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book review blogs
This month I'm reviewing Dark Road To Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn. I mentioned in a previous post that I couldn't resist picking it up at the bookstore, and Sunday, during my one allotted sick day of the year, I couldn't resist spending virtually the entire day reading it.
As previously mentioned, this novel is book four in the Lady Julia Grey mystery series, which I adore, and this one certainly didn't disappoint. (And I'm still gawking at the loveliness of the cover.) I'll only give you a brief summary, as I don't wish to reveal any of the many little secrets and mysteries that are gradually revealed as the story progresses.
Lady Julia Grey and her husband, private inquiry agent, Nicolas Brisbane are on their honeymoon, touring the Mediterranean, when two of Lady Julia's siblings interrupt their dinner in Cairo to request that the honeymooners accompany them to the foothills of the Himalayas to visit a family friend and potentially solve her husband's murder...that is, if he was murdered.
Lady Julia and Brisbane reluctantly agree, traveling to the Valley of Eden, where nothing is as it seems and everyone has a secret. From the curiously beautiful and reserved governess to the young naturalist-in-training, the grieving local doctor, the eccentric mother-daughter pair with a penchant for photography, and the mysterious White Raja. Not to mention the peacocks.
What I love about these books is their depth. The storylines are so beautifully layered as to reveal their mysteries little by little with exquisite timing. The characters are perfectly drawn, with my favorite always being the protagonist, Lady Julia Grey. She is the exact right combination of ladylike decoum and daredevil inquiry agent-in-training. She respects her husband tremendously but constantly strives to one-up him in their shared investigations. I like her tremendously.
I would recommend starting at the beginning with Silent in the Grave, in which Lady Julia's first husband is murdered, and the investigation is headed by Brisbane. Tension galore! Notes at the end of Dark Road to Darjeeling indicate that research for book five includes 'séances, mediums, the late-Victorian spiritualist movement and nineteeth-century technology.' I can't wait!