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A Fatal Waltz Hardcover – May 20, 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 104 customer reviews
Book 3 of 10 in the Lady Emily Series

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Editorial Reviews

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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From Booklist

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

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: WilliamMr; 1 edition (May 20, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006117422X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061174223
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #773,342 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lilly Flora VINE VOICE on May 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I could not be more pleased that Tasha Alexander is the kind of prolific author who comes out with one book a year seeing as her Lady Emily mystery series is just soooo good that waiting any longer for the next installment would be simply intolerable. To answer the obvious question-yes that means this novel, the third in the series aptly titled "A Fatal Waltz" is just as good, if not better than its predecessors. And far more dangerous...

We join Lady Emily Ashton for a shooting weekend at the hideously decorated country estate of Lord Fortescue, one of the most powerful men in England who has taken a great dislike to Emily because of her pursuit of the scholarly arts and her engagement to Colin Hargreaves, who often investigates matters for the Empire that demand a certain amount of discretion (in other words, he's a beautiful spy). The terrible man has decided to make the party hideously uncomfortable for Emily by pointing out one of the guests, a beautiful Austrian countess, was once involved with Colin in a way that no fiancé could be happy about. But Emily's distress over the Countess is put on hold when Fortescue is found murdered and out of all the people in the party it is Robert Brandon, Emily's best friends Ivy's husband, who is charged with the crime because of a rather public argument with his political mentor, Fortescue.

Charged by Robert to find proof of a warning of a plot for the Lord's death sent from Vienna to the departed Lord shortly before his death Emily, Cecil Du Lac and Jeremy Sheffield Duke of Bainbridge head to Vienna to find out what they can to help Brandon, where they are shortly joined by Colin.
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Format: Hardcover
A FATAL WALTZ (Hist Mys/Amateur Sleuth-Emily, Lady Aston-England/Austria-Victorian) - G+
Alexander, Tasha - 3rd in series
William Morrow, 2008, US Hardcover - ISBN: 9780061174223

First Sentence: I had not noticed it when she first arrived: the way she leaned too far towards him as he kissed her hand, the hint of surprised recognition in his eyes.

What begins as a tedious weekend in the country, for Emily, Lady Aston and her fiancé Colin Hargreaves, changes dramatically. The politically powerful Lord Fortescue is murdered and the husband of Emily's friend, Ivy, is accused of his murder. It is going to depend upon Emily, and a trip to Vienna, to set matters right.

I enjoy this series, but this wasn't my favorite book of it. My feelings toward it are a series of contrasts.

The characters are wonderful, if you've read the previous two books, but lacked character development, if you've not. I love Emily and Colin.

I was disappointed there the delightful supporting characters from the previous books didn't have a bigger role. The inclusion of history and historical figures adds verisimilitude. It is always fascinating reading about the social mores of that time and the descriptions are wonderfully done.

I think the biggest problem I had is the same I have with modern amateur sleuths; they just don't seem plausible to me in some of the things they get away with doing, although Ms. Alexander tries hard to make it work.

The first book of this series, "And Only to Deceive," was so well done, I wonder whether this entry suffers a bit by comparison. Even so, I shall continue with the series.
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Format: Hardcover
I had been eagerly awaiting the publication of this book. I read both of Alexander's previous novels and enjoyed them very much, especially A Poisoned Season.

This is the third murder mystery solved by Lady Ashton. She is the a young widow engaged to her dead husband's best friend. Her finance, Colin Hargreaves works for the government and appreciates Emily's bright and inquisitive mind. Emily is at a party at Lord Fortescue's estate when the nasty old politician is murdered and her best friend Ivy's husband Robert Brandon is arrested for the crime. Colin is sent on urgent national business and now it's up to Emily to solve the crime and free her dear friend's husband.

Unfortunately I was very disappointed by A Fatal Waltz. I thought this novel was seriously lacking character development. It felt like this was the last chapter of another book rather than a solid work of fiction that would stand on it's own. I thought the mystery was lacking, it seemed almost silly to me. The relationship between Emily and Colin seemed flat and lacked realism. I thought some of the placement of things was a bit odd; a letter from Margaret placed right in the middle of the unfolding of a murder. And the whole idea that Emily would just call upon the hated evil anarchist in Vienna was just not that believable to me. The thread of unrequited love seemed a bit silly to me as well. Oh the poor soul is devastated and then healed with little transition from one to the other.

This novel is not of the same quality as A Poisoned Season and I was rather disappointed. I will likely read the next adventure of Lady Ashton but I won't be chomping at the bit to buy it the moment it's published, I'll borrow it from the library and hope it's better than this installment.
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