Fanciful Reader

a book blog about romance and more. . .

The Dark Enquiry by Deanna Raybourn

The Dark Enquiry by Deanna Raybourn
Release Date: June 21, 2011
Mira (Harlequin)

The latest book in the Lady Julia Grey series has the protagonists return to London after their Mediterranean honeymoon and stop in India in Dark Road to Darjeeling. Nicolas Brisbane is helping Lady Julia’s brother, Bellmont investigate a matter that they’re trying to keep from her. Believing that Brisbane is in some kind of trouble, Julia follows him to a spiritualist’s headquarters masquerading as a man. But of course Brisbane sees through her disguise and immediately tries to protect her from the danger he knows is lurking at the Spirit Club. After the seance, the medium dies in her room with Brisbane and Julia as the witnesses.

The killer, it seems, was one of those present at the seance. Brisbane reluctantly lets
Julia help with the investigation. The killer begins to threaten the Brisbanes. When the
threats escalates from blackmail letters to their personal safety, they flee to the gypsy
encampment on Hampstead Heath. The conclusion is thrilling and well thought out, and leaves the reader anxious for the next book in the series.

I enjoyed this book very much, and was really glad for the characters to return to London. The story was fast-paced and gripping. As someone who grew up reading Gothic romances, I liked the paranormal elements in the story. I also enjoyed the scenes at the gypsy camp–and especially Brisbane’s delightfully risque granny.

A continued source of conflict between Lady Julia and Nicholas is that she wants to help in his investigations, while he wants to protect her, and keep both of them shielded from his clairvoyant visions. Lady Julia’s efforts to help her husband verge on the ridiculous sometimes, like her experiments with gunpowder, and Brisbane often has to step in to save her from herself. Though this is sometimes frustrating for me as a reader, I think it’s also necessary to keep the story moving and provide some contrast to the couple’s frequent amorous pursuits. Though my dear husband would no doubt object, I wouldn’t mind having a Nicolas Brisbane of my own!

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley.