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Silent in the Sanctuary: A Lady Julia Grey Mystery Paperback – December 19, 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 150 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fans and new readers alike will welcome this sparkling sequel to Raybourn's debut Victorian mystery, Silent in the Grave (2007). Left homeless by fire, wealthy widow Lady Julia Grey has been recuperating in Italy. With Christmas approaching, Julia returns to England, where she joins her large and eccentric family at their equally large and eccentric ancestral estate, a former monastery that retains some monkish ghosts. Nicholas Brisbane, a private enquiry agent with whom Julia has shared both a heated embrace and a stint at detection, is among the holiday houseguests, and to Julia's astonishment Brisbane is in line for a title and engaged. Then a local curate is murdered in the former church sanctuary, and a set of priceless pearls goes missing. Headstrong and clever Julia joins Brisbane in investigating the crimes, deciphering his personal situation in the process. Readers may wish for a bit more romantic development, but the complex mystery, a delightfully odd collection of characters and deft period details produce a rich and funny read. (Jan.)
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Review

Fans and new readers alike will welcome this sparkling sequel to Raybourn's debut Victorian mystery, Silent in the Grave (2007). Left homeless by fire, wealthy widow Lady Julia Grey has been recuperating in Italy. With Christmas approaching, Julia returns to England, where she joins her large and eccentric family at their equally large and eccentric ancestral estate, a former monastery that retains some monkish ghosts. Nicholas Brisbane, a private enquiry agent with whom Julia has shared both a heated embrace and a stint at detection, is among the holiday houseguests, and to Julia's astonishment Brisbane is in line for a title and engaged. Then a local curate is murdered in the former church sanctuary, and a set of priceless pearls goes missing. Headstrong and clever Julia joins Brisbane in investigating the crimes, deciphering his personal situation in the process. Readers may wish for a bit more romantic development, but the complex mystery, a delightfully odd collection of characters and deft period details produce a rich and funny read. -- Publishers Weekly

The March family has the reputation of being wild as March hares, but when it comes to murder they are no fools. Lady Julia Grey (formerly March) is in Italy with two of her brothers, recovering from the murder of her husband and her own near-death in a fire (Silent in the Grave, 2007). When Lord March sends for Julia's brother Lysander, recently married to an Italian beauty, they all return home to Bellmont Abbey, a huge estate built 700 years ago as a Cistercian monastery. Julia is surprised to discover among her father's guests Nicholas Brisbane, the enigmatic private investigator she had grown to love during the investigation of her husband's murder. Brisbane is accompanied by his attractive but apparently silly fiancée, a woman Julia is sure he could never marry. Among the other guests are Julia's sisters, Emma and Lucy, the latter recently engaged to wealthy Sir Cedric Eastley; Eastley's cousin; Julia's Italian friend Count Fornacci; her uncle Fly; and worldly Lucian Snow, his curate. Soon Lucy is found holding a bloody candlestick above the body of Snow. Julia's valuable pearls are stolen. And a ghost walks the Abbey's dark passages. Julia turns sleuth over the violent objections of Brisbane, their relationship sizzling as they trade barbs and information. A sassy heroine and a masterful, secretive hero. Fans of romantic mystery could ask no more--except the promised sequel. -- Kirkus (starred review)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 552 pages
  • Publisher: Mira; 1st Thus. edition (December 19, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0778324923
  • ISBN-13: 978-0778324928
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (150 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,751 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 www.deannaraybourn.com/blog, and be sure to sign up for her newsletter, check out her contests and book trailer videos, and catch her latest appearances at www.deannaraybourn.com.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Lady Julia Grey is a thirty-year-old widow who almost lost her life in Deanna Raybourn's debut mystery, "Silent in the Grave." The sequel, "Silent in the Sanctuary," opens in a luxurious rented villa near Lake Como in 1887. Julia, who narrates, has been enjoying Italy's picturesque sights and warm climate along with her brothers, Plum and Lysander, and their good friend, the handsome Alessandro Fornacci. Since she helped private inquiry agent Nicholas Brisbane hunt down her late husband's killer, Julia has developed a taste for intrigue and danger. She longs for "something more important than the embroidering of cushions or the pouring of tea to sustain me." Julia gets her chance for excitement sooner than she expects when her father, the wealthy and influential Earl March, peremptorily summons the siblings home to Bellmont Abbey, the family estate in England. The Earl is furious with Lysander who, without asking permission of his father, has wed a fiery Neapolitan woman named Violante. Since Lysander has very little money of his own, he is dependent on the Earl's financial support to cover his living expenses. If the earl were to cut them off, Ly and his wife would be destitute.

