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Behind the Shattered Glass: A Lady Emily Mystery (Lady Emily Mysteries) Paperback – July 29, 2014
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From Publishers Weekly
In Alexander's entertaining eighth Victorian mystery (after 2012's Death in the Floating City), the recent birth of twin sons keeps amateur sleuth Lady Emily and her husband, intelligence agent Colin Hargreaves, at Anglemore, the Hargreaves Peak District estate, where the dramatic appearance of the mortally wounded Lord Montagu, their nearest neighbor, soon leads to a murder investigation. One suspect is the victim's cousin Matilda, who loves Montagu Manor fiercely and hopes to inherit it, but the many women the peer has seduced or compromised have reason to wish him dead as well. Emily's narrative alternates with a chronicle of life below stairs at Anglemore, where the servants hold valuable clues. Though some elements of a romance between a titled guest and housemaid feel implausible for the era, readers will relish Alexander's lyrical evocation of British landscapes and her gift for crafting engaging characters. Boisterous adventurer Rodney Scolfield and Emily's hidebound mother, Lady Bromley, are especially amusing. Agent: Anne Hawkins, John Hawkins & Associates. (Oct.) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Lady Emily Hargreave’s latest case presents itself, literally, on her doorstep with the abrupt collapse of handsome Archibald Scolfield, her newest neighbor and latest in a line of victims who “have no sense of decorum at all.” Scolfield arrived to claim his inheritance as the new marquess of Montagu, and his demise in this isolated location is extremely awkward. Lady Emily, whose intrepid personality rivals Elizabeth Peters’ fearless Amelia Peabody, chooses at once to investigate Scolfield’s new household and, surprisingly, when clues lead her there, to grill her own house staff. In the meantime, she ingeniously solves multiple difficulties for her mother (in residence), her maid (in love), and her friend Matilda (possibly in a great deal of trouble) while maintaining familial equilibrium and marital congeniality with Colin, her admittedly crotchety mate and lord of the manor. This delightful addition to Alexander’s Victorian series, with its requisite cast of aristocrats, locals, and disgruntled staff, is an eminently readable romantic puzzler reminiscent of Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia Grey novels and the mysteries of Georgette Heyer. --Jen Baker --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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I would have bought it, as I'm all for flights of fancy and suspending my disbelief, but it was too tidy and too easy. Too lazy. And that's what disappointed me. This felt more like the unpolished work of an amateur writer, not someone who has crafted more clever mysteries with fantastic characters you learn to care about.
However, it hasn't put me off the series altogether. I'm just somewhat disappointed. I wanted more and got less.
The clues mount up but the actual murderer is a complete surprise. Another winner in the series.