiskey and even enjoys carrying a flask with him. Mallory is the head of the Utopian Society, determined to rid the world of the entrepreneurs who are bringing modernization to English Society, and not for the better.
A DANGEROUS LIAISON WITH DETECTIVE LEWIS is another captivating tale in The Gentlemen of Scotland Yard series, and the story features poignant, dangerous, and humorous situations. AN AFFAIR WITH MR. KENNEDY was book one in the series, and A PRIVATE DUEL WITH AGENT GUNN (November 2012) is the next story and will feature Phineas Gunn, a rather reclusive and sarcastic Detective, and is sure to continue with the novel and interesting characters we've met so far. If historical romance with some new “inventions” will hold your interest, this is your spot of tea this month.