A Duel for Christmas (Pevensey Mysteries) (Volume 3)

Written by Rosanne E. Lortz
Review by Misty Urban

Blending a witty, charming Regency romance with a whodunit, this sparkling, polished tale finds newly widowed Lady Maud Worlington sharing a kiss under the mistletoe with the glowingly attractive Duke of Tilbury, some years younger than she. While their indiscreet encounter prompts interest on both sides, Maud is contending with the unwanted attentions of her obsequious cousin, blackmail from her oily stepson, an ailing father, and her madcap brother Will, betrothed to the Duke’s guileless sister. Then a shocking death brings Bow Street Runner Jacob Pevensey on the scene to sort through the coils of deception, menace, and murder, and the clever inspector’s investigation casts the various romances into the shade. As is typical for the genre, all of Maud’s problems will be solved by securing marriage to an eligible man, but the scenes are consistently enlivened by endearing secondary characters, including Maud’s reliable brother Ralph and a droll French marquis. The writing thrums with precise detail and period speech, and the many subplots move briskly toward a tense conclusion involving the promised duel. One needn’t have read the two previous Pevensey books to enjoy this accomplished holiday romance and its dash of mayhem.