by Julia Quinn

July 2009
ISBN: 978-0-06-149188-7
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

Author Julia Quinn has a keen appreciation for the absurd, and it is never more evident than in What Happens in London. This slyly charming novel will have readers laughing out loud as the characters leap off the pages and into our hearts.

Harry Valentine has a gift for languages. He has used his proficiency in service to the Crown for many years, and enjoys his work. He is usually quite even tempered, but cannot concentrate under such intense scrutiny. Why is his neighbor's daughter watching him? Should he wave?

Olivia Bevelstoke cannot believe the rumors. They say he killed his first wife. They say that is the reason he is always dressed so somberly. Olivia cannot believe it. If he were a murderer he would be in gaol, not living next door. However, she has never met Sir Harry, and decides that it would be prudent to see for herself. She simply cannot walk over and knock on the door that would never do. So she must conduct her investigation from afar. He will never notice her observation. He is too focused on whatever he is doing at the desk. What is he doing anyway?

Thus begins the comedy of this lighthearted novel. Olivia is overly curious and Harry may have something to hide or not. Toss in a Russian prince, Harry's cousin Sebastian and a lurid ladies novel, and you have a rollicking good read. Olivia's mental lists are a delightful counterpoint breaking the novel's pace with nonsense - Reasons Why I Might Be Crawling About on the Floor AND Need to Avoid the Window. Their timely insertions are brilliant.

Marketed as a sequel to the The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever, I did not even get the connection until I refreshed my memory of the previous book. This book is nearly a stand-alone piece as it is written, but I hope that Sebastian causes such a ruckus that Ms. Quinn is compelled to write his story at some future date.

Reviewed in June 2009 by Paula.

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