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Letters for a Spy

Elizabeth could not be more delighted by the prospect of a quiet spell in the country.

Elizabeth’s suspicions about the Manor are awakened when she discovers a strange letter addressed to the manor house has been slipped into her guide book.
Elizabeth finds herself reacquainted with her former lover, However, he hardly recognises her.

The novel was first published by Robert Hale in 1970 and was dedicated to an old friend of ACL’s, E M Allcott. The titles is taken from a poem by Rudyard Kipling that includes the line ‘Laces for a lady, letters for a spy’. 
It  was also published by Corgi as a paperback in 1975.

The novel was later published under the title of The Sentimental Spy by Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, as a paperback in the US and Canada.

Elizabeth Thorne has finally seized the opportunity to assert her independence… She is twenty-five and slowly slipping into spinsterhood when she receives the unexpected bequest of a lonely house on the Sussex coast.


Her relatives are astounded that she decides to break with the present by moving from crowded London to Crowle Manor, delighted by the prospect of a quiet spell in the country. But on her way with a companion, Margaret Ellis, she wakes at at her room in the White Hart in Lewes to discover a strange letter addressed to the manor house has been slipped into her guide book. Who put it there and why?


The accidental possession of the letter, addressed to an unknown person at Crowle Manor, of all places, sets in train a series of grim adventures that try her courage to the utmost. A sinister pedlar who frequents the kitchen of the White Hart nd a mysterious travelling companion on the coach add to the gathering air of danger for Elizabeth.


As matters become deeper, Elizabeth finds herself reacquainted with her former lover, Robert Farnham, a man that she had once refused to marry out of loyalty to her sister. How is he mixed up in this bizarre affair? And how is it he does not seem to recognise her?


The mysteries surrounding her and Crowle Manor grow more and more intense, making Elizabeth realise her plans for a quiet country summer are unlikely to be fulfilled and that, on the contrary, there are threads in the story that could affect England’s survival in the war with Napoleon’s France – all with Crowle Manor at the centre.

Reviews

Comments from users on www.goodreads.com

“An intriguing novel that kept my interest throughout. I’ve only recently discovered the author’s books & I’m really enjoying them. This book was written about 45 years ago & has stood the passage of time well. Certainly not the bodice ripper of recently written books but the language far more in keeping with Regency times & the bonus of no Americanisms added to my enjoyment

“Letters for a Spy (also released as The Sentimental Spy) is the first Regency Romance I've read by Alice Chetwynd Ley. My favourite author in this genre will always be Georgette Heyer, but it is exciting to discover another author who writes light-hearted and entertaining romances in a similar style.”