Historical romance readers will be very, very happy with Amanda Quick/Jayne Ann Krentz/Jayne Castle’s newest ‘Arcane Society’ novel, “The Perfect Poison”. This is the long awaited story of Caleb Jones, founder of Jones & Jones Investigations. As a long-time and fervent (rabid might be more truthful) fan of the author, I loved how she contrived connections, both written and implied, to her contemporary ‘Arcane Society’ books and her Jayne Castle Harmony/St Helens books. But even if you’ve not been following any of those books, “The Perfect Poison” is a perfect delight.
Lucinda lost her father, his business partner, and her fiance within two horrible months a year and a half ago. However, it was the fiance’s death that caused Lucinda’s infamous notoriety. You see, when the fiance of an expert botanist dies…well, rumors run rampant; and the ton loves nothing more than a good, juicy scandal! Lucinda is also a member of the Arcane Society and assists a certain local police inspector (also a Society member) in determining death by botanical means. So when she’s called to assist in the inspector’s latest case, and discovers the means of death was not only poison–but poison from an extremely rare plant that was recently stolen from her conservatory… well, she calls upon the unique services of Caleb Jones, psychical investigator.
Caleb has his hands full with his new agency. As a strategic and hunter ‘talent’, his skills make him uniquely qualified, and quite gratified, to do this type of work…if he just didn’t have to deal with PEOPLE. Caleb also has another little problem. You see, he’s pretty sure he’s inherited the insanity that comes with his particular family talent and fears his descent into madness is closer than ever. But it only takes a few minutes in Lucinda’s company for Caleb to realize something amazing…she calms his tension and invigorates his passion. And for a man who can’t pass up a puzzle, she’s the most interesting puzzle he’s ever seen.
But there’s trouble ahead for these two. A group of power hungry talents have created their own society within the Society. Their aim is to recreate a dangerous drug that can enhance psychic talents…but also kills. It’s up to Caleb and Lucinda (despite Caleb’s protests) to stop them.
There’s so much I enjoy about Quick’s writing. Her historical novels have lots of sensual tension, but the actual deeds themselves are few and mostly PG-rated. Not to say I’m averse to hotter, but it’s still a fairly easy gauge for me…if it’s a Quick novel, it’s PG. Also, her wonderful and witty dialogue always lures me into another chapter…and another chapter…and another chapter…until I look up and find myself done with the book and wanting to go back and read it again! There’s humor, passion, suspense, very little real violence, a tidy mystery, and always a happy ending. Who can resist?