Widow in Scarlet

Written by Nicole Byrd
Review by Steve Lewis

There are, in fact, two widows in scarlet appearing in this longish romantic adventure, set in England’s Regency era. The first is poverty-stricken Lucy Contrain, whose husband died an untimely death just one year earlier. The second is the famed “Scarlet Widow,” a fabulous ruby recently purchased by the Prince Regent but which has managed to disappear en route to England.

Accusing Lucy’s late husband of collaborating with the gang of thieves and murderers involved is Nicholas Ramsey, Viscount Richmond, a man whose reputation as a ladies’ man and seducer hides a highly capable agent. Lucy is at first amazed and then determined to aid the viscount’s investigations – an unlikely pair of sleuths, to be sure, but the mother-daughter team who write jointly as Nicole Byrd skillfully gloss over any quibbles that arise.

More satisfying than the mystery or its solution, of which the prologue reveals far too much, is the growing attraction between the two protagonists, in fits and starts, but in true fashion of the day. Recommended more, therefore, for Regency enthusiasts than devotees of detective tales but for the former, the spirited adventure will be all but icing on the cake.