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Silent in the Grave Hardcover – December 19, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Fans of British historical thrillers will welcome Raybourn's perfectly executed debut. In 1886, Lady Julia Grey's husband, Edward, dies suddenly of the heart disease that plagues his family, including his reclusive cousin, Simon, who resides with the couple in their large London townhouse. Just as she learns to cope with the contradictions of monied widowhood, Julia is visited by taciturn private detective Nicholas Brisbane, who reveals that Edward had hired him to find the source of some threatening letters. Analysis confirms Brisbane's suspicions of murder, leading him and Julia on a testily collaborative search for the culprit. Julia probes servants, Simon and a variety of peers, discovering disturbing truths about a husband she never truly knew and a world of deception, disease and sexual obsession she could never have imagined. Deft historical detailing, sparkling first-person narration and the fledgling love between Julia and the often surprising Brisbane balance otherwise dark themes. None of the book's components is new, but Raybourn updates and deepens them so intelligently that they feel freshly minted and free of cliché. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


"With a strong and unique voice, Deanna Raybourn creates unforgettable characters in a richly detailed world. This is storytelling at its most compelling." (Nora Roberts) "Sharp and witty novel." (Hot Stars magazine) "A breath of fresh air." (Stars magazine)" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Mira; First Edition edition (December 19, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0778324109
  • ISBN-13: 978-0778324102
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.6 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (269 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #397,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A sixth-generation native Texan, New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn grew up in San Antonio, where she met her college sweetheart. She married him on her graduation day and went on to teach high school English and history. During summer vacation at the age of twenty-three, she wrote her first novel. After three years as a teacher, Deanna left education to have a baby and pursue writing full-time. Fourteen years and many, many rejections after her first novel, she signed two three-book deals with MIRA Books.

"Sex, lies and awesome clothing descriptions" is how one reader described Deanna's debut novel, SILENT IN THE GRAVE, published in January 2007. The first in the Silent series, the book follows Lady Julia Grey as she investigates the mysterious death of her husband with the help of the enigmatic private inquiry agent Nicholas Brisbane. From the drawing rooms of the aristocracy to a Gypsy camp on Hampstead Heath, Silent in the Grave deftly captures the lush ambience of Victorian London.

The series continues with the second book, SILENT IN THE SANCTUARY (January 2008), a classic English country house murder mystery with a few twists and turns for Brisbane and Lady Julia along the way. Silent on the Moor (March 2009), set in a grim manor house on the Yorkshire moors, is the third adventure for Lady Julia and the mysterious Brisbane.

March 2010 saw a departure from the series with the release of THE DEAD TRAVEL FAST, a mid-Victorian Gothic thriller that chronicles the adventures of novelist Theodora Lestrange as she leaves the safety and security of her Edinburgh home for the dark woods and haunted castles of Transylvania. Deanna takes Lady Julia and her companions to the exotic foothills of the Himalayas with DARK ROAD TO DARJEELING (October 2010). The fifth book in the series, THE DARK ENQUIRY, sees the return of Lady Julia and Brisbane to London for their most puzzling adventure--one that strikes painfully close to home.

Deanna plots her books from her home in Virginia. After one too many hot Texas summers, Deanna and her husband packed up their daughter and moved to the mid-Atlantic state, where they enjoy the fall leaves but deeply miss good Tex-Mex cooking.

Still Virginia has been good to this author. Deanna's novel SILENT IN THE GRAVE won the 2008 RITA® Award for Novel with Strong Romantic Elements and the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award for Best First Mystery. The Lady Julia Grey series has been nominated for several other awards, including an Agatha, three Daphne du Mauriers, a Last Laugh, a total of five RITAs, and two Dilys Winns. Her fourth Lady Julia novel, DARK ROAD TO DARJEELING, was a finalist for the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Historical Mystery, and her fifth Lady Julia release, THE DARK ENQUIRY, was a New York Times bestseller.

Lady Julia's holiday adventure, SILENT NIGHT, a digital novella, will be available November 1, 2012, while her next stand-alone novel, A SPEAR OF SUMMER GRASS, debuts May 1, 2013. Set in Africa in 1923, A SPEAR OF SUMMER GRASS follows the daring flapper heiress Delilah Drummond as she travels to Africa in disgrace only to find the adventure of a lifetime.

