Upper class Lady Julia Grey, firmly ensconced in her snobbish world, is a frequently used type in the mysteries weve covered. What gives the story its pizzazz is her linkup with the enigmatic private inquiry agent, Nicholas Brisbane. Julias first encounter with Brisbane is one of the more captivating opening sentences of a book. To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husbands dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor.
Raybourns use of Brisbane to explore the world of the Roma (Gypsies) is well done, as is her use of Julias forays into the reasons for Edwards murder a way to reveal Britains deep class divisions. Julias eccentric family is interesting too. One member is a sister whose lesbian affair is apparently tolerated; another is a brother whose desire to become a surgeon, an occupation considered beneath his class, is not.
Although the story often strays into the genre of romance literature, Raybourn writes well and with humor. And it is Lady Julia Grey after all whose unsatiable curiosity leads her to track down the culprit.
This is the first of a promised series featuring Lady Grey and Nicholas Brisbane as they form an unlikely crime solving team.