Jayne Ann Krentz has been a favorite author of mine for years, both as Jayne, and as her historical alter ego, Amanda Quick. I love her heroes . They like to think they’re alpha but the heroines always know they’re putty in their dainty little hands. Affair wasn’t necessarily disappointing because an Amanda Quick book always features great storytelling. Still, it was lacking. . .something. Something like mystery, and because this book is long on mystery and short on romance, that’s a problem.
Baxter St. Ives is a chemist, and like most scientific types, he’s a bit on the nerdy side, glasses and all, logical thought-processes and all. To say he’s stodgy is to put it mildly. His cohort in crime, as it were, is Charlotte Arkendale, spinster and private investigator (yes, this is regency England!).
Because her step-father used up her and her sister’s inheritance before his death, she’s had to fend for both of them, and is determined that other women don’t fall victim to such unscrupulous behavior. When a client is murdered, she decides to investigate the death.
As it so happens, her man of affairs has retired. She needs a new assistant and decides that he should also be her bodyguard. Baxter St. Ives, as it happens, has been asked by his aunt to investigate the same murder. His aunt believes Charlotte is the murderess. Though Charlotte is sure Baxter isn’t right for the job, he manages to convince her otherwise. We’re off and running.
The relationship between Baxter and Charlotte is some of Quick’s best. He gets frustrated with her. She never stays put when he tells her to; he worries about her all the time. She, on the other hand, forces him out of his stodginess and more into the real world. She confuses him, makes him unreasonable, raises his passions. He’s a scientist, he has no time for passions! I loved their relationship. She never doubts him for a moment, much as others are trying to put doubts in her head. There’s also Baxter’s half- brother (since he’s the bastard in the family, Baxter that is, not the half-brother). I liked the relationship between Baxter and Hamilton, too; it represented many half-sibling relationships that turn out well in the end.
Affair is quickly paced, and is a light read, as I’ve come to appreciate in an Amanda Quick book, along with the wonderful wit. Surprisingly, the hero and the heroine don’t marry within the confines of the story, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t intimate until the very end, it just means that there wasn’t quite enough sensuality in the book, which I found disappointing. I don’t want sex on every other page but this time, the author was amazingly light with it. Most bothersome, however, were the lack of surprises in the story. Half-way through, I figured out who the real murderer was. Since I am one of those readers who never seems to guess the bad guy until he’s revealed to me, I can only conclude that there were too many clues given in this instance.
The story-line itself is strong – Jayne Ann Krentz in all her guises spins a great yarn. But I found myself thinking she needs to vary the formula a bit. She knows her readers and what they like, but it’s starting to get stale. Like others who have enjoyed this author over the years, I’m beginning to yearn for some new kick and am frustrated by the same old thing, with only the names and faces changed. I enjoyed the story, and you probably will too, but if you’re looking for something different, you won’t get it in this one.