Portraying the true diversity of the Regency-era and the hidden intrigue of England's abolitionist movement, this vibrant, inclusive new historical mystery from acclaimed author Vanessa Riley features an engaging heroine with an independent streak, a notorious past, and a decided talent for sleuthing...
Pressed into a union of convenience, Lady Abigail Worthing knew better than to expect love. Her marriage to an absent lord does at least provide some comforts, including a box at the Drury Lane theater, owned by the playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan. Abigail has always found respite at the theater, away from the ton's judgmental stares and the risks of her own secret work to help the cause of abolition--and her fears that someone from her past wants her permanently silenced. But on one particular June evening everything collides, and the performance takes an unwelcome turn . . .
Onstage, a woman emits a scream of genuine terror. A man has been found dead in the prop room, stabbed through the heart. Abigail's neighbor, Stapleton Henderson, is also in attendance, and the two rush backstage. The magistrate, keen to avoid bringing more attention to the case and making Lady Worthing more of a target, asks Abigail not to investigate. But she cannot resist, especially when the usually curmudgeonly Henderson offers his assistance.
Abigail soon discovers a tangled drama that rivals anything brought to the stage, involving gambling debts, a beautiful actress with a parade of suitors, and the very future of the Drury Lane theatre. For Abigail the case is complicated still further, for one suspect is a leading advocate for the cause dearest to her heart--the abolition of slavery within the British empire. Uncovering the truth always comes at a price. But this time, it may be far higher than she wishes to pay.
Vanessa Riley is an award-winning author of historical romance, mystery, and fiction novels featuring realistic multicultural communities and powerful persons of color. To fuel her interest in the Regency and early-Victorian eras, she made time for attending renaissance fairs and consuming period novels and films while obtaining her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and a master's in industrial engineering and engineering management from Stanford University, as well as a BS and MS in mechanical engineering from Penn State University. A frequent speaker at literary, women's, and STEM events, she lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her military husband and teenage kid. Visit her online at VanessaRiley.com.