There are lots of mysteries in this book. Was Edward Grey murdered? If so, who did it? Why? How? Where have the mysteriously threatening notes been coming from? Who would want to kill this charming and beloved man?
If, as seems likely, Edward was killed with poison, what was it? How was it done? When? Who had an opportunity to administer something before the dinner party where the dead man collapsed?
The widow, Lady Julia Grey, hires a detective whom she doesn't like at all to help her figure out some of the answers to these puzzles. Who is this man? "A Savoyard count with a dark past full of misdeeds? Is he a Bonaparte prince in disguise, biding his time until he can claim the throne?" What is the mysterious ailment from which he suffers and what triggers it?
I've read a lot of novels with love stories in them, and I've met a lot of heroes over the years. But never, since Mr Darcy walked into that ball at Merryton, have I met a man as intriguing, as dashing, as captivating, as sexy as Nicholas Barbanes.
There's one other mystery in this book. In the back there's a page describing the type in which the text is printed, Berkeley Oldstyle. It's described as a beautiful text face, distinctive for the spur at the apex of the capital A. This makes the A look a little like it's been out in a strong west wind. I like it.
Berkeley Oldstyle is also distinctive for its elegant ampersand. I read the whole book not just looking for clues to the mystery and to the identify of Barbanes. I also spent the entire time looking for one of those oh, so elegant ampersands. Nada. Maybe in the next book. And there is going to be a next book. That is not in question.