I love historical mysteries, I love Victorian fiction, and I love fiction featuring strong female characters. Bingo! This is the seventh book in the Lady Emily Series and the reader is rewarded with an engaging mystery while being reunited with many of the characters from previous books in the series. At the beginning of the book it becomes clear that many members of the “ton” (aristocracy ) are being targeted by some deranged individual, determined to reveal deep dark secrets about the targets. The upper echelon of society is in a tizzy as friends, neighbours and acquaintance regard each other with mistrust. Invitations to balls are withdrawn, betrothals are ended, and family members stop communicating. Red paint splashed on the front door at night is a signal that a secret lies within the house.
Along with the red paint case,Emily’s husband is investigating the death of a fine and fair-minded businessman when someone starts to threaten his fiancée. The fiancée ( Cordilia) is in deep mourning and has no idea what the blackmailer wants. It is soon clear Colin and Lady Emily are working together on a murder (He is an agent of the crown)….yet sometimes he must work alone. These various threads come together as the book progresses.
Sometimes I find Lady Emily is a little too perfect–beyond the fact that she is usually instrumental in solving the case–she speaks many languages (studies Homer in the original greek), collects and then donates rare antiquities,works for women’s rights and the rights of the impoverished–oh yes , and she looks smashing in a Mr. Worth gown. But this is the seventh book I have read in the series so I like the books and maybe I am just a little jealous of Emily. Of course she manages this all within a very confining Victoria society. You go girl, Emily!
Enjoyable read and very worthwhile series.
Fans of this series should definitely try the Lady Julia series by Deanna Raybourne.