Death on a Silver Tray

Written by Rosemary Stevens
Review by Trudi Jacobson

Beau Brummell is narrator in this frothy Regency mystery. I am a bit surprised that his dressing ritual and the time he spends trend-setting allow him enough leisure to detect, but a two-hour session for getting shaved and dressed allows lots of thinking time. Readers learn a great deal about fabrics, clothing styles, fashionable (and not so fashionable) fabric colors, and other more general Regency customs and institutions.

The plot involves the murder of one very nasty Society woman, and the suspicion that she was murdered by her young companion. The Duchess of York, who recommended the companion for this position, begs Brummell to discover who is really guilty. The characters, even the secondary ones, are well-drawn personalities. Many of them were actual people living in 1805, such as the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Clarence, and the Duke and Duchess of York (as well as the Duke’s mistress).

This book has been receiving a great deal of acclaim on this side of the Atlantic, and while it did grow on me as I continued to read, Brummell’s personality grated—he was just a bit too precious for my taste, even though this most likely does reflect his personality accurately.