Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Silent in the Sanctuary by Deanna Raybourn
"Fresh from a six month sojourn in Italy, Lady Julia
returns home to Sussex to find her father's estate crowded with family
and friends. Much to her surprise, the one man she had hoped to
forget--the enigmatic and compelling Nicholas Brisbane--
is among her father's
houseguests....and he is not alone. Not
to be outdone, Julia shows him that two can play at flirtation
and promptly introduces him to her devoted, younger titled Italian count.
But the homecoming celebrations quickly takes a ghastly turn
when one of the guests is found brutally murdered in the chapel.
Lady Julia resumes her unlikely and deliciously intriguing
partnership with Nicholas Brisbane, setting out to unravel a
tangle of deceit before the killer can strike again."
Another delightful mix of mystery, romantic tension, quirky characters, and gothic story elements with a nod to Poe, the Brontes, and Austen from Deanna Raybourn. Right from the start, I was hooked when the eccentric March family and their guests assemble at the ancient family seat, Bellmont Abbey, to celebrate Christmas. As the weather turns frigid and freezes everyone inside, things start to heat up inside the abbey with the friction between Lady Julia and the dark, tortured-soul Nicholas Brisbane. When a parlor game goes dreadfully wrong and a guest is found murdered in the chapel, Brisbane (an inspector) and Lady Julia pair up again to match wits and solve a series of eerie events: ghostly figures in passageways, missing jewelry, drugged guests, and of course, the murder in the chapel. Raybourn writes a fast paced, highly entertaining mystery with crackling physical tension and some very witty scenes. (The relationship between Julia and her reluctant, sarcastic personal maid is a riot -- and you won't believe who an eccentric old aunt shows up with to dinner!) I love the way Lady Julia, who was bewildered and overwhelmed by widowhood and societal constraints in the first book, is emerging as a stronger, more confident individual who goes after what she wants. I'm going straight to book three, Silent on the Moor!
Title: Silent in the Sanctuary
Author: Deanna Raybourn