As a murderer known as the "Hook" terrorizes London, the Marquis of Mandrell finds Lady Anne Fairhaven wandering the streets. He is struck by her obvious sorrow and wonders what could send her out at night. Anne has come to London to find her daughter who has been taken by her dead husband's brother as a malicious act of revenge.

Anne intrigues Mandrell and he reluctantly agrees to help her if she will spend a night with him. Though he is rumored to be a debauched libertine, Anne looks beneath the surface to see a vulnerable man whose nightmares haunt him.

They find themselves caught in the Hook's snare as Anne is arrested for a crime she did not commit. Mandrell's ex-mistress and cousin ally themselves with him to find the killer as Mandrell discovers a shocking secret.

Riveting from the very first page, THE PAINTED VEIL is an engrossing read in the tradition of Regency romances by Mary Balogh, Mary Jo Putney and Anita Mills. Susan Carroll's grasp of the era, from the glittering ballrooms to the squalid alleys, adds a colorful dimension to a romance that superbly combines mystery with passion. SENSUAL (Oct., 362pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin