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Dangerous to Know: A Novel of Suspense (Lady Emily Mysteries) Hardcover – October 26, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 84 customer reviews
Book 5 of 10 in the Lady Emily Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set in 1892, Alexander's less than memorable fifth novel of suspense featuring Lady Emily Hargreaves finds Emily recovering from the emotional and physical scars suffered in her previous outing, Tears of Pearl. Emily's well-intentioned husband, Colin, persuades her to recuperate at his family's estate in Normandy, where she's under the disapproving eye of her fearsome mother-in-law. While out riding, Emily happens on the butchered corpse of a woman, later identified as an escaped inmate from an insane asylum outside Rouen. The nature of the victim's wounds suggests that Jack the Ripper has crossed the Channel to France. Alexander throws in a gentleman-burglar carrying a torch for Emily as well as author Maurice Leblanc and painter Claude Monet, but fails to breathe much life into any of them. More a damsel in distress than an independent woman, Emily comes across as a less capable sleuth than, say, Laurie King's Mary Russell or Charles Todd's Bess Crawford. (Nov.) (c)
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From Booklist

Alexander’s new historical mystery takes place in the late-nineteenth century and takes up at the point Tears of Pearl (2009) left off. In Tears, Lady Emily’s honeymoon with second husband Colin ended with her being shot and losing her unborn baby. Now she and Colin are staying in Normandy with his autocratic mother, Mrs. Hargreaves, who takes it amiss when Emily comes upon the body of a murdered young woman while horseback riding. Lady Emily can’t help but investigate the murder, especially when she learns the dead girl came from an aristocratic family in Rouens and was confined to an insane asylum. She also has to deal with her hostile mother-in-law, her worries about her own mental and emotional health, the reappearance of the flirtatious and clever thief Sebastian, and the murdered girl’s decidedly strange family. Readers who enjoy historical mysteries with strong female characters will find much to enjoy here and will want to seek out Lady Emily’s earlier adventures. --Kat Kan
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Product Details

  • Series: Lady Emily Mysteries (Book 5)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (October 26, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312383797
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312383794
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #921,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
After a violent attack on her honeymoon in Constantinople, Lady Emily Hargreaves repairs to the estate of her mother-in-law in Normandy, France, for a period of convalescence. Unfortunately, the other Mrs. Hargreaves does not warm to her son's new wife and Lady Emily must make do with her husband's ready affections. The problem of her hostess's welcome pales in comparison to the shock of a mutilated body Emily discovers on an afternoon ride, the body identified as the daughter of an aristocratic family in Rouen, recently escaped from an asylum. Edith Prier is the black sheep of the Prier's, her slide into madness a shame the family is unwilling to acknowledge. Having lost a child in her brush with death in Constantinople, Lady Emily quickly becomes invested in finding the girl's murderer, collaborating with her new husband, Colin, an agent for the empire.

Since the couple has solved a number of crimes together, Emily has no reason to expect otherwise in this case. But Alexander dashes her plucky heroine's hopes with a serious conflict between husband and wife, Colin asserting his duty to protect his wife from harm. The phrase "I will not allow" causes much discord between the newlyweds, Lady Emily of course unable to stem her naturally inquisitive nature, danger or not. There is madness afoot: in the haunting cries of a child heard in the night; in Edith's unsuitable affair and tragic fate; in the mind of a neighbor's wife, who vacillates between hilarity and lapses of memory; and in the blade of a killer's bloody knife that leaves two victims in its wake.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Though Ms. Alexander's ability to spin a tale remains undiminished - I must say I found her latest Lady Emily mystery deeply disappointing. 'Dangerous to Know' focuses on both murder and marriage - the latter (Lady Emily's) in many ways the more important focus of the book. Colin, it seems, has reverted to type - 19th century type, to be precise. He's decided to limit his wifes participation in his/her work - something not at all out of the ordinary for the times. And in keeping with those times, his wifes obvious pain and disillusionment means little. The husband has spoken - so thus mote it be. And like any good 19th century wife - Emily's options are limited (as in 'none'). She has to find a way to live with it. That's how 'real life' marriage was. So Lady Emily's unhappiness become the readers unhappiness - and therein lies my overall objection.

I found it difficult to finish the book. I read the Lady Emily series for the fun of it. Emily's character has evolved beautifully (and intriguingly) - discovering who she was and want she was capable of. I found her independence one of her most attractive qualities. To now watch such a bright light dimmed (in keeping with correct 19th century mores or not) disappoints me no end. Putting it frankly.....from my point of view there's precious little reason to keep reading the series. I just cannot get invested in what the title character is doing only to read of her pain when her 'loving' husband steps in and packs her off - all the while enjoying the fruits of her (to that point) endeavors. Because of course he plans on making use of her abilities. She's just to be denied satisfaction of the denouement (at his discretion). That's like sex without the orgasm. All thats left is frustration.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The lush landscapes of Normandy are the setting for this, the fifth and arguably most mature and complex of the Lady Emily series. It is a uniquely skilled writer who can so convincingly and accurately portray such diverse settings, but Alexander manages to do that once again in Dangerous to Know. A taut plot, rich character development, and easy-reading style push this book along in the most entertaining way. It's like Halloween candy for readers, yet it also delves into the core of human experience with terrific insight. Not to miss for any fan of good writing generally or historical fiction in particular.
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Format: Hardcover
I have to begin by saying that historical mystery/romance fiction is not really my genre of choice (I grew up mainly on science-fiction and a little bit of fantasy). I started reading Alexander's work by way of recommendation from a friend as something to fill the time on a trans-atlantic flight, and I'm now extremely grateful to that friend for it. Once returned from that trip I tore through the rest of her work until I caught up with Lady Emily's story, and found it hard to be patient until the next work was published.
Dangerous to Know was worth all the waiting. Alexander mixes plotlines masterfully, capturing both the mind and the heart of the reader. I don't think I can do justice in praise to how she brings her characters to life, and the way she keeps you guessing right to the very end. Not to mention that the research she puts into the historical accuracy of even the smallest details is terribly impressive. I _can_ tell you I'm already finding it hard to wait patiently for the next, but I'll be filling the time in re-reading the series to my wife - a delightful way to spend an evening.
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