Author: Deanna Raybourn
Provided Synopsis: After eight idyllic months in the Mediterranean, Lady Julia Grey and her detective husband are ready to put their investigative talents to work once more. At the urging of Julia’s eccentric family, they hurry to India to aid an old friend, the newly widowed Jane Cavendish. Living on the Cavendish tea plantation with the remnants of her husband’s family, Jane is consumed with the impending birth of her childand with discovering the truth about her husband’s death. Was he murdered for his estate? And if he was, could Jane and her unborn child be next?
Amid the lush foothills of the Himalayas, dark deeds are buried and malicious thoughts flourish. The Brisbanes uncover secrets and scandal, illicit affairs and twisted legacies. In this remote and exotic place, exploration is perilous and discovery, deadly. The danger is palpable and, if they are not careful, Julia and Nicholas will not live to celebrate their first anniversary.
Review: In the final days before they are to return to England from their honeymoon tour, Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane are run to ground by her brother and sister. The appeal made is for Julia and Brisbane to travel with them to India and to the aid of a family friend named Jane. Heavily pregnant and newly widowed, Jane is plagued with uncertainty about the nature of her late husband’s demise and what a potential murder could mean for the safety of their unborn child.
Julia — as always — wants nothing more than to be an active investigation partner to her husband, while he objects to her inclusion based upon the danger she might find due to her inexperience. So husband and wife continue on as they were before they married: they appear to work together while simultaneously keeping knowledge they have gained to themselves. Can Julia and Brisbane ever be partners in an investigation? Only time will tell. And it appears that this battle will be the prevalent source of tension between them from now on. From my point of view, I am glad that tension remains between Julia and Brisbane, but I am also already missing the delicious sexual tension that had existed before they wed. An element of chemistry appears as if it is almost gone now that they are together…
I have read many of Deanna Raybourn’s books, and in comparison I would have to say that her sense of setting in this book is not as beautifully painted as it will come to be in her later novels. India is an exotic locale, and this book did include plenty of descriptions about Julia’s surrounding. But I was not carried away into the location as much as I wanted to be. I feel as if the mystery should have tied into the location a bit more as well. In conclusion, I would say that this was a good (but far from incredible) addition to the Lady Julia series. It was the end of the book that created the most interest from me, as it revealed more about certain characters and altered the paths that some characters might have otherwise traveled. There was also an intriguing character introduced in this installment who I hope will return to the lives of Julia and Brisbane with more of the devilish actions that he seems to be capable of.