“Well, I suppose that settles it. Either we all go home to England for Christmas or we hurl ourselves into Lake Como to atone for our sins.”
Silent in the Sanctuary by Deanna Raybourn
In the second installment of the Lady Julia Grey series Julia has been in Italy for six months with her brothers. Being away has lifted her spirits and allowed her to regain her health but now her father is requesting that they all head back to England upon hearing that one of his sons has married an Italian woman.
Arriving in Sussex they learn that their father has a houseful of guests for Christmas and to top it off one of the guests is the intriguing Nicholas Brisbane whom Julia had collaborated with on an investigation and had gotten close to, or at least she thought. She still finds Nicholas just as appealing but he’s not alone, he’s brought his darling if somewhat vapid fiancee with him. Thank goodness Julia and her brothers thought to invite Alessandro, an Italian count, with them. She’ll show Nicholas that she has her share of admirers too.
The March family is filled with eccentrics. An aunt who may be going a bit mad, the poor relations, Lady Julia herself has a pet raven and as if that weren’t enough to ensure chaos among the family the weather has basically left them snowed-in and now one among them is dead. Who is the killer and what was the motive?
Lady Julia and Nicholas are deteremined to find out who the murderer is. Surely it can’t be the ghosts that some say they have see or the gypsies nearby. As Lady Julia works to uncover the clues she learns more about Nicholas and finds it harder to keep from thinking of him.
Unlike the first book in the series I felt this one was leaning more towards a romance genre. I enjoy my mysteries with a bit of romance and like to see characters develop their relationships but in this case I felt I was a reading a romance with some mystery. Why even the murder didn’t happen until almost half way into the book.
I liked the setting and how it basically became a locked-room mystery as the characters were “locked in” the estate because of the weather but I didn’t particularly like all the cast of eccentrics. It seemed like everyone had something just so wild and offbeat about them. I found that a bit much. I really liked the first book in this series and found this one a bit disappointing so I’m not sure if I’ll continue with the third book.
Source: Personal copy