Christmas Awards 2011

Monday, 8 March 2010

The Debonair Duke





ISBN 978-0-7090-8289-7.

Lady Pamela Taylor was finding her ‘come out ‘in London decidedly dull. Her father the Earl of Greshham was as usual reading the daily papers at the breakfast table and bemoaning the state of crime in London. Apparently there had been several daring jeweler robberies of late.

Whenever Pamela asked questions about this or any other news her father would tell her that young ladies did not involve themselves in such things, thus adding to the boredom of each day. Pamela would indulge herself by reading the articles of interest when her father had left for his daily, dull routine.

The earl of Gresham was very impressed with the knowledge of a certain, Duke of Wrexford, who it seems, had helped with installing a modern safe in their house, so keeping his wife’s jewels secure. The same Duke had apparently forestalled the attempted robbery in a large house in London and was well respected as a ‘solver ‘of mysteries. So when a mystery presented itself to her, in the form of a beautiful Sapphire and Diamond necklace delivered to her one morning, Pamela determined to enlist the help of the Duke. The necklace was delivered in a brown leather box, it had no address on the front of the package, but inside was a note which said ‘keep this for me –for us- until I come for both of my treasures’ and it was signed JR. Pamela was startled as she knew no one who would send her such a magnificent piece and indeed it was unheard of for a lady to accept such a present except from her husband or a relative. Lady Pamela wondered which’ Lady Pamela’ it was intended for, it was certainly not her. What was she to do with it? She felt that she could not tell her parents as they were like to blame her for receiving such an unsuitable gift, but she certainly had no idea from whom it could have come, it was clearly a mistake. She made up her mind to ask for the help of the famous Duke of Wexford without delay. Lady Pamela sent a letter to his address asking for his help.

The Duke met Pamela as she had suggested, in the park and was intrigued by her and the mysterious gift. When she asked if he thought it could be part of a haul of jewellery, stolen lately in London, he seemed to doubt this possibility but he determined to call in Bow Street and enquire if this particular piece had been reported as stolen.

If it had not, he decided that the best way to start their search was by finding out who, with these initials, could afford to give such an expensive gift. For this, he determined to enlist the help of a close friend and his young wife Lady Anne and the use of their library.

Pamela is unwilling to tell her parents about the necklace as she thinks they will blame her for encouraging some suitor without their knowledge.

After researching the initials JR for some while and finding nothing of real interest, it is decided that Pamela should wear the jewels and perhaps this way the owner will come forward.

A story is told to her parents which, though unlikely, they do believe as it has to do with an eccentric Uncle, who never leaves his home, and a lost love of his youth.

This does bring some surprising results and some danger too. There are many events to explore before this story reaches its ending.

An enjoyable tale with some surprises, a good read for lovers of this genre.

I award this book 4.5 Red Roses. AS

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