Thursday, April 17, 2014

Review: Silent In The Grave by Deanna Raybourn

Title:  Silent in the Grave (Lady Julia Grey #1)
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Publisher:  MIRA Books
ASIN: 9781460302828
Pages:  348 pages
How I Read It: ebook
Genre: Historical - fiction, mystery and romance
Find it at Goodreads

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 long-standing physical infirmity, Julia is outraged when Brisbane visits and suggest 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.

Our thoughts:

It’s no secret we have loved Deanna Raybourn’s recent releases, A Spear of Summer Grass and City of Jasmine, so we thought we really should check out her popular Lady Julia Grey mystery series as well.

The first installment of this series, Silent in the Grave, thrust us right into the middle of the action with its dynamic opening lines and kept us turning the pages thereafter.

"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."

Eventually this shocking first meeting leads to Lady Julia partnering with private inquiry agent Brisbane to track down her husband’s murderer. Over the course of their investigation Lady Julia truly begins to come into her own. She transforms from a meek and quiet little “mouse” content with normalcy into a daring, self-assured and independent woman who is at times a little too impulsive for her own safety.

“I sat for a long time, uncomfortable both with the person I had been and the person I was finally becoming.  Caught between the two of them, I felt rather lonely, as one often does with a new acquaintance.”

As always, Raybourn’s writing is smart and flows beautifully. The main and secondary characters are unique, well drawn and interesting, and the dialogue is authentic and sharp. The mystery itself is cleverly done with lots of twists and turns.

There are plenty of amusing and colorful moments courtesy of the bold and eccentric members of the March clan and the widely varied household staff, and Julia’s first person narration provides many wry and humorous observations as well. We found ourselves not only smiling but literally laughing out loud on several occasions while reading this book.

The interactions between Julia and Brisbane are tempestuous and witty, with some definite (but largely unacknowledged) romantic sparks flying in the mix. This first book leaves the fate of their relationship unresolved, but we can’t wait to see how it evolves as the series progresses.

While this title might not satisfy hard-core mystery fans, if you are looking for a more lighthearted mystery with a bit of history, a bit of romance, and a bit of humor then this should fit the bill perfectly. We found it to be a quick and entertaining read!

Our Rating

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