*** Castle Rouge, Carole Nelson Douglas, 2002
There are many tense moments in this conclusion to the story begun in Chapel Noir. And although Nell remains a bit too discursive for my taste, she is finally beginning to develop beyond the priggish prude that inhabits the earlier books. And I still find myself skimming over long sections of backstory rehearsing things we already know or "sermons" on various topics, such as gender role expectations and such.
In addition to the existing historical characters that populate previous books and this one, we add a nascent Rasputin.
Here's a nice quote: Through the fog and smoke the streets shone like a black cat's well-licked coat.