With His Lady's Assistance

With His Lady's Assistance - Cheryl Bolen 3.5+ starsThis story is a bit unusual... it's a Regency romance + mystery, and one of the main characters is an aristocratic spinster!Lady Daphne is the eldest daughter of an earl. She's amiable enough, but she doesn't care much for fashion or hair, and she thinks like a man; consequently, she's considered "one of the guys" in ton circles. Except the Prince Regent (Prinny) knows that Lady Daphne is discreet. She's kept a few secrets of his.Captain Jack Dryden is a spy for His Majesty's Army - and a good one. He's been working with Lord Wellesley during the Peninsula Wars. But he's suddenly recalled by the Prince Regent. Why? Captain Jack is a middle-class man; he's the 2nd son of a gentleman farmer, but he's not in the ton or acquainted with the Prince Regent.The Prince Regent tells Captain Jack he's been highly recommended. There have been at least 2 attempts on Prinny's life, and he wants to get to the bottom of it and have the culprit hanged. Prinny can't leave Carlton House for fear of his life, and his daughter Princess Charlotte's birthday is 6 weeks away. Prinny is determined to be present. So Jack is given that as his deadline.And oh... he's to include Lady Daphne in his secretive mission, because she knows everything about everyone in the ton.So the handsome Captain Jack (or Captain Sublime as Daphne calls him) takes Lady Daphne into his confidence. Problem is, what ruse can they come up with for being so close - two unattached, marriagable persons? Plus, Jack's not rich enough or titled enough to be part of the ton.So Lady Daphne concocts a new identity for Jack - He's now Jack Rich, a very wealthy owner of at least one diamond mine in South Africa; he speaks Hottentot, Bantu, Greek, and Latin among his many languages. And since Lady Daphne is a blue stocking, she tells everyone they met at her favorite bookstore. Jack isn't happy about the South Africa bit nor the languages... but he does what he can to study up on South Africa and diamond mining.Can they pull this charade off and convince the ton of who Jack Rich is? If not, how will they discover the person or persons behind the assassination attempts on Prinny?================Fun book! But sometimes, the relationship part and either or both H/H lamenting got a bit long. So did some of their inquiries, probably because Princess Caroline was very dull and gross, despite her being royalty.The whodunnit isn't difficult to ascertain, especially once Daphne and Jack put their minds to it. But it's fun to follow the two of them - their brainstorming and forays into society to uncover the culprit.The romance is somewhat predictable, but it's sweet. It's not steamy at all - both characters have the "hots" for one another, but besides some discussion about the sexual mores of the ton, body parts, and sexuality, there's really nothing that pushes this book into the steamy or even some-steam arena. It's quite clean, but realistic.