You can find her blogging three days a week at, and be sure to sign up for her newsletter, check out her contests and book trailer videos, and catch her latest appearances at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

197 of 211 people found the following review helpful By J.A. VINE VOICE on January 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Deanna Raybourn intimated in her "Acknowledgements" that it took two years to find a publisher for this book. That's surprising, because for a first time author, she has the distinct poise of a seasoned author.

I was hooked from the first paragraph, certainly one of the most enticing I've seen in years: "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." From those two sentences, I knew that I was in very capable hands.

This was more than just a hook, however. These two sentences demonstrate a remarkable clarity of thought, and upon reading them, I not only chuckled but also settled into the book: I knew, beyond question, that I was in capable hands. There's nothing more important for an author than to establish within the very first paragraph that they know exactly what they're doing, that they are in complete control of their story. If we, the reader, don't have that sense - even if we're not consciously aware of it - we will lose interest.

While there are certainly tell-tale mystery elements here, it doesn't read like a "whodunit" mystery whatsoever. Raybourn presents her material in such a way that the reader may feel that they're experiencing something entirely new. I can't applaud her loudly enough for this.

Her characters are strong, well drawn, free of cliché, and far from the standard cardboard characters we see too often in fiction. Often an author will talk about characters speaking to them. These are characters that we as readers find ourselves drawn to because ultimately they are the most realistic; they appeal to the majority of our senses.
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76 of 82 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Deanna Raybourn's "Silent in the Grave" is a Victorian mystery set in London and featuring the newly widowed Lady Julia Grey. Julia's thirty-one year old husband, Sir Edward, has collapsed and died, apparently of an inherited heart ailment. Julia is shocked but not overly depressed about Edward's demise, since they had not shared a bed for some time. As the daughter of an earl, Julia has led a sheltered life, with servants at her beck and call and little to challenge or excite her. Her thus far boring existence is about to change, however.

A week after Sir Edward's funeral, a private inquiry agent named Nicholas Brisbane calls upon Lady Julia. It seems that Edward had engaged Brisbane to look into a series of threatening notes sent to him anonymously. Brisbane wants Lady Julia to consider the possibility that Edward may have been murdered. Julia angrily dismisses Brisbane with harsh words, but she eventually comes around to his way of thinking; they both embark on a search for Edward Grey's killer.

What makes "Silent in the Grave" eminently readable and entertaining is not the mystery itself, which proves to be a bit tepid (most mystery buffs will spot the killer long before Lady Julia). The novel shines because of its unusual and varied characters, sparkling and witty dialogue, and the author's sardonic look at the foibles of the upper classes in Victorian England. Lady Julia is a delightful heroine, who gradually changes from an unworldly and timid mouse into a daring and impulsive woman, willing to take risks to learn the truth. Brisbane is a cipher--a dark-eyed and mysterious stranger with a hidden past and a brooding demeanor. His virility and strength of character intrigue the love-starved Julia.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By CoffeeGurl HALL OF FAME on April 2, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
London, England, 1886. Sir Edward Grey, a baronet with delicate health, dies during a party. Lady Julia Grey is upset with the passing of her husband, but not surprised. It was bound to happen sooner or later. So why was one of the guests, a Mr. Nicholas Brisbane, eyeing her as if she had been the one responsible for Sir Edward's death? It turns out that Brisbane is a private investigator. Sir Edward had hired him because he had received threatening letters and had feared for his life. Lady Julia refuses to believe Brisbane -- that is until she finds one of the threatening letters. It has been a year since her husband died. Will Brisbane want to help her solve the case? He has no choice but to accept, for Lady Julia is determined to find her husband's murderer at all cost.

This is a wonderful Victorian mystery with some gothic elements. Silent in the Grave is also the startup of a new murder mystery, with Julia and Nicholas as the sleuths. There are many twists and turns here. The mystery itself isn't surprising -- well, at least the murderer isn't, but the clues that gathered certainly are -- but the developments regarding Brisbane and some of the secondary characters are very fascinating. Lady Julia is a unique heroine and you truly feel the voice of a Victorian lady through her narrative. Brisbane is dark, brooding and mysterious -- no doubt inspired by gothic heroes such as Heathcliff and Mr. Rochester -- which makes him quite appealing. The secondary characters are interesting and the whole gypsy thing impressed, especially that the author writes about actual gypsies -- the ones that speak Romany. However, there are things about this novel that will make you want to suspend disbelief.

I'll begin with Julia's family.
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