Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Book Review: Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn

Silent in the Grave
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Series: A Lady Julia Grey Mystery
Publication: MIRA; Reprint edition (August 17, 2015)

Description: "Let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave."

These ominous words are the last threat that Sir Edward Grey receives from his killer. Before he can show them to Nicholas Brisbane, the private inquiry agent he has retained for his protection, he collapses and dies at his London home, in the presence of his wife, Julia, and a roomful of dinner guests.

Prepared to accept that Edward's death was due to a long-standing physical infirmity, Julia is outraged when Brisbane visits and suggests that her husband was murdered. It is a reaction she comes to regret when she discovers damning evidence for herself, and realizes the truth.

Determined to bring the murderer to justice, Julia engages the enigmatic Brisbane to help her investigate Edward's demise. Dismissing his warnings that the investigation will be difficult, if not impossible, Julia presses forward, following a trail of clues that lead her to even more unpleasant truths, and ever closer to a killer who waits expectantly for her arrival.

My Thoughts: Lady Julia Grey tells this story of the year after her husband collapses and dies at a dinner party. When Nicholas Brisbane comes to tell her that her husband had hired him because of some threatening letters he had received, she isn't convinced that he was murdered. After all, he had a long-standing heart condition that ran in his family that would also explain his death.

However, after almost a year in mourning, she is clearing out her husband's study and finds one of the notes. For her own peace of mind, she needs to know whether or not her husband was murdered. She contacts Nicholas Brisbane again to hire him to assist her in finding out what happened to her husband.

Lady Julia is the daughter of an Earl and was left independently wealthy by her husband's death but she still feels bound by the social mores of 1886 London. Her father raised her and her 9 brothers and sisters using some quite radical ideas which makes society's rules rather a tight fit for a woman who is bright and educated. However, as a daughter of the eccentric March family, Julia herself longs to be normal and conventional. The investigation will push her well out of her comfort zone as she uncovers secrets that will change her life.

Julia also gets to know Nicholas in the course of the investigation. He is not the sort of man who has littered her life previously. He begins as a rather mysterious character but some of his past is revealed in the course of the investigation too.

I loved the setting and Julia as a character. Julia is well aware that she lives a privileged life and feels that it is her duty to help those less fortunate. Her maid is a former prostitute from an organization her aunt supports to train these women for useful employment. She has also made a place in her home for a gypsy who was shunned by her family despite the widespread prejudice against gypsies. I loved her reaction to the family doctor who kept things from her and who refuses to work with a Jewish doctor. I loved her eccentric family. I loved the support and love shown by her father. I loved her sister Portia who tries to convince Julia to become more adventurous. I loved the juxtaposition of Victorian morals, especially regarding sexuality, to Julia's more liberal beliefs.

This was an excellent story. While I am sorry that I didn't discover this series when it was first written, I am glad that I have many more of Lady Julia's adventures available for me to read now.

Favorite Quote:
Portia stopped walking and turned to face me, her expression stern. "No, Julia, you need adventure. You need a lover, a holiday abroad. You need to cut your hair and swim naked in a river. You need to eat things you have never even seen before and speak languages you do not know. You need to kiss a man who makes you feel like your knees have turned to water and makes your heart feel as though it would spring from your chest."

Her eyes were so earnest that I burst out laughing. "I think you have been at my romantic novels again." 
I bought this one Jan. 16, 2009. You can buy your copy here.


  1. This is a great series. Your review reminded me how much I enjoyed the first few books in the series and want to get back to it. I love Julia's character, and the relationship between her and Brisbane.

  2. You are fortunate in that you don't have to wait for the books to be released! Love this series.


I love getting comments. Let me know what you think.

This blog is now officially declared an Award Free zone! I do appreciate your kindness in thinking of me and I am humbled by your generosity.

Your comments are award enough for me. Comment away!