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