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The Counterfeit Lady by Kate Parker
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The Counterfeit Lady

by Kate Parker

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Georgia has a good friend, Lady Phyllida Monthalf, whose cousin

A cousin of Georgia’s dear friend, Lady Phyllida Monthalf, is murdered in her home. It is suspected the murder occured during the theft of blueprints of a new battleship designed by her husband. Kenneth Gattenger, the husband is now accused of her murder…and treason. The Duke of Blackford helps the government in this situation and he in turn enlists Georgia and the Archivist Society to assist in the investigation. But the twist, Georgia gets to go under-cover as the Duke's new Society lady conquest.

Georgia moves among the upper echelons of London’s elite to uncover a master spy and recover the stolen ship plans. The other society ladies make sure that Georgia knows she isn't titled and thus the Duke could never actually marry her. Sadly, in the course of the clandestine investigation, the Duke and Georgia grow closer, but Georgia always has the cloud of the difference in their societal positions hanging over her. Besides Lady Phyllida's cousin being killed, there is another murder as well. Additionally, at one point in the investigation, Georgia spots the man who murder her parents over a decade ago and she is torn between staying the course with the undercover investigation or following the man. She also frets over leaving her bookstore without her guidance, afraid that her business is in jeopardy.

Georgia, a middle-class trades-person who is bright, brave, determined, loves her mundane bookstore is endowed with a methodical mind. Emma, her best friend, whose former life made her very street-wise and good with a knife, plays her lady's maid in the investigation. Lady Phyllida Monthalf must leave the bookstore and face her troubled past to provide Georgia her society cover story. The Duke of Blackford is dangerous and perhaps a touch conniving. Naturally, there is a cast of suspects and a few twists to keep things interesting.

I love Victorian England in this series, not too grimy nor romanticized. The sense of propriety in public is shown as a thin veneer over affairs and indiscretions. I feel this plot was even better than the first book, and pacing that kept me turning the pages. The climax was well concieved and executed. The wrap-up was heart wrenching and definitely left me wanting the next book immediately.

This second novel in the series is gripping and sweeps the reader into a heady mix of intrigue, murder, high society manipulation and game playing, with just enough romance to tantalize. Well played Ms. Parker.

Rating: Near Perfect - Buy two copies: one for you and one for a friend.

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

Please join me at my blog: Mysteries and My Musings
http://mysterysuspence.blogspot.com ( )
  AFHeart | Dec 26, 2014 |
Having just finished and enjoyed And Only to Deceive, I thought I'd pick up another Victorian-era book; I was already in late 1800's London, so why not?

Because I read these two books back-to-back, a bit of comparison was inevitable. But really, the only thing that stood out for me was voice. Georgia's voice, in The Counterfeit Lady felt more modern, even though the author takes care with all the details. This was a less atmospheric read for me than And Only to Deceive.

Having said that, I still thoroughly enjoyed this book. I really like all the main characters: Georgia, the Duke of Blackford, Emma, Phyllida, - all of them. The Archivist Society sort of feels like one of those crime-fighting superpower cabals; only, you know, without any superpowers.

This time out it's all about a kind-of-sort-of locked room murder and the blueprints for a naval war ship gone missing. French, Germans and Russians, oh my! Everyone is scrambling to find the plans and Her Majesty's government requests the assistance of the Archivist Society. The hook: Georgia has to play the part of a wealthy widow having an affair with the Duke of Blackford, of course! It's an obvious device for anyone who read the first book, but I don't care - I wasn't looking forward to book after book of "will-they-or-won't-they". At least this way the reader gets some satisfaction from the romantic sub-plot.

The actual plot: who killed Clara?, who stole the blueprints?, who has them now? was good. In the end it's almost impossible not to have guessed who the bad guy was and be wrong, but not because it's badly written. I'll say no more about it, but if you read the book, you'll know what I mean.

I hope this series continues - I'm looking forward to book 3 and more adventures with the Archivist Society. ( )
  murderbydeath | Sep 20, 2014 |
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