"An Honorable Thief" by Anne Gracie is a Regency Romance telling the story of Kathleen (Kit) Smith. The tale begins in the Dutch East Indies as Kit is caring for her dying father, who has been mortally wounded in a duel. He has spent the last twenty years in exile under various names after leaving England in disgrace, and extracts a deathbed promise from Kit that she will seek revenge on those who he claims ruined him.
He sends Kit to Miss Rose Singleton in London, who he says is her aunt, orders Kit to use the name Catherine Singleton, and says that Rose will look after Kit and will help bring her out in polite society.
As her father had only the most oblique acquaintance with the truth, Kit assumes that this is a farrago of lies, and that Rose Singleton is her father's former lady friend rather than his sister. However, Rose turns out to be a pleasant and apparently respectable lady, who does indeed take Kit in, so she doesn't ask any impertinent questions.
To her surprise, Kit Smith is accepted at face value as "Catherine Singleton" at the parties and balls organised by the "ton" (fashionable London society) and soon has fashionable gentlemen seeking to win her hand. Some of whom she might have been quite attracted to were it not that she has a deathbed promise to her father to carry out and can hardly enter into an honourable marriage with anyone she respects while living under a false name ...
Kit's arrival in London coincides with a spate of thefts from members of the ton by a mysterious Chinese cat-burglar. The Hon. Hugo Devenish, son of the late Lord Norwood and uncle of the present holder of the title, attempts on more than one occasion to catch the burglar, but keeps being foiled by bad luck.
Meanwhile Hugo also resolves to investigate the mysterious girl whom his nephew Lord Norwood wants to marry in order to repair the family finances. Hugo knows that the popular rumour that this girl, Catherine Singleton, is the heiress to a diamond mine in the penal colony of New South Wales cannot possibly be correct ...
Rather implausible froth and nonsense in the regency tradition, but quite entertaining. Not a patch on Georgette Heyer, let alone Jane Austen, but an amusing way to while away a couple of hours.