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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Review - A Crimson Warning

Previously I had reviewed the book just prior in the series, Dangerous to Know (click here.) Are you a Lady Emily fan already? Find out how this book, with Emily and Colin in London, delivers drama and mystery.

Author: Tasha Alexander

Copyright: October 25 2011 (Minotaur Books) 413 pgs

Series: 6th in Lady Emily Mysteries

Sensuality: Victorian mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Suspense

Main Characters: Lady Emily Hargreaves, Wealthy and titled

Setting: 1890s Victorian era, London England

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

Part of my Historical Mystery Reading Challenge (click here).

Lady Emily is back in London and amidst the dances and rides in the park, high society's dirty little secrets are being revealed.  It begins as a mansion is splashed with bright crimson paint that can't be washed away.  Then the family's deepest secret gets revealed in a public display.  Additionally, there is a warehouse fire and a highly respected man is killed in the blaze.  Colin has his hands full investigating the fire because of some suspicious aspects to it, and trying to stop the person making high society afraid to breath.  Then a kidnapping of  the fiance of the man who died in the warehouse fire increases the pressure. While Lady Emily is assisting Colin with his investigations, she is also getting involved with the Women’s Liberal Federation pushing for women to vote.

Lady Emily continues to push the envelope by joining ranks with the Women’s Liberal Federation, but goes even further when she goes against societal pressure and befriends Lady Glover who is shunned by high society.  Lady Glover had been an actress before she married into society.  As if that weren't bad enough, she uses zebras rather than horses on her carriage and is flamboyant.  Lady Emily works with Colin in a manor that they can both agree on in this book, giving her some due while keeping her safe.  Colin's character shines in this addition, he has some secrets and is pushed hard to quickly find answers that aren't easily uncovered.  Even Emily's sweet best friend Ivy has a secret that she lives in terror will