Author: Denna Raybourn
Edition: Standard Book
Perfect for : Personal reading, Book Club recommendation, Really a MUST HAVE for fans of mystery, romance, and Regency/Victorian Era books
In a nutshell: A wonderfully written first book set in 1886. The story takes place in London, 1886 and masterfully combines mystery and a hint of romance. The book begins: "To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband's dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor." From there, it flows very nicely and keeps the reader's attention. The characters are well-written and fascinating, the settings well-described, and the plot intriguing. Once I picked this book up, I literally could not put it down, to the dismay of my family (husband and one year old) - I was exhausted for a few days (read through the night . . . well . . . many nights) and picked it up every moment I could during the day - I believe I even burned dinner one night because I kept telling myself - dinner can cook for just one more paragraph over and over!
Product description from Amazon.com:
"Let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave."
These ominous words, slashed from the pages of a book of Psalms, are the last threat that the darling of London society, Sir Edward Grey, receives from his killer. Before he can show them to Nicholas Brisbane, the private inquiry agent he has retained for his protection, Sir Edward collapses and dies at his London home, in the presence of his wife, Julia, and a roomful of dinner guests.
Prepared to accept that Edward's death was due to a longstanding physical infirmity, Julia is outraged when Brisbane visits and suggests that Sir Edward has been murdered. It is a reaction she comes to regret when she discovers the damning paper for herself, and realizes the truth.
Determined to bring her husband's murderer to justice, Julia engages the enigmatic Brisbane to help her investigate Edward's demise. Dismissing his warnings that the investigation will be difficult, if not impossible, Julia presses forward, following a trail of clues that lead her to even more unpleasant truths, and ever closer to a killer who waits expectantly for her arrival.
The story takes place in 1886 London, and centers around Lady Julia Grey, who loses her husband in the opening chapter, and meets the man who tries to help her solve his mysterious death over his dying body. Meet Nicholas Brisbane, the man who had been approached by her husband prior to his death to investigate what he thought was a murder threat.
The overall plot of the story is entertaining, and will lead you on a great adventure.
The characters were well-written and work together to create quite an interesting team:
- Lady Julia Grey: Main character, who loses her husband and turns into an investigator to learn the truth behind his death.
- Nicholas Brisbane: Darkly handsome and mysterious man from society who approaches Julia, offering his services as a discreet investigator to help find her husband's murderer. (He is one of my favorite characters as you continue to learn about him in bits and pieces throughout the book)
- Aquinas: Lady Julia's proud butler
- Morag: Julia's personal maid, with a sordid past
- Magda: Gypsy lady who does Julia's laundry
- Aunt Ursula "The Ghoul": Julia's Aunt, well-known in the family to be obsesses with death, who moves in with any family member who has suffered a loss in order to provide "support."
- Fleur: Close friend of Nicholas, courtesan
I loved the twists and turns provided throughout the book, the glimpses of the character's pasts, and the feeling of anticipation that built as I read.
If you are a fan of this type of book, it is a must have, and if you aren't a fan of this genre, take a chance and give it a try - I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
Other books in the series: Silent in the Sanctuary (Book 2, available now), Silent on the Moor (Book 3, available March 2009)