Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Dark Enquiry, by Deanna Raybourn

It's always a good day when a Lady Julia book lands on my front porch.  When author Deanna Raybourn caught my attention with Silent in the Grave, I hadn't expected to discover a series where each book is just as good as the last, if not better, and the storyline of Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane constantly evolves into something more and more exciting.  Now that we are at Lady Julia book #5, I've been thinking back to the previous novels and analyzing my reactions to each.  The first 3 were filled with such intensity between Lady Julia and Brisbane, and you were hanging on the edge for them to get together.  My sigh of relief at the end of Silent on the Moor could probably be heard for miles!  Dark Road to Darjeeling began the journey into the married life of Lady Julia and Brisbane, and therefore an additional mystery.  I've spoken to several readers about Dark Road to Darjeeling, and their reactions to the way Raybourn wrote the now married detectives.  I'll admit in my review of the book, I never touched on this aspect of the story, as I was drawn into the suspenseful plot and didn't give much thought to their marriage.  Other more astute readers did not, however, and I've heard some relate they were not happy with the way the couple treated each other, and that it wasn't what they thought the marriage would be.  I've given it some thought since my last discussion with dear friend and fellow reviewer KristinH, and I've come to the realization that I expected more from their marriage.  The Dark Enquiry is what I was looking for.

Lady Julia and Brisbane have taken up residence in London, and we get a glimpse into what life is like for residents as Lady Julia is working on yet another recipe for black powder, after several failed batches.  Aquinas cannot keep staff because of the strange comings and goings, and Lady Julia is still trying to work her way into Brisbane's life by being his partner in investigations.  Lady Julia's enthusiasm for all things related to Brisbane's business leads her to worm her way into cases by means of not telling her husband until she is need of rescue.  In fact, the entire book is full of Brisbane trying to keep Lady Julia out of harms way while she is assisting him with a case involving a medium with possible links to espionage.  As the novel unravels, you see a different side of the Brisbane's; the side that shows just how devoted they truly are to each other.  Brisbane cannot live without Lady Julia, and his visions begin early on with a sensation of being suffocated, which comes to shocking reality towards the end.  His visions are connected to his emotions towards his wife, and these visions he is unable to fight and numb with medicines.  Lady Julia is just as devoted, and her entrance into her husband's investigation stems from her worry that he is in trouble.  All this not love, however, as Brisbane shows his anger more than once at Lady Julia's actions and puts his foot down.  There is still the tug of war about Lady Julia's place in his investigations and her safety, but the passion they have for each other is proudly displayed even if it's not written in detail.  Their love for each other can be felt.

The story itself involves espionage and a cast of secondary characters that as always in a Raybourn novel, have interesting back stories and complete the plot.  I was very happy to have more Plum in this book, for he is my favorite brother, and of course, Lady Portia and her new addition are present.  This book will lead you through a roller coaster of emotions, and I went from sitting on the edge of my seat, to laughing, to having to set the book down and cry my eyes out. (you'll know when you get to that part)  If you are a fan of mystery/suspense, and like it with a dose of Victorianism, you will want to pick up this book regardless if you've read the entire series.  Oh, and it's a must have for fans.  Brisbane only gets more swoon worthy as the series goes on, and this book is no exception.


  1. YAY!! Can't wait to start it!

  2. As a long time Lady Julia and Brisbane fan, I've been looking forward to reading this. Thanks for the excellent review.

    I admit that I was one of those people who was disappointed in the way their relationship unfolded in TDRTD. Lady Julia irritated me with the way she ignored her husband's attempts at keeping her safe. Also, I know that it's part of her personality but I was more than a little put out at the way she arrogantly thought she could be just as good a detective as he was. That attitude put her in harm's way more than once and due to her own arrogance in my opinion. Now, don't get me wrong--I still adore Julia, but I thought she was being obstinate. It also didn't help that Brisbane also behaved a lot less than I expected him. But, I also chalked it up to a true depiction of the beginnings of a marriage between two very strong-willed people, one of them having been a repressed wife for way too long to put up with it any longer.

    Look at me rambling on and on! Sorry, but I'm very excited to read about the further adventures of my favorite Victorian detectives.

  3. Just started it! And love it so far.