THE BLOODIED CRAVAT
Much to his delight, Beau Brummell, accompanied by Chakkri his Siamese cat, is attending a house party at Oatlands, home of Frederica, Duchess of York. He is perturbed, though, for his valet Robinson has not yet arrived with his possessions, leaving him with a serious shortage of clothing.
When Robinson does arrive, Brummell learns he was set upon by a highwayman, who made off with some of his possessions. This puts him in a panic, for among the missing items is an album that contains a letter from his beloved Freddie, which could cause social ruin for all.
All of this is put out of mind when a fellow houseguest is murdered via a hair ornament of Freddie's. The police are called in but it is Brummell, using not only his great social connections but also the help of his good friend Miss Lavender (not to mention Chakkri), who saves the day.
This latest in the Beau Brummell series shows Ms. Stevens in top form. Mystery fans will appreciate the complicated, well-devised plot and fans of the ton will also be in for their share of fun as the author has included a fine amount of gossip, scandal, and sparkling wit. (May, 304 pp., $22.95)