A Useful Woman
A Rosalind Thorne Mystery
Inspired by the novels of Jane Austen, this new mystery series set in 19th-century London introduces the charming and resourceful Rosalind Thorne, a woman privy to the secrets of high society—including who among the ton is capable of murder...
The daughter of a baronet and minor heiress, Rosalind Thorne was nearly ruined after her father abandoned the family. To survive in the only world she knew, she began to manage the affairs of some of London society’s most influential women, who have come to rely on her wit and discretion.
So, when artistocratic wastrel Jasper Aimesworth is found dead in London’s most exclusive ballroom, Almack’s, Rosalind must use her skills and connections to uncover the killer from a list of suspects that includes Almack’s powerful patronesses and her former suitor Devon Winterbourne, now Lord Casselmaine.
Torn between her old love and a growing attraction to a compelling Bow Street runner, Rosalind must not only unravel the mysteries surrounding Jasper’s death, but the mysteries of her own heart as well...
Rosalind Thorne, the protagonist of this impressive first in a new Regency series from Wilde (Lord of the Rakes), lost everything when she and her mother were abandoned by her profligate father. Yet the resourceful Rosalind has managed to maintain a place on the fringes of society, becoming a "useful woman" to the fashionable ladies of London by helping manage their love affairs. When libertine Jasper Aimesworth is found dead on the floor of Almack's Assembly Rooms, Rosalind is approached by Adam Harkness, a Bow Street runner, to help him look into the matter. Rosalind discovers suspicious entanglements between Jasper and people she cares for, including a former beau of hers, Devon Winterborne, Duke of Casselmaine. Wilde brings the haute monde of early 19th-century London to vivid life, and the characters she peoples it with are complex individuals whose basic decency, or lack of it, is carefully hidden behind a facade of manners and propriety.
A bit too long
I expect mysteries to move along quickly. This one, I feel, got bogged down with too much detail about the era and it’s sensibilities. But that’s just me. The characterization was great and the plot interesting.