Series: Ladies of Lantern Street #2
Published by Putnam on April 23, 2013
Genres: Historical Romance, Paranormal romantic suspense, Romantic suspense
Source: the library
Also in this series: Crystal Gardens
Also by this author: Crystal Gardens, Otherwise Engaged, Garden of Lies, 'Til Death Do Us Part, The Girl Who Knew Too Much, With This Ring, Rendezvous, Affair, Tightrope
Beatrice Lockwood, one of the intrepid ladies of Lantern Street, is in the middle of a case when her past comes back to haunt her. Joshua North, a former spy for the Crown, has come out of a self-imposed retirement after a disastrous case that left him scarred and forced to use a cane. He is hunting the villain who is blackmailing his sister.
The trail leads him to Beatrice who is his chief suspect. But when he realizes that she is not the blackmailer they set out to find the real extortionist. Passion flares between them as they dodge a professional assassin. Meanwhile a mysterious scientist intent on resurrecting his dead lover using an ancient Egyptian formula for preserving the bodies of the dead is also hunting Beatrice. He is keeping his dead love perfectly preserved in a special, crystal-topped sarcophagus filled with the special fluid. But he needs Beatrice's paranormal talent to activate the reviving properties of the preservative in the coffin. Time is running out for everyone involved.
The two cases collide at a mysterious country-house filled with artifacts from ancient Egyptian tombs. The drama concludes in the mad scientist's laboratory where Joshua discovers that the past he thought was dead is still very much alive -- sort of.
Amanda Quick delivers another gripping paranormal romantic suspense novel set in 19th-century England. The Mystery Woman feature Beatrice Lockwood, a secondary character in Crystal Gardens and an agent employed by Flint & Marsh of Lantern Street. Like the firm’s other agents, Beatrice possesses a paranormal sense, in her case the ability to perceive the energies in others’ psychic footprints.
Joshua North, a former agent for the Crown, doesn’t believe in psychic phenomena — or in love. He has come out of retirement in pursuit of Beatrice, whom he believes is a fraud now intent on blackmailing his sister. Once he accepts that Beatrice is not guilty of the latter crime, at least, Joshua turns his attention to the question of who is, and why — all the while fighting his attraction to Beatrice.
The plot of The Mystery Woman is satisfyingly complex, with plenty of twists and turns. Quick effectively weaves the paranormal elements with the historical setting, taking full advantage both of the era’s fascination with psychic abilities and its mania for all things Egyptian. Beatrice is a typical Quick heroine: resourceful, determined, and willing to step outside the conventions which traditionally hemmed in “the fairer sex.” Joshua is less straightforward; he hides much of his past from Beatrice, and his own psychic ability from himself. I really enjoyed the interactions between them, particularly as things began to heat up a bit — not just between them but in terms of danger and intrigue.
I can almost always count on Amanda Quick (a.k.a. Jayne Ann Krentz) for several hours of sheer suspenseful fun punctuated by a bit a of romance. The Mystery Woman delivers. I enjoyed this book nearly as much as her Arcane Society novels.