From Publishers Weekly
In Alexander's charming third novel of romantic suspense set in late Victorian England (after The Poisoned Season
), Lady Emily Ashton is at a country house party when someone shoots her noxious host, Lord Basil Fortescue, with a dueling pistol. After the husband of a good friend is accused of the murder, Emily determines to find the real killer. The only clue, a threatening letter promising a political assassination, drives Emily to Vienna, where she meets the painter Gustav Klimt and shares stolen moments with her fiancé, diplomat Colin Hargreaves. But Emily never forgets her urgent mission—in the service of which she must match wits with double agents and anarchists as well as ally herself temporarily with Colin's former lover, the sexually sophisticated Kristiana von Lange. The appealing Emily at times comes across as too modern for even the most unconventional Victorian character, and the plot sags in mid-story despite several clever subplots. Still, the book's entertaining voice and accurate period detail will seduce most readers. (June)
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Lady Emily Ashton is back in her third episode of romantic suspense set in the Victorian world of mannerly gentlemen, conniving mothers, and scandals behind closed doors. Forced to join a group of socialites at the home of formidable and odious Lord Fortescue, whom she loathes (and whose daughter covets Emily’s fiancé, Colin Hargreaves), Emily and others in the party feel little regret when Fortescue is murdered. Unfortunately, her best friend’s husband, Robert, is arrested and imprisoned in the Tower, after witnesses confirm his fight with the victim. Resolved to exonerate Robert, Emily heads for Vienna on the killer’s trail. Austria proves rich with intrigue, and this portion of the story really shines as readers take a tour of nineteenth-century Vienna—its parties and its cafés—in the wintertime, shadowed by decidedly evil characters. Emily’s sparkling wit makes up for the somewhat convoluted plot and large cast of characters who move from England to the Continent and back at the slightest provocation. This is a captivating addition to the adventures of an irresistible Victorian iconoclast. --Jen Baker