Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Dark Enquiry by Deanna Raybourn

"The Spirits Speak of Secrets.......

Partners now in marriage and in trade, Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane have finally returned from abroad to set up housekeeping in London. But merging their respective collections of gadgets, pets and servants leaves little room for the harried newlyweds themselves, let along Brisbane's private enquiry business.

Among the more unlikely clients: Julia's very proper brother, Lord Bellmont, who swears Brisbane to secrecy about his case. Not about to be let out of anything concerning her beloved -- if eccentric - family, spirtied Julia soon picks up the trail of the investigation.

It leads to the exclusive Spirit Club, where the alluring Madame Seraphine holds evening seances....and not a few powerul gentlemen in thrall. From this eerie enclave unfolds a lurid tangle of dark deeds, whose tendrils crush reputations and throttle trust."

(from the publisher)

my thoughts:

A new installment in The Lady Julia Grey series is always a cause for celebration, and I got my hands on the eagerly anticipated The Dark Equiry that was hot off the presses at RWA. Once again, Raybourn expertly blends the history and lifestyle of Victorian England with mystery, romantic suspense, and a bit of the supernatural in her distinctive and witty voice.

Book #5 reveals a bit more about the enigmatic Brisbane's past, and at the same time drops some tantalizing teasers that there is still much more to be revealed about the half-gypsy, half-Scottish hero -- secrets he fears may cause Julia to turn away from him. The relationship of Brisbane and Julia is one of mutual devotion and love, but there are still conflicts in the relationship to work out. Contrary to the times, Julia is not content unless she has some interesting projects of her own, and this independent streak and interest in crime-solving puts her at odds with her husband who would like nothing more than to keep her safely out of his dangerous investigations. When one of her brothers finds himself in a situation that would bring scandal to his family and career, he turns to Brisbane for help....thus putting Julia and Brisbane investigating in the world of spiritualism and seances....and murder.

I savored each new layer of mystery, intrigue, and smoldering chemistry between Brisbane and Lady Julia. I was paticularly pleased that we experience more of the quirky and eccentric March family as well as more adventures among Brisbane's people in a gypsy camp. A truly surprise ending (did NOT see the culprit)and a clever teaser ending left me assured that while this installment brought them closer-than-ever with a taste of tragedy and heartache, the devoted husband-wife investigative team will be back soon and hot on the trail of another exotic adventure!

4.5/5 stars

Title: The Dark Enquiry (#5 in the Lady Julia Grey series)
Author: Deanna Raybourn
387 pages
genre: historical fiction/Victorian mystery


Melissa @ Confessions of an Avid Reader said...

Great review, Joanne. I'm a fan of this series but still have to read Dark Road to Darjeeling. I must do that soon!

Joanne said...

Oh, Melissa -- please do read Dark Road to Darjeeling soon....lots of twisty turns and packed with surprises!

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Tragedy and hearthache? Oh no! I'm eager to read this too, it's next on my kindle. The seance stuff sounds reminiscent of a a scene in Possession (have you read it?) Great review and it's certainly whet my appetite for Lady Julia!

Joanne said...

Yep, Raybourn's throwing some bad things their way, but have no fear.....all is well and they are ready for more adventures!

Joanne said...

Do you mean Possession by A. S. Byatt? I have The Children's Book and Possession but have not read them. Should I move it up in priority?

Staci said...

Your review confirmed it for me to go ahead and start this series!!!

Joanne said...

Staci - I hope you do give this series a's one of my favorites! Deanna Raybourn has a very witty and distinctive style of writing that I love. I think you'll be hooked from the start.

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Yes, I meant that Possession. It's not a bad book, but for me it got bogged down with all the huge long parts of Victorian poetry (not my thing). Frankly, I liked the movie much more than the book - Jeremy Northam and Jennifer Ehle - great! Have tissues for the end.

I'm going to see Diana again tomorrow in NYC tomorrow, she's signing at a B&N in Tribeca. I'm getting the new 20th Anniversary Edition and have her sign it. I hope the lines aren't enormous!

Nise' said...

Love this series and can't wait to read this book.

Joanne said...

Nise -- So glad you're a fan of Deanna Rayourn...she's kept my interest going in the series.

Julie -- That's cool that your 20th
anniversary edition will be signed. You know, I picked up my copy today at B&N and while I'm glad to have it (it's a sturdy and padded cover without a jacket), there's nothing really "new" in the extra material.....anyone who has read her blog or Outlandish Companion or watched an interview already knows this stuff. Still a nice thing to have for devoted fans, but not absolutely essential, in my opinion.

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

So, my trip into NYC was a bust - the event had been cancelled - yet Diana's website had not been updated! B&N told me it had been cancelled a long time ago! I drove all the way in with a friend to find this out only to face rush hour traffic on the way back! Grr! Not happy! Still, I saw the book and didn't buy it, I think the cover is kind of goofy with the padding, I might just pass on it.

Unknown said...

I still have to read the 4th Nicholas/Julia book! I need to catch up! Great review. Also, I noticed you're reading Siri Mitchell's She Walks In Beauty - I do hope you're enjoying it, as it was a favorite of mine last year!

Joanne said...

Hi, Ruth -- You have some great reading to catch up on with Lady Julia and Brisbane! Yes, I'm enjoying She Walks in Beauty very much -- love the period details!

Marg said...

Deanna Raybourn is another one of those authors that I want to ask where the next book is whenever I finish a book by them, even if it hasn't actually been released yet!

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