My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I discovered this series a few years ago, upon the recommendation of the lovely folks at the Seattle Mystery Bookshop (located in Seattle, of course). The series takes place in England (mostly) in the 1800s. Lady Julia Grey comes from a family of wealthy and eccentric aristocrats. She manages to trump her family’s eccentricity contest by marrying a “man in trade” (horrors!) who is half-Gypsy to boot, whom she met when he was investigating her first husband’s murder. (See the previous books in the series–“Silent in the Grave,” “Silent in the Sanctuary,” and “Silent on the Moor,” all of which are excellent.)
The author has a spare and understated writing style that is a genuine pleasure to read. The historical period is well-researched, and her characters are flawed and appealing. The mysteries are also well-plotted and well-paced, with secondary characters that are three dimensional and interesting.
This book–the 4th in the series–is no exception. This particular book takes place in India and gives nice historical detail about tea plantations without ever giving the reader the feeling that you’re reading a history textbook. The story is possibly the darkest one yet in the series and so compelling that you find yourself hoarding the last full book in the series (“The Dark Enquiry”) because you don’t want the series to end.
If I had any complaint, it would be that I wish the author would spend less time writing novellas for the series and more time writing another full-length novel!