In The Road of Danger, Leary's ship is sent to a backwater world called Sunbright to find out if a popular revolutionary leader is a citizen of Cinnabar and either way, to stop him before his revolt brings a resumption of the galactic war that backdropped the first books of the series. The plan has Leary sneak into Sunbright as a crewman on a smuggler while Mundy masquerades as a noblewoman who's willing to hire her ship out to the forces trying to put down the revolt. Bravery, derring-do and cunning will have to be deployed if Leary and Mundy are to win the day.
Drake has said he's writing a space-opera knockoff of Patrick O'Brien's Aubrey-Maturin books, and he's done well with most of them. Road relies a little too much on some already-established knowledge that seems to pad the story -- by the fourth or fifth time we read Mundy talk about her discomfort with people or the fact that her servant/bodyguard is a paranoid sociopath we may be saying, "I heard you the first time, Dave." That drops Road's rank into the bottom half of the series, but it's still serviceable space opera that'll get you into orbit in one piece.
Phantom is a rare misstep for Bell. Although it has plenty of wit and some sterling action sequences, it reflects the author's enthusiasm for the theory of the Singularity, a threshold of computational activity which will far outstrip human intelligence and could endanger all life on the planet. Bell's concern with preaching this idea leads him to some unaccustomed exposition-heavy conversations that bog down his story. Which itself has more than a few holes, as the superintelligent computer connected to the deadly incidents worldwide seems capable of just about anything it wants -- except when the story needs for it not to be. The struggle against the Tsarists doesn't weave into other story elements and the two narratives seem more like separate novellas shoehorned into one cover.
Though not herself English, Grimes has a great ear and eye for the small English villages and pubs through which The Black Cat moves. A part of the mystery sub-genre called "cozies," she downplays sex and violence and focuses instead on Jury's detective work and reflection. She also relies heavily on the character cast she's developed over the years, such as Jury's friend Melrose Plant.
The Black Cat is a fine diversion and interesting exploration of some perfectly ordinary people moving through a life that sometimes contains violent crimes. Grimes has dry and ready wit, making this a fun read. Her diversion into the story told from the point of view of some stray dogs and cats is an odd insert but can be easily skipped if desired.