The Scarlet Pimpernel
The first and most successful in the Baroness`s series of books that feature Percy Blakeney, who leads a double life as an English fop and a swashbuckling rescuer of aristocrats, ``The Scarlet Pimpernel`` was the blueprint for what became known as the masked-avenger genre. As Anne Perry writes in her Introduction, the novel ``has almost reached its first centenary, and it is as vivid and appealing as ever because the plotting is perfect. It is a classic example of how to construct, pace, and conclude a plot. . . . To rise on the crest of laughter without capsizing, to survive being written, rewritten, and reinterpreted by each generation, is the mark of a plot that is timeless and universal, even though it happens to be set in England and France of 1792.`` 304 p.