I used to read gothic romances by Catherine Coulter and Louisa May Alcott (she wrote Gothics under the pseudonym A.M. Barnard and I would recommend the book A Whisper in the Dark for those with interest) and that's what this story sort of reminds me of (excluding the humor of course), only set in the Regency period; the same underlying menace and intriguing male characters who were either foppish dandies or cool observers and female characters a bit too high strung and overwrought. Heyer puts a lot of effort into describing exactly how the clothes, buildings, conversation would have been for the period, as well as each character's voice matching their station in life and ancestry (e.g. we are told that the retainer Barrows talks in a less refined Sussex dialect). An admirable effort.
I have to admit after reading two Regency books in a row I am dizzy with period language...not sure if I will read These Old Shades next...I look forward to the story but need a change of pace.
My Rating: 4.0