Sherry's Comet by Juliette Leigh
(Zebra Regency, $4.99, G) ISBN 0-8217-5891-8
***
Whoops! Sometimes in this reviewing business, things get away from you. Like the page proofs for Sherry's Comet which arrived in the mail a couple of months ago only to get buried on my less than neat desk. When, on one of my periodic attempts to bring order into my life, I discovered them, I realized that this is an April release and is thus already on the shelves. But I decided to proceed with the review, especially since this is a pleasant little Regency that fans of the genre might well enjoy.

The book begins with a murder, but the wrong man gets killed. Instead of shooting Sheridan Devlin, the assassins' bullet hits his traveling companion, the innocuous Reverend Farnsworth. Sheridan or Sherry as he is known recognizes that he was the target; after all, there had been at least one other suspicious incident. So he plants his papers on Farnsworth's body and sets out to discover who could have targeted him for death. He is sure that the answer lies at Wynwoode, the estate his father has just inherited from his brother. Sheridan had come from America to claim the inheritance.

The scene shifts to Wynwoode where Miss Anika Owen and her stepbrother, Robbie, are watching from the woods as the new Lord Wyncomb's (a cousin has claimed the title at the seeming death of the heir) men are mistreating a lovely horse. When they overhear the trainer order the beautiful Comet put down, Niki and Robbie decide to steal the horse. As they are trying to get away, they run into a mysterious man in the woods. Mr. Smith, as he calls himself, has an American accent and seems to know horses. He helps them flee with Comet and they provide him and the horse with shelter in a remote barn.

What follows is a Regency mystery story, as Niki, Sherry, Robbie and his brother Cam set out to discover exactly what dastardly deeds have been perpetrated by the supposed Lord Wyncomb, so they can bring him to justice. And, in the process, guess what? Niki and Sherry fall in love, although Niki remains uncertain about Sherry's feelings.

There is also a nice secondary romance between Niki's friend Sarah and Cam's friend, Lord Alston. There are some humorous moments provided by Sarah's mother, a social climbing embarrassment. But mostly, there is the quest to discover the truth that surrounds the deaths of Sherry's cousins and uncle as well as the attempts on his life. The villain is certainly villainous, if somewhat stereotypical. In fact, all the characters in Sherry's Comet are quite recognizable, the stock characters of Regency romance.

All in all, Sherry's Comet is a pleasant enough Regency romance with mystery overtones. Or maybe it's a pleasant enough mystery with Regency overtones. I imagine that fans of Regency romance will find it an enjoyable enough read. It has nothing that sets it apart from other similar books, but it did keep me reading despite a bad head cold and it took my mind off my misery. A nice book with nice people (except for the villain, of course).

--Jean Mason


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