Lord Perfect is the sequel to Mr. Impossible (which I read, but didn't review because I would have just copied this one), and while it's not quite as funny as Mr. Impossible, it's still pretty dang good.
Benedict Carsington, Lord Rathbourne, oldest son of the Earl of Hargate, is the aforementioned Lord Perfect. (Who, incidentally, I just don't think would pose in a door with his shirt open like that.) Never puts a foot wrong. Perfectly mannered. Married a woman he had no interest in and was decorously faithful until her death. He had a rowdy troublemaking childhood (shades of Rupert!), but these days he's perfectly dull, other than his interest in criminal affairs.
Which reminds me, I'd like to cite this quote from the Smart Bitches review of Mr. Impossible:
"Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, Virgil Pembroke turns out to be a stuffy, passive-aggressive asswipe; ref. Romance Novel Commandment No. 42: “Thou shalt not suffer a heroine who hath a happy first marriage with an excellent sex life to live, though the hero may be allowed provided the former wife be uncommon delicate of constitution and expire painfully during childbirth, consequently leading to years of self-flagellation, anguish and guilt."
I have to say that this book doesn't go with either stereotype. Benedict's wife didn't die in childbirth (she got sick from running around being a do-gooder in the poor side of town). He does have some guilt, but not in a major way. And likewise, the widowed heroine of this book actually had a HAPPY first marriage, and presumably a good sex life.
Which brings me to Bathsheba DeLucey Wingate. Bathsheba is from a NOTORIOUSLY bad, bad family. One branch of the DeLucey clan is well-behaved blue bloods, and the other half, her half, is full of criminals, liars, swindlers, and scam artists. Her now-dead husband Jack Wingate got disowned for marrying her, which is one of those Big Deal things in society. Bathsheba doesn't go around scamming people (though she can make up good lies when necessary), but her 12-year-old daughter Olivia is full-on DeLucey scam artist. Bathsheba's trying her best to get her kid away from criminal elements, but there's only so much money a girl can make as an artist/drawing instructor.
This brings us to the introduction of Olivia and Benedict's nephew (from the wife's side) Peregrine, a 13-year-old who ALWAYS wants to know why, and thus doesn't fit in well with English society. Olivia and Peregrine fight at first, but end up becoming secret pen pals. Plus Benedict, who's fascinated with the most notorious woman around despite himself, ends up hiring her to train Peregrine in drawing. Anyway, Olivia heard stories as a kid about the supposed treasure that the original Bad DeLucey (a pirate or smuggler, depending on who you ask) buried on the grounds of the family estate, and decides that she'll get that treasure for her mother. Period. Peregrine tries to talk her out of it, but ends up going along with her. Thus forcing the adults to chase after them...unchaperoned...heh heh heh.
And Rupert and Daphne show up in this book a few times, which makes me happy.
Anyway, it's not QUITE as funny as the previous book, for obvious reasons of character. However, Benedict isn't quite the stick-in-the-mud you'd think him to be, and the kids lead to some fun times. (I dearly hope someday Peregrine and Olivia get brought back. Maybe in their own novel?) And the ending has some fun surprises. Four stars from me.