Lord Julian Caldicott is summoned to the country home of a family friend to look for a prize foxhound who’s gone missing. The purloined canine turns out to be only the tail of a series of puzzles involving family secrets, slander, blackmail, and fraud. Matters grow more baffling when Julian is told to drop the investigation, though suspects abound, motives are multiplying apace, and a large sum of money has come into play.
Julian survives an attempt on his life, and endures slights to his honor rather than give up on his objective. Before the truth is revealed–and the hound brought safely home–he will have to choose between protecting his only surviving brother from ruin, or allowing a scoundrel to get away with the next thing to murder.
Lord Julian Caldicott, still recovering from his years at war, is tasked with investigating the circumstances of a small boy who could be either the salvation of the Waltham dukedom or a pawn in a scheme to sink the Caldicott family in endless scandal. The boy is alone in the world, though any one of several women might be his mother, and they all claim that Julian’s brother, the late Lord Harry Caldicott, was the child’s father.
To uncover the boy’s parentage, Julian must face demons from his own past, solve puzzles left behind by Lord Harry, and thwart enemies who wish the lad harm for reasons of their own. His investigation takes him from barracks, to brothels, and to Hyde Park by dark of night. The longer he searches, the more tangled—and dangerous—the mystery becomes, for Julian and for the innocent child who deserves to know the truth of his own birthright.
A matter of matrimony…
Lord Julian Caldicott is summoned to the family seat by his ducal brother, whose bachelorhood is imperiled by the very determined Lady Clarissa Valmond. As the only titled Eligible the hostesses avoid including on their guest lists, Julian has little sympathy for the duke’s situation. He nonetheless agrees to lend a hand, because Clarissa is the last person who should be wearing the Caldicott family tiara.
The situation takes a nasty turn when Clarissa’s brother, a talented artist, goes missing shortly before his debut London exhibition. Julian must unravel conflicting motives, dishonest witnesses, confusing evidence, old lies, and the real threats facing the duke if he’s to find the errant viscount before a fate worse than ruin befalls both surviving Caldicott brothers.
Lord Julian Caldicott has come home from the war in ragged health and with a reputation in tatters. All he wants is to recuperate in private without bringing any further scandal on the family’s good name. His godmother inveigles him into serving as her escort to a rural house party, whereupon circumstances conspire to prevent Julian from resuming his reclusive existence.
Julian becomes the subject of rumors, lies, and whispers, and soon he’s faced with a choice: Wage one more battle for honor’s sake, or be branded a traitor to all that he holds dear. He will enlist unlikely allies, face old demons, and vex every other guest on the premises, but he will not stop until he’s brought a criminal to justice–or dies trying.
Lady Violet and Sebastian MacHeath are trying to forge a cordial marriage out of unlikely beginnings. When they are invited to a summer house party, they accept, hoping to make the excursion into a belated wedding journey of sorts–or at least a respite from meddling relatives. No sooner do they arrive, than their host’s ward is accused of petty wrongdoing. As the charges escalate into familial acrimony and worse, Violet determines that a scheme is afoot to discredit the young man.
Unraveling the mystery before a criminal investigation goes too far will require that Sebastian and Violet trust one another as they haven’t in years. They can get to the bottom of the unfortunate developments at the house party, but can they solve the mystery of how to be husband and wife in more than name?
While Lady Violet Belmaine is busy sorting out the odd turns her life has recently taken, Hugh St. Sevier repairs to his Kent estate in hopes of embarking on the placid life of a rural physician. Alas, for St. Sevier, the village of St. Ivo has more secrets than it has pots of heartease, and the good doctor will once again find himself the target of rumors and threats.
Somebody is rigging St. Ivo’s hound races, setting neighbor against neighbor, and turning what should be a friendly entertainment into an occasion for brawling. As an expert on medicinal herbs and soporifics, St. Sevier comes under suspicion. St. Ivo badly needs a physician, and the village also needs somebody to unravel the intrigues that are tearing it apart. St. Sevier can’t get to the bottom of the mystery on his own, but help–in the persons of Lady Violet and Sebastian MacHeath, is on the way!
Lady Violet Belmaine is just finding her balance as a widow who has recently put off mourning when she’s summoned to the family seat to celebrate a sibling’s wedding. Hugh St. Sevier’s escort makes the journey somewhat bearable, while Sebastian MacHeath‘s presence among the guests is a more dubious blessing.
Violet is managing as best she can with her stubborn Papa, difficult brothers, and well meaning aunties, when the bride goes missing. Tempers flare, old secrets come out at the worst times, and Violet can rely on only St. Sevier and Sebastian to help her find the bride… until she discovers that St. Sevier was the last person seen with the missing lady!
Why must a widow newly emerged from mourning be invited to every wedding in the realm? Lady Violet Belmaine ponders that conundrum while traveling from London to rural Scotland at the invitation of an old friend. Escorted by her dashing physician friend, Hugh St. Sevier, Violet prepares to again subject herself to a nuptial celebration, except… the groom fails to appear.
Matters become more interesting when Violet discovers that Sebastian MacHeath is laird of the nearest castle, and well acquainted with the bride and her family. Mysterious cousins, surly neighbors, and appearances much at variance with the facts all confound Violet’s efforts to find the missing groom, and any designs she might have on her handsome escort!
Having enjoyed her tour of the Scottish countryside, Lady Violet Belmaine is reluctant to return to London. Her escort, Hugh St. Sevier, suggests a detour to the Lakes, where his former army connections have invited him to renew old acquaintances. Violet is happy to enjoy the breathtaking scenery, but all is not right with St. Sevier’s friends.
Their host’s estate is struggling, several marriages from the old regiment appear to be faltering, and somebody is intent on making a bad situation worse. From slashed portraits to sheep trampling the garden, St. Sevier’s former comrades are engaged in some sort of rural war against an unknown foe. Sebastian MacHeath arrives to help solve the mystery, but his presence only makes matters more tense. Violet refuses to leave without putting the puzzle pieces together, no matter how dangerous the process or how shocking the eventual solution.
If it’s not weddings, then hapless widows are expected to attending christenings… Lady Violet returns with St. Sevier to her family seat, and finds Derwent Hall at sixes and sevens upon the occasion of her nephew’s christening. Other guests have brought their children along to celebrate the occasion, and Sebastian MacHeath is on hand to serve as godfather.
Nobody seems to be getting along, despite the happy nature of the gathering. Summer heat builds to an unbearable crescendo as clandestine affairs, marital troubles, and family tensions escalate. Then somebody starts stealing little girls, and Lady Violet must figure out who, why, and how the kidnapper can be foiled.