I'm a bibliophile since early childhood. Love speculative fiction, odd premises, mystery novels that teach about different places and times.
This is not an overwhelming book. It's light and pleasant fluff, mostly. The characters are neither deep or wide.They are, to the main, likable. But it's a pleasant read and a look at Victoriana India which I did find interesting.
Interesting characters and plot twists that overcome the perfusion of standard mystery cliches.
The least interesting were the cliches themselves, some of which were taken right out of the pages of Conan Doyle (which of course were not cliches when he wrote them). These were so transparent as to be entirely predictable, and unlike their use by Conan Doyle really and little to do with the actual solution of the crime.
The most interesting aspect of the story was the juxtaposition of a standard turn of the Century English mystery with very modern literary themes.
Ellen Archer does a superb job of giving each candidate his or hers own identity. No mean feat given the number and nationalities of the characters.
I've enjoyed listening to the other Julia Grey novels, but they often didn't complete the mystery to my satisfaction or it was too obvious who the culprit was. This one fleshes out all the characters marvelously and the mystery is much better written. I didn't know til three-quarters of the way thru, who had probably done it. I'm looking forward to the next novel in which, I hope there will be as much cooperation between Julia and Brisbane as stupid misunderstandings (which is an artless way of continuing the plot).
This is the fourth book in the series and so far the easiest to read. We are finally free of Brisbane's brooding will he or won't he agony, since he was safely(?) married to Jane in the last book. He still is not a likable character in contrast to the interesting, funny and warm heroine and her family. As far as the mystery goes, it was kind of predictable but I like the characters well enough not to get board. I think the stores are getting better as they develop and I am looking forward to reading the next book. The narrator of the book is as usual wonderful!
I realize that Deanna Raybourn is not up there with Virginia Woolf but I love her Lady Jane Grey mysteries. I guess they are published by Harlequin but while they have a love story angle they are definitely not a poor woman's porno like some books in the romantic genre. Raybourn does a good plot, her characters are richly drawn and very appealing (or hateful as the case may be or the story calls for) and she has a witty, tongue in cheek style.
I'm amazed at the comments criticizing Ellen Archer. For me she strikes just the right note for these stories. I believe that at one time a different narrator was tried for one or two of this series but there must have been a big outcry because they redid them with Ellen Archer which I found a big relief. I would be very sad if they tried to replace her again.