Skip to main content

Review--Silent in the Grave, by Deanna Raybourn

Silent in the Grave is a thrilling Victorian mystery that begins with one of the best novel openers I’ve ever read: "To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband's dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor." From there, I knew I was going to be in for quite a ride. And Deanna Raybourn does not disappoint.

No sooner is Sir Edward Gray dead then a mysterious stranger implies to his widow, Lady Julia, that her husband might have been murdered. A year later, Lady Julia unwittingly re-opens the case when she stumbles across a mysterious note shoved in a back drawer of his desk that awakens her curiosity. She and Nicholas Brisbane embark upon a dangerous search for the killer.

Don’t expect this to be your typical murder mystery. Everyone who lives in the Grey house has a secret to hide, not the least of whom was Sir Edward. I’ve read enough mysteries to flatter myself that I can figure out the solution to one before the denouement; but even I was unprepared for this one.

My only problem with this book is the fact that the characters seemed to be a little too modern. This may have had something to do with the fact that Lady Julia was raised in a highly unorthodox environment, but there were definitely some situations where my eyebrows were raised and I thought, "that really wouldn't have happened back then." Also, I found Julia’s actions questionable at times. It was rather like watching those horror movies where the killer is standing directly behind the heroine and she doesn’t see him until its too late. Julia, for all her intelligence, had those moments where she behaved incredibly stupidly, even for an amateur detective.

But nothing is as it seems in Silent In the Grave, and each chapter ends with a cliffhanger that leads you wanting to read more (even if it’s two am and you’re sleep deprived!). I literally did not want to put this novel down, and I eagerly look forward to reading the sequel, Silent in the Sanctuary. It’s difficult to believe, as Raybourn mentions in the introduction of Silent in the Grave, that it took two years for her agent to find a publisher for this book.

Also reviewed by: Reading Matters, A Garden Carried in the Pocket, Obsessed With Books, Historical Tapestry, Medieval Bookworm, S. Krishna's Books


Popular posts from this blog

2015 Reading

1. The Vanishing Witch, by Karen Maitland
2. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
3. Texts From Jane Eyre, by Mallory Ortberg
4. Brighton Rock, by Graham Green
5. Brat Farrar, by Josephine Tey
6. Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
7. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
8. A Movable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway
9. A Room of One's Own, by Virginia Woolf
10. Other Voices, Other Rooms, by Truman Capote
11. Maggie-Now, by Betty Smith

1. Middlemarch, by George Eliot
2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
3. Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate, by Cynthia Lee
4. Music For Chameleons, by Truman Capote
5. Peyton Place, by Grace Metalious
6. Unrequited, by Lisa Phillips
7. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
8. A Lost Lady, by Willa Cather

1. Persuasion, by Jane Austen
2. Love With a Chance of Drowning, by Torre DeRoche
3. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
4. Miss Buncle's Book, by DE Stevenson
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garc…

2016 Reading

1. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
2. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum
3. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
4. Liar: A Memoir, by Rob Roberge

1. The Forsyte Saga, by John Galsworthy
2. Girl in the Woods, by Aspen Matis
3. She Left Me the Gun, by Emma Brockes
4. Because of the Lockwoods, by Dorothy Whipple
5. The Chronology of Water, by Lidia Yuknavitch
6. To Show and to Tell, by Philip Lopate

1. Fierce Attachments, by Vivian Gornick
2. Too Brief a Treat, by Truman Capote
3. On the Move: a Life, by Oliver Sacks
4. The Go-Between, by LP Hartley
5. The Art of Memoir, by Mary Karr
6. Giving Up the Ghost, by Hilary Mantel
7. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
8. The Great American Bus Ride, by Irma Kurtz
9. An Unquiet Mind, by Kay Radfield Jamison
10. A Widow's Story, by Joyce Carol Oates
11. So Sad Today, by Melissa Broder
12. The Liar's Club, by Mary Karr
13. An American Childhood, by Annie Dillard
14. So Sad Today, by Melissa Broder

Review: Forever Amber, by Kathleen Winsor

Pages: 972Originally published: 1944My edition: 2000 (Chicago Review Press)How I acquired my copy:, 2004

Forever Amber takes place in the 1660s, immediately follwing Charles II's ("the Merry Monarch") return of the Stuarts to the English throne. The book features Amber St. Claire, a young woman who starts out as a sixteen-year-old country girl, naieve to the workings of the world. She immediately meets Bruce Carlton, a dashing young Cavalier, with whom she has a passionate love affair in choppy intervals throughout the book. They have two children together, but Bruce won't marry her for the reason he tells his friend Lord Almsbury: that Amber just isn't the kind of woman one marries.

Upon following Bruce to London, he goes to Virginia, leaving her to fend for herself. What follows is a series of affairs and four marriages, with Bruce coming back from America now and then. Amber's marriages are imprudent: her first husband is a gambler, her second is…