Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Mystery Book Review: Silent in the Sanctuary by Deanna Raybourn

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of Silent in the Sanctuary by Deanna Raybourn. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Silent in the Sanctuary by Deanna RaybournBuy from Amazon.com
Silent in the Sanctuary by
A Lady Julia Grey Mystery

Mira Books (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-7783-2492-3 (0778324923)
ISBN-13: 978-0-7783-2492-8 (9780778324928)
Publication Date: January 2008
List Price: $13.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Fresh from a six-month sojourn in Italy, Lady Julia Grey returns home to Sussex to find her father's estate crowded with family and friends— but dark deeds are afoot at the deconsecrated abbey, and a murderer roams the ancient cloisters.

Much to her surprise, the one man she had hoped to forget—the enigmatic and compelling Nicholas Brisbane—is among her father's houseguests … and he is not alone. Not to be outdone, Julia shows him that two can play at flirtation and promptly introduces him to her devoted, younger, titled Italian count.

But the homecoming celebrations quickly take a ghastly turn when one of the guests is found brutally murdered in the chapel, and a member of Lady Julia's own family confesses to the crime. Certain of her cousin's innocence, Lady Julia resumes her unlikely and deliciously intriguing partnership with Nicholas Brisbane, setting out to unravel a tangle of deceit before the killer can strike again. When a sudden snowstorm blankets the abbey like a shroud, it falls to Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane to answer the shriek of murder most foul.

Review: Lady Julia Grey returns home to Sussex during the winter of 1887 from an extended stay in Florence only to find mystery and intrigue in Deanna Raybourn's second book in this series, Silent in the Sanctuary.

Following the unexpected marriage of Lady Julia's brother, Lysander, to a young, beautiful, and hot-tempered Italian woman, Lord March, Lady Julia's father, summons the family together at his home, an abbey in Sussex. The abbey is a very large, luxurious, and ancient structure, with acres of grounds. There are an abundance of rooms, including kitchens, dining halls, massive suites and not so massive bedrooms (none of which have electricity). There are dark and hidden hallways, and secret passageways to the outside. Some who have stayed there tell of seeing ghosts roaming the hallways at night. But Lysander’s wedding was not the cause of the order from Lord March for Lady Julia and her brother to return to the abbey. It seems Lord March has invited the entire clan to stay there: other relatives, aunts and cousins and more, greeted them on their arrival. Also staying at the abbey, at the request of Lord March, is Nicholas Brisbane, a private investigator who worked with Lady Julia in solving her own husband’s murder six months earlier. And Brisbane is accompanied by his fiancĂ©e. With this many people together, it was inevitable that conversations would turn from pleasantries to those including love, hate, jealousy, and even more sinister topics, such as deceit, theft, and murder. When a local member of the clergy is found murdered in the abbey's sanctuary, Lady Julia's cousin confesses to the crime. But she doesn't believe it to be true, and joins Brisbane in an investigation to discover the truth.

Mesmerizing and atmospheric, Silent in the Sanctuary is a beautifully written period piece mystery with an intricate plot and populated with richly drawn characters and settings in which the author provides an interesting and detailed window into the privileged life of the aristocracy of 19th century England. It is also a poignant love story with a mystery of its own. The interplay between Lady Julia and Brisbane is delightful making this series one that promises to be most enjoyable.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Silent in the Sanctuary and to Nancy Berland Public Relations for providing an ARC of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

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