All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Silent In The Grave – Deanna Raybourn

on November 9, 2010

My friend Marg over at Adventures of an Intrepid Reader recommended this series to me while she was reading the 4th book. I picked up this one from my local library and settled in yesterday. Despite being quite a large hardback with 500 pages, it was quite a swift and easy read.

When Sir Edward Grey collapses in front of his wife Lady Julia and their dinner guests (and later dies), everyone assumes that the long hereditary illnesses of the Grey family have finally taken yet another member. None of the male line of Edward’s family reach beyond 35 and having just turned 32, Edward was fast succumbing to the heart problems that have plagued him since boyhood. However when private investigator Nicholas Brisbane turns up to see his widow Lady Julia, he is in possession of some rather interesting information.

It seems Sir Edward had been receiving threatening letters before his death, with each letter getting a little more sinister than the last. Brisbane puts to Lady Julia that perhaps his death was not the result of his long standing illness and although Lady Julia is at first enraged by this suggestion, she devotes some time to thinking about it. As the end of her first year of mourning is coming to a close, whilst going through Sir Edward’s papers in his desk, she discovers yet another sinister letter. She takes it to Brisbane, who hasn’t seen it before, suggesting that Sir Edward received it very close to his death, before he could have a chance to inform Brisbane of its existence. This is some year after Sir Edward’s death that Lady Julia decides that Brisbane is right, and that there very well could be some suspicious circumstances surrounding her husband’s death. Brisbane is reluctant to investigate now as so much time has passed but he is mostly forced into agreeing to do so when Lady Julia threatens to do it without him.

Despite the possible crime having been committed a year ago and chances of the trail, if any, being cold, Lady Julia applies herself to trying to find out information anyway she can. Apart from this drama, she also has several family members to deal with (Lady Julia is a member of the notoriously eccentric March family) and also Sir Simon, Sir Edward’s heir who is ailing with the same hereditary congenital heart weakness. With her year of mourning over, Lady Julia knows it won’t be long until she dons black again for Sir Simon, who she has also known from boyhood as he was raised by Sir Edward’s family.

I really enjoyed the characters in this novel – Lady Julia seems without a doubt the most conventional of her unusual family but you get the feeling she’s very repressed and that her unorthodox marriage to Sir Edward has left her self-esteem incredibly low. It is refreshing to see a lady of this time speak her mind, which Lady Julia does quite often, especially around Nicholas Brisbane. I look forward to seeing her character growth in future novels, because I think she has quite a bit of growing to do. She married for all the wrong reasons and now that she is free of the constraints of that, and especially of being married to a person like Sir Edward, I think we will be seeing more and more of her true personality. It seems the only person she is really herself around in this novel is Brisbane, and perhaps her father. Brisbane himself is intriguing with every interaction with him uncovering some new hidden facet of his personality. He has hidden talents and even more hidden heritage.

The mystery itself wasn’t as straightforward as I first thought and I like reading mysteries because usually I’m the person who thinks it’s someone else, or gets taken in by the red herrings so that when the real murderer is revealed, I’m always so surprised! And I love that! I think it would be terribly boring to be clever enough to guess the murderer of every mystery halfway through the book! I’ve already aimed to reserve the next two books from my local library to read when I get back from holidays in late November and I’m looking forward to them.

A solid 7/10 for this one.

Book #89 of my 100 Book Challenge

2 responses to “Silent In The Grave – Deanna Raybourn

  1. Marg says:

    I am so glad you liked it!

    Nicholas Brisbane is one of the highlights of this series for me. Dark, broody, mysterious, handsome, charming!

  2. Sounds like a good read — I haven’t seen this one before, but I’ve recently been interested in historical fiction, so I might have to dive into this one!

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