Although Julia is happy to be at home with her family, she dreads seeing Brisbane again. She cannot forget the moment when "we had both of us reached beyond ourselves" and kissed passionately. Unhappily, their relationship never progressed beyond that one feverish encounter, and she has not heard a word from him in five months. However, Julia still cherishes the pendant that he gave her bearing the lovely inscription, "For where thou art, there is the world itself.
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First, my sincere apologies to the author and the publisher. Ms. Raybourn's publisher was kind enough to extend an ARC, and as such my review should have been published the day the book was available for sale.

I first came upon Ms. Raybourn's work in an unusual way. Having just finished The Thirteenth Tale, back in late 2006, I was browsing the bookstore looking for a book that might be similar, and written by a contemporary author. I didn't think I would find anything, but I was game, and up for the challenge. I came across Silent in the Grave on a display, and it caught my eye because the cover was red, and it vaguely, subconsciously reminded me of the cover of The Thirteenth Tale - although the only similarity is that red appears on both covers. A quick glance at the book description told me that I hadn't found what I was looking for, but I decided to read the first page anyway.

And I'm glad I did. I was immediately hooked, and instead of waiting to get a better price on Amazon, which I guiltily admit I usually do, bought the book at the store, and devoured it. Ms. Raybourn kept me just as entertained throughout the rest of the book as her opening paragraph had promised, and I greatly looked forward to the next installment in the series.

Now how odd is it, that when looking for something vaguely Victorian that spoke of ghosts and family secrets and tragedies, that I found Silent in the Grave? Because while that wasn't what I was looking for at the time, Silent in the Sanctuary absolutely was. It evoked memories of the Bronte sisters and Henry James, and was more what I was looking for two years ago. That's what this book is...a throwback to a different era. The hook isn't in the first sentence, but rather in the entire book. Ms.
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Much as I wanted to read the sequel to "Silent in the Grave" as soon as I could get my hands on it, it some how wound up with another person who gave me continuous reports of it being boring, of the murder taking place half-way through the book, and of unsatisfying conclusions. Since I had liked but not loved its predecessor I had kind of low hopes in the beginning for this novel.

Let's just say having read that I now believe this other person to be quite wrong, or the author has improved. Both probably. While it is true the crime that makes "Silent in the Sanctuary" a murder mystery does place roughly half way through the book it is because this is a mystery of the Agatha Christie school, unlike it's predecessor. In "Grave" Lady Julia barely knew her husband and so everyone was a suspect for his murder and an old fashioned investigation had to be taken to find the culprit.

But "Sanctuary" has a murder taking place in an isolated country mansion (an abbey before Henry VIII's reforms) during a snowstorm that insures the murderer is one of the guests invited for the March Christmas party. As more crimes come to light, people and jewels go missing and hidden tempers, perhaps murderous, are revealed, it is clear that something must be dine before all the guests can depart-the killer and theif among them. Can Lady Julia (freshly returned from her recovery vacation on the continent with a young, handsome Italian Count in tow) and Nicholas Brisbane her partner in discovering her husbands murdered just months before (who happens to be newly engaged and in line for a title) find the culprit before more lives are taken? Or before their snowy isolation melts away and the fiend gets away for good...

I didn't find this to be boring at all, unlike my friend.
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