Table of Contents
Praise for the Lady Arianna Regency Mysteries by Andrea Penrose
“Andrea Penrose bursts into the world of historical mysteries with a book that will delight readers.
is replete with swashbuckling action, taut suspense, and a heroine feisty enough to give the most rakish Regency cad a run for his money. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next installment!”
—Tasha Alexander, author of the Lady Emily series
“A mouthwatering combination of suspense and chocolate!”
—Lauren Willig, author of
The Orchid Affair
“A mysterious lady, bent on revenge, and a mystery-solving lord will take you on a thrilling ride through Regency England in this smashing debut novel.”
—Victoria Thompson, author of
Murder on Sisters’ Row
“Penrose deftly combines a cleverly concocted mystery with a generous dash of romance in this historical mystery.”
is an absolute delight for lovers of mysteries, Regency romances, and chocolate. . . . The recipes look mouthwateringly delicious. . . . The history is fascinating as well. . . . I am looking forward to more adventures of Arianna and Saybrook.”
The Historical Novels Review
“This Regency mystery is an exciting historical. . . . Andrea Penrose has written a super early-nineteenth-century whodunit that fans will appreciate and [they’ll] want a second helping.”
Midwest Book Review
“Andrea Penrose whips up a scrumptious chocolaty treat for her debut historical mystery. . . .
spoons out a potent cocktail laced heavily with sordid intrigue and unconventional characters that will have you savoring every last drop. This was a terrific tale that will definitely have a spot on my keeper shelf.”
“The plot is tightly constructed. . . . The characters are well drawn and the interactions between some of them were interesting and thought-provoking.”
“A ripping good yarn.”
—I Love a Mystery
Other Books in the
Lady Arianna Regency Mystery Series
Published by New American Library, a division of
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,
New York, New York 10014, USA
Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto,
Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2,
Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124,
Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)
Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park,
New Delhi–110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, Auckland 0632,
New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue,
Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices:
80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
First published by Obsidian, an imprint of New American Library,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
First Printing, December 2011
Copyright © Andrea DaRif, 2011
All rights reserved
OBSIDIAN and logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
ISBN : 978-1-101-55912-3
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
The recipes contained in this book are to be followed exactly as written. The publisher is not responsible for your specific health or allergy needs that may require medical supervision. The publisher is not responsible for any adverse reactions to the recipes contained in this book.
The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.
The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.
For Saybrook College,
a fabulous community of students, scholars, and Fellows
whose camaraderie and intellectual curiosity is a source of
While writing a story is a very solitary endeavor, the making of a finished book requires the hard work and dedication of a number of people. I’m very lucky to have an amazing support group who listen patiently to my questions, endure my querulous whining, offer sage advice . . . and help me keep the Muse well supplied with chocolate!
As always, I’m profoundly grateful to Gail Fortune, my agent, for all the brainstorming chats, and to Sandy Harding, my editor, for all her incredibly thoughtful suggestions and criticisms.
And no author could wish for more wonderful—and brilliant—friends! That they are willing to sit up into the wee hours of the night parsing the arcane little details of history and sharing their expertise is not only amazingly enlightening, but also provides a modicum of reassurance that I am not the only one who finds the past fascinating. So I raise a glass of wine (well, maybe two) to offer special thanks to Ammanda McCabe, Lauren Willig, Tracy Grant, and John Ettinger. You guys are the best!
“Where there is mystery, it is generally suspected there must also be evil.”
—George Gordon Byron
From Lady Arianna’s Chocolate Notebooks
Spanish Colonial Brownies
¾ cup olive oil, plus more to grease pan
⅓ cup cocoa powder
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2½ cups sugar
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
2½ ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
Fleur de sel
, for sprinkling
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water until smooth. Add the unsweetened chocolate and whisk until the chocolate has melted. Whisk in the olive oil. Add the eggs, yolks and vanilla, and continue to whisk until combined. Add the sugar, whisking until fully incorporated. Using a spatula, fold in the flour and salt until just combined. Fold in the bittersweet chocolate pieces.
3. Pour half the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Sprinkle 1 cup of the shredded coconut on top of the batter. Pour in the remaining batter and smooth. Top with remaining coconut. Sprinkle with
fleur de sel
and bake until just set and firm to the touch, about 25 to 30 minutes. (These brownies solidify as they cool, so inserting a toothpick to check for doneness will not work; it will not come out clean.) Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before cutting into 2-inch squares.
he book’s binding was crafted out of dark, fine-grained calfskin, its richly tooled embossings age-mellowed to the color of . . .
“Chocolate,” murmured Arianna Hadley. Removing her gloves, which were still sticky from foraging through the food stalls at Covent Garden, she traced the delicate leaf design centered beneath the gilded title. “How lovely,” she added, and then carefully opened the cover.
Dust motes danced up into the air, tiny sparkles of sunlight in the shadowed corner of the alcove. As she shifted a step closer to the diamond-paned window, the scrape of her sturdy half-boots on the Aubusson carpet momentarily disturbed the hush that hung over the ornate bookcases.