Raybourn, Deanna – SILENT IN THE GRAVE

SILENT IN THE GRAVE (Historical-England-1800s) – VG Raybourn, Deanna – 1st book
Mira, 2006 – Amer. Hardcover

While entertaining family and friends, the husband of Lady Julia Gray collapses and later dies. It is not completely unexpected as he and his family has a history of weak hearts. It is only after the year-long period of mourning has passed that Julia finds out her husband had been receiving threatening notes and that his death may not have been natural after all. With the help of enquiry agent Nicholas Brisbane, who was there when her husband died, Julia is determined to uncover her husband’s killer.

“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 upon the floor.” Thus begins this captivating book. Let me state clearly that this is a “chick” book, but I devoured this 509 page debut in 6 hours. Also, this is not a book for Victorian purists as many customs of the time were flagrantly disregarded in this book. It is an extremely well plotted, fast moving story. I loved the characters of Julia, her unconventional family and her staff. The character grows during the period of the story and is aware of her growth and her shortcomings. I found myself so enmeshed in the story I didn’t project ahead and so very much enjoyed the path down which the story took me right to the end, which did surprise me. What keeps me from rating this as “Excellent,” is the authors habit of portentous sentences at the end of many of the chapters and at the very end of the book which, had I not liked the story so well could have turned it into a wall banger for me. She somewhat offset this nasty habit with wonderful literary quotations at the beginning of each chapter. But, if you enjoyed Tasha Alexander’s “And Only to Deceive,” I highly recommend you give this a try.

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