Anything you can do, I can do better

A Boldly Daring Scheme by Lynn Messina

r/suggestmeabook: I want a frothy Regency mystery tinged with romance told by a female protagonist coming to grips with her own shortcomings.

Regency cozy mystery

Movie rating: PG

Pages: 263

Publisher: Potatoworks Press

Series: Beatrice Hyde-Clare Mysteries

From the publisher: Finally, Flora Hyde-Clare has wrest the narrative from Beatrice by finding her own compelling murder mystery to solve. Well, it’s not entirely her own because the victim is her cousin’s former beau.

As usual, Lynn Messina delivers. I’m pretty sure you could read this, the seventh in the series, without having read the others, as the protagonist is, as indicated by the cover and the blurb, the cousin of the Beatrice for whom the series is named.

Flora’s voice is different than that of Beatrice, upon which Messina should be congratulated. Beatrice, much more self-aware, would not make the kinds of accidentally funny comments that Flora does.

To be caught—gasp!—breathing hard was really beyond the pale of acceptable behavior. Mama might as well pack up my things and send me back to Sussex in disgrace.

Lynn Messina, A Boldly Daring Scheme

She could be unsympathetic, with her overweening concern for her standing in the ton and her desire for a particular red dress, but she is beginning to interrogate her own attitudes and actions which helps overcome the moments of small mindedness. She’s flawed, but redeemable.

Men can be so prickly in matters involving their integrity, for they are always so concerned about how others perceive them. They worry about appearing caddish more than acting caddish.

Lynn Messina, A Boldly Daring Scheme

The novel follows the usual formula of the woman trying to act independently in a world that won’t allow her to, requiring the intervention of an amused and charmed male, but that’s part of the joy of these books. There are times when a little security, a little romance, and a little formula is just the comfort read you need, and Messina excels at granting that bit of ease.