In Silent in the Sanctuary, Deanna Raybourn continues where Silent in the Grave left off. Lady Julia Grey has just spent six months in Italy with her two brothers, Plum and Lysander, Lysander’s wife Violente, and a friend named Alessandro Fornacci. The March children are summoned home by their father to the family’s ancestral estate Bellmont Abbey, a converted monastery. Once she arrives home, Lady Julia finds, to her surprise, that Nicholas Brisbane is one of the Christmas guests—along with his new fiancée, Mrs. Charlotte King.
Very soon, however, Lady Julia finds herself engrossed in the middle of a murder mystery, as a local curate turns up dead. Complicating the mystery is the fact that Julia’s cousin is found standing over the still-warm corpse, holding a candlestick. Then Julia’s family pearls go missing, and she finds that she may have more than one mystery on her hands. And where on earth has Julia’s great aunt Dorcas gone? Soon, everyone is snowbound in the abbey, with both a murderer and a jewel thief on the loose.
While it takes a while—220 pages or so—for the murder to actually occur, the mystery is well plotted and kept me turning the pages rapidly. Like its predecessor, Silent in the Grave, this mystery had me guessing all the way through—though it was a little easy for me to figure out who the “ghost” was. In all, although I would have liked to see a little more romantic interplay between Julia and Brisbane, this was a thoroughly entertaining and amusing story. I anticipate reading the third book in the series, Silent on the Moor, when it’s published.