The Scandalous Life of a True Lady
by Barbara Metzger
Harry Harmon has assumed a variety of disguises in the course of his work as the premier spymaster for the British government. His ability to tell when someone is lying has made him a master interrogator. With death threats against him, Harry's last job before retirement is to attend a house party to discover a traitor and a blackmailer. This party is being held for men and their mistresses so he needs someone special. None of the courtesans he has interviewed will fill the role. His surprise when he learns about Simone Ryland is nothing compared to what they sight of her will do to him.
Simone has led a difficult life since the death of her parents. She needs a job to keep her brother in school but each time she starts a new job, her beauty leads to the loss of the job without a reference. She has no money to pay her rent or buy food. In despair, she approaches a madam who owns the house across from her rooms. She asks that Mrs. Burton help her hold an auction with Simone as the prize. Mrs. Burton tells her that she has just the thing for Simone. When Simone meets Major Harrison, her life will be altered forever.
While I didn't find this quite as amusing as Ms. Metzger's other books, it had her trademark situational comedy and witty reparte. The story is complicated with the many characters that Harry plays and the wrap up of his old job with the new investigations.
The interactions between the hero and heroine are well written and there are some dangerous situations which arise. Fans of Ms. Metzger won't want to miss this story with the family who is able to discern when someone lies. There are many parts worth savoring in The Scandalous Life of a True Lady and it is a welcome addition to my library.
“When one hires a mistress for a house party, life has a way of going awry.”
June 2008, 343 pages
Harry Harmon has already written his own obituary - that is, the obituary for the old spymaster Major Harrison, one of his aliases. After his alter ego's staged death, Harry's next assignment is to spy on enemies at a country house party. To do that he'll require a courtesan who is learned, truthful, and beautiful.
With no guardian, dowry, or references, sensible, smart Simone Ryland has come to Mrs. Burton's bawdy house in search of work. Buth when the madam notices the virgin's regal, exotic beauty, she packs her off with Harry. Soon Simone, fearful of what she's only heard in whispers, is in for something truly thrilling - something that looks a lot like love.