- Title: Silent in the Grave
- Author: Deanna Raybourn
- Series: Lady Juila #1
- Genre: Mystery, Historical, Fantasy
- Format: eBook
- Source: Library
- Reviewed by: Val
- Rating: 4 out of 5
Description: 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 suggests 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.
Review: There were so many things that I enjoyed about this book. I liked this book as much for what it wasn’t, as I did for what it was.
For example, despite the chemistry and tension between Julia and Brisbane, the author did not give into the temptation to turn this book into a romance. Instead she focused herself firmly on the mystery and suspense, and she did a great job of building the intrigue throughout the plot.
Her approach to the mystery, itself, was well done. She anticipated readers such as me who were able to figure out the “whodunit” from the beginning. Yet, I got the feeling the Ms. Raybourn actually meant for the mystery to lie not in the WHO, such much as the HOW and WHY. Clever girl.
The book was a light read, reminding me of urban fantasy, but it was really more of a historical fiction with the smallest touch of fantasy. It was just the right balance.
The book was really well-written, especially the characters. The author set the story up just right to allow for some excellent character development, and she did not disappoint. In fact, between Julia’s crisis of personality and Brisbane’s tortured hero, Raybourn has left plenty of room for further development throughout the series.
The pacing of the story was a bit slow at times, but it was in keeping with the tone of the story, so I found it forgivable. I am definitely looking forward to continuing this series.
Cover note: This is a great cover. The pose is simple and captures the character of Lady Julia very well. The layout is well-balanced and eye-catching and the fonts fit the tone of the story without trying too hard. Finally, the shadow just above her shoulder creates a great visual element of mystery.