Author: Tasha Alexander
Provided Synopsis: After an odd encounter at a grand masquerade ball, Lady Emily becomes embroiled in the murder investigation of one of the guests, a sometime actress trying to pass herself off as the mysterious heiress and world traveler Estella Lamar. Each small discovery, however, leads to more questions. Was the intended victim Miss Lamar or the imposter? And who would want either of them dead?
As Emily and Colin try to make sense of all this, a larger puzzle begins to emerge: No one has actually seen Estella Lamar in years, since her only contact has been through letters and the occasional blurry news photograph. Is she even alive? Emily and Colin’s investigation of this double mystery takes them from London to Paris, where, along with their friend Cécile, they must scour the darkest corners of the city in search of the truth.
Review: Upon the unmasking of an imposter and the subsequent demise of the woman at a masquerade ball, Lady Emily and her husband are contracted by the crown to solve the murder. Amongst their detective crew is Emily’s constant suitor, Jeremy, and most importantly, Emily’s Parisian friend, Cecile, who was also close to the real Estella Lamar. Clues soon take the group from England to Paris, and the mystery evolves to become less about who murdered the imposter in favor of what might have happened to Estella Lamar.
Is she alive? Is she held captive in exchange for her fortune? Or, could all be well after all?
At the beginning, I was incredibly invested in this story due to the way each chapter would alternate from the voice of Emily to the story of Estella’s life. This structure built suspense, as the reader must speculate what happened to the heiress as Emily and company discover clues that are increasingly suspicious. I leave this book not overly impressed with the resolution of the mystery, but very intrigued about the dissolution of a person’s mind and with the desire for the book to have delved deeper into that area; I can say that I am both amazed, horrified, and put-off with what I have read.
In conclusion, I would consider this to be vast improvement to the Lady Emily series when compared to its predecessor book, which I found to be a huge disappointment. Things have not yet reached the high form this series had in the beginning, but I am left with hope after reading this book for further improvement. Besides, it was enjoyable to be on the case again with such familiar characters.