England, 1887 "There is a dead man stinking in the game larder. I hardly think a few missing pearls will be the ruin of this house party." Lady Julia Grey's eccentric family and friends have gathered to keep Christmas in Bellmont Abbey. But when Lady Julia notices the enigmatic detective Nicholas Brisbane in the party, she is less than delighted ndash; trouble is sure to follow. Her prediction is proved correct when festivities are brought to an abrupt halt by a murder in the chapel. Blood dripping from her hands, Lady Julia's cousin claims the ancient right of sanctuary. Forced to resume her deliciously intriguing partnership with Brisbane, Lady Julia is intent on proving her cousin's innocence. Still, the truth is rarely pure and never simple...
Fans and new readers alike will welcome this sparkling sequel to Raybourn's debut Victorian mystery, Silent in the Grave (2007). Left homeless by fire, wealthy widow Lady Julia Grey has been recuperating in Italy. With Christmas approaching, Julia returns to England, where she joins her large and eccentric family at their equally large and eccentric ancestral estate, a former monastery that retains some monkish ghosts. Nicholas Brisbane, a private enquiry agent with whom Julia has shared both a heated embrace and a stint at detection, is among the holiday houseguests, and to Julia's astonishment Brisbane is in line for a title and engaged. Then a local curate is murdered in the former church sanctuary, and a set of priceless pearls goes missing. Headstrong and clever Julia joins Brisbane in investigating the crimes, deciphering his personal situation in the process. Readers may wish for a bit more romantic development, but the complex mystery, a delightfully odd collection of characters and deft period details produce a rich and funny read. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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January 01, 2008
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