Murder While I Smile (Regency Romantic Mystery)

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9780449224946: Murder While I Smile (Regency Romantic Mystery)

Mystery and intrigue once again provide adventure for the Berkeley Brigade--the aristocratic foursome with a nose for the ton's most incriminating scandals. . . .

Headstrong Corinne deCoventry, dashing Lord Luten, dilettante poet Sir Reginald Prance, and the delightfully bungling Coffen Pattle join wits and wiles in an imbroglio over forged paintings . . . and murder.

A gorgeous, very alluring French comtesse sets her sights on Luten, who is officially engaged to Corinne--while Prance dreams of passionate amour with the exotic seductress. But the various affairs soon reveal dark secrets, as Corinne realizes her betrothed is much closer to the dealings than she ever suspected!

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Review:

This is Joan Smith's third book in her Berkeley Brigade series. The first two titles, Murder Will Speak and Murder and Misdeeds were released in 1997. The Berkeley Brigade, are leaders of the young ton. As the book opens Corinne, the Countess de Coventry, Reginald Prance, and Coffen Prattle, Corinne's cousin, are inspecting a painting for sale by Lady Yavonne Chamaude, a French Comtesse. Both Reginald and Coffen are enamoured of the well-preserved Yavonne, mistress of the Marquis of Yarrow. Coffen buys the painting against Corinne's warnings. She doesn't trust the Comtesse. Then Luten, Corinne's fiancé finds that The Armaments Committee is about to award a contract for rockets to an inferior manufacturer. He suspects Lord Yarrow is involved and his suspicions are increased when one of the committee members, who had information on the inferior rockets, is shot to death outside of his home. When the painting is delivered to Coffen, a strange burglary takes place leading the four to believe the Comtesse is into art forgery. Luten suspects a connection between Yavonne, Yarrow and the contract. He launches an investigation, causing poor Corinne anguish because she believes Luten is having an affair with Yavonne. Luten and Corinne visit the painter suspected of the forgeries, but before they can prove anything he's murdered. I think I might have enjoyed this book more if I had read the first two books in the series. Although it can and does stand alone, I felt that some of the characterization alluded to in this book was probably more thoroughly explored in the other titles. I did get peeved at Luten for not telling Corinne exactly what he was up to, and irritated at Corinne for suspecting Luten of infidelity at every turn. Trust is a marvelous thing. Still the mystery was well done, and kept me guessing throughout the book. "Joan Smith's writing sparkles with Regency humor and wit! She captures the essence of a bygone era "The Berkeley Brigade set about solving mysteries in their unique and entertaining manner.Phoebe Imel -- Copyright © 1998 Literary Times, Inc. All rights reserved -- From Literary Times

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