"Silent in the Grave" begins as a Victorian domestic drama seasoned with a few mystery elements and a dash of social comedy. It gradually builds into a Gothic thriller complete with a brooding, Byronic hero and a heroine whose innocence is slowly stripped away.
Lady Julia Grey, born into a family famous for its adventurers and eccentrics, has convinced herself she wants nothing more than a life of placid domesticity. Her relief at her husband's death forces her to face facts: Her marriage was unhappy, and she has lost her sense of who she is. The revelation that her husband may have been murdered awakens her latent sense of adventure and launches her on a journey of self discovery.
Julia's investigative partner, Nicholas Brisbane, who has dark secrets of his own, guides Julia in her search for a killer. Julia soon discovers unsettling truths about her own servants, her younger brother and, finally, the man she married.
The plot built slowly but steadily and became more and more absorbing with each page turned. I read the final two-thirds of the book in two days. With Julia, I explored shadowy worlds far removed from proper Victorian society as she visited a notorious courtesan, searched a gypsy camp and questioned a prostitute.
I figured out the murderer's identity about halfway through the book, but I got the motive completely wrong and was surprised by many of the book's twists.
Author Deanna Raybourn skillfully contrasted Victorian respectability with dark desires lurking beneath the surface. I was impressed by her controlled, atmospheric writing and deft handling of the plot, as well as her skill at creating engaging, fully realized characters. Lady Julia Grey already feels like an old friend, and I plan to accompany her on her next adventure, in "Silent in the Sanctuary," soon.
debut novel- i did enjoy this author. I look forward to her next one as it is a continuation of the relationship that is developing between the main character and the "enigmatic" detective that she hires to solve the mystery of her husband's death.
It was an excellent mystery and I was tempted to give it 4 stars, but the ending did not resolve Julia's personal issues that were brought out during the investigation - hence only 3 stars. The murder is solved, so it was not all open-ended. I suppose that was because Raybourn already has a sequel out (Silent in the Sanctuary) which continues Julia's story. I enjoyed the fact that Raybourn wrote the book as if it were Julia's memoirs of the events - you never get inside any one else's head, it is all seen through Julia's perspective - her thoughts and observations. I did guess the killer (correctly) early on, which is unusual for me, but the motive eluded me till the end. I look forward to reading the next one.
A good historical mystery novel about a Victorian-era woman in London investigating her husband's death. Starts off light with witty dialogue. I very much enjoyed the heroine. Book was LONG (over 500 pages)...perhaps 100 pages too long. Ends rather darkly. I believe there is supposed to be a sequel, which I would definitely read.
This book was awesome and it had a GREAT first two sentences. ("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 on the floor."
The book centers around Lady Julia Grey, who seeks to find out what happened to her husband after it is suggested to her that he died of unnatural causes.
This book is a mystery with a very subtle twist of romance (nothing over the top). It has many twists and turns and keeps the reader guessing.
Best of all, if you love a series that follows the same characters for a while, there are two more books in the series with Lady Julia and the enigmatic Nicholas Brisbane. I cannot wait to read them.