The fast-rising star of superbly talented Monique Ellis shines with added luminescence in this grand conclusion to the lives and loves first introduced in the splendid Fortescue Diamond.

For over twenty years "John Macy" has served his country well as one of its most valuable spies. Now that Bonaparte has been defeated for good, he is finally coming home. All he wants now is a quiet life as a gentleman.

Whitehall, however, is not quite ready to give up such a useful tool, especially one who was involved in putting an end to the fiendish Fortescue murders, which cost the lives of several gallant soldiers. Something is still going on, threatening the life of Harry Beckenham once more.

Of much more interest to Macy, however, is the eccentric Lady Sarah Duchesne, a spinster whose gruff and careless exterior hides someone very different underneath. Cracking this puzzle could mean his life's happiness.

Ms. Ellis cleverly ties up all the loose ends of her fascinating plot, winning our hearts with a bevy of fascinating characters. A mesmerizing storyteller, Ms. Ellis is already one of the stellar lights of the genre. (Mar., 352 pp., $4.50)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer