From Publishers Weekly
Even a month-long seaside holiday can't keep the spy-mistresses of the exclusive Nell Gwynne brothel away from trouble in this comic steampunk novella. This time trouble arrives in the form of Tredway Pickett, an expatriate American yachtsman who seeks glory in the service of Queen Victoria by sinking French ships with his newly devised submarine. Revolutions breaking out all over Europe are tying up the operatives of the Gentlemen's Speculative Society, so the ladies are left to use their own ingenuity and a few super science devices to stop Pickett before he ignites war. Baker (1952–2010) originated the Nell Gwynne series with the Nebula-winning The Women of Nell Gwynne's (2009), and her death left this episode incomplete; it was finished by Bartholomew, Baker's sister. References to other books in the series will entice her fans, and the mildly naughty nautical double entendres and period-style illustrations by J.K. Potter will entertain readers who appreciate Victoriana. (Jan.)
From the Inside Flap
The Ladies of Nell Gwynne's are not your run-of-the-mill demi-mondaines. They are refined and educated ladies all, engaged in the more elegant and expensive forms of carnal delight in order to make their way in a hard world. But they also serve the Queen and the Empire, as the invaluable Ladies' Auxiliary of the technocratic Gentlemen's Speculative Society.However, even the most dedicated operatives need a holiday from time to time. Nell Gwynne's shuts down for a month at the height of every summer for recreation and relaxation. This summer the Ladies have retired to a respectable boarding house in Torquay, since Mrs. Corvey, the Proprietress, is very fond of the sea. She also needs a deal of relaxing, as the cook at Nell Gwynne's has abruptly gotten religion and departed without notice for a less exotic position
That is Mrs. Corvey's only worry, though, when she and the Ladies arrive in Torquay, the Riviera of England. They all look forward to taking the sun, some moderate sea bathing, reading novels and indulging in a little light archaeology. As Hebertina happily observes, Here's to blessed chastity! However, Torquay has recently been invaded by an eccentric and overly romantic American, who has peculiar intentionsboth toward the placid coast of Tor Bay, and the unassailable privacy of Lady Beatrice. There are rumours and sightings of a sea monster. There are dead butlers and thugs and fox terriers in inconvenient places. And the Ladies cannot summon assistance from the GSS, all of whose agents are pursuing convoluted schemes abroad in Europe.It appears their holidays will not be nearly as quiet as might be hoped
but they will certainly be interesting.