27 Dec 2008 Silent in the SanctuaryBooks, Reading | Elizabeth Loupas
I much enjoyed Silent in the Grave, the first book in Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia Grey series of historical mysteries, and if anything Silent in the Sanctuary is even better. Suitably for the Christmas season, the book is set at Christmastime in 1887. It’s a version of the tried-and-true house-party murder, with Julia, her family, various friends, hangers-on and servants snowbound in the March family seat, an ancient Abbey.
The Marches are as March-Hare-esque as ever; “enquiry agent” Nicholas Brisbane is present but Julia is surprised (of course she conceals her true feelings) to find him engaged to a beguiling but empty-headed (or is she?) widow. Much mordant repartee ensues, as does, eventually, murder. The background effervesces with jewel thievery, ghosts, gypsies, kidnappings and family scandals. The murder might possibly have happened a bit earlier, but because I love the rich and deliciously-rendered detail of late-Victorian country life I’m happy to forgive Raybourn the slowish pace of the first half of the book.