“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.”
I have not been shy about shouting my love for Deanna Raybourn’s books. In the past I have read and reviewed her first two Veronica Speedwell mysteries, A Curious Beginning and A Perilous Undertaking, both of which I feel I gave glowing reviews. Recently I have been a terrible book grump. Every story I have picked up I have ended up disliking even though their themes are up my proverbial alley. So, when I snatched Silent in the Grave off the shelf in the library I can honestly say that I wasn’t anticipating finding much joy in it. Especially not enjoying it so much that I end up reading the first three books in the Lady Julia Grey series in one week.
So, that brings us to today’s post. Today I will be discussing, as a whole, the first three books of Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia Grey series. Honestly, I’m a little hazy on how many books are in this series. When you pull it up on Goodreads it gets into 5.5, 5.6, 5.7 etc. According to Raybourn’s website there are eight books in the series and novellas. Either way, several books, moving on…
Silent in the Grave starts with Lady Julia Grey witnessing her husband collapsing on the floor of their home. He had been ill for some time and Julia had been expecting his death but it was still a shock to her. Julia didn’t expect her husband’s death to be foul play so for the traditional year of morning after his death she was simply the grieving widow and thought nothing more about the circumstances surrounding his passing.
And that is where Lady Grey’s story begins. She along with the investigator Nicholas Brisbane embark on a journey to identify her husband’s killer. I must say that I completely fell in love with the characters in this book. Julia starts off as a shy, wilted thing. A mere shell of her former self. As she continues to investigate her husband’s death a strong and intelligent personality emerges. She is an unconventional woman for her time and she comes to embrace her uniqueness.
There is so much I can say about Silent in the Grave and the next two in the series. All of the characters show such depth. They are well thought out, have a purpose, and each has an unique personality. The mysteries themselves are fabulous. The first book has Julia’s husband’s murder and let me tell you, you will NOT see that ending coming. I never, not once suspected the killer. I reread the big reveal twice to make sure I understood it correctly. Simply amazing.
The next two books are also fantastic. Murder, mayhem, mystery, and a quirky little romance you aren’t sure is actually going anywhere. In the past I have made it abundantly clear that I am not fond of romance in what I read. The romance in these books, however, isn’t stifling. It doesn’t take the main stage in the story and you never feel like it detracts from what is actually going on. The focus is on solving the murders, connecting the dots, and finding hidden clues not on smoochy smoochies in the corner. However, I must admit, the smoochy smoochies are pretty heated.
I will say that the third book, Silent on the Moor, is not as good as the first two. The “who done it” becomes fairly obvious at an early stage which was disappointing. I kept hoping I was wrong. And the cast of characters for that mystery were not nearly as interesting as in the previous two books. It was still a good story, just not as good. I also think that the third one was not as good for me because of the setting. I just couldn’t picture the location in my head which made the story hard to follow.
Through this series and Raybourn’s newer series, the Veronica Speedwell mysteries, the author has quickly become one of my favorites. She writes strong, believable female leads and the stories she comes up with are completely engrossing. If you at all enjoy historical mysteries I would whole heartedly recommend picking up Raybourn’s books. You won’t be disappointed.
Read more about these books on Goodreads