The Benevolent Society of Ill-Mannered Ladies

Berkley. (Ill-Mannered Ladies, Bk. 1). May 2023. 464p. ISBN 9780593440810. pap. $17. M
In 1812, Lady Augusta “Gus” Colebrook and her twin sister Julia are 42. They are considered spinsters, lucky to have their own income and their own household. Despite their status in society, Gus is bored. After a successful retrieval of letters for a friend threatened with blackmail, she has an idea: Why shouldn’t she and Julia have adventures while helping other women? For their first case, they plan to rescue the childless Lady Caroline Thorne, who fears her husband intends to kill her. If the sisters can get her out of her house, her relatives will shelter her. On the way to the Thorne estate, the sisters’ carriage is attacked by highwaymen. Gus shoots and injures one of them, but Julia recognizes him as Lord Evan Belford, convicted of murder in a duel 20 years earlier and exiled to Australia. Now the sisters have an escaped felon as a secret partner in their attempts to save women and children in Regency England.
VERDICT Fans of Georgette Heyer’s Regency novels will savor this mystery from “Dark Days Club” series author Goodman. Well-developed characters, a touch of romance, and cases involving social issues of the period enhance the experience.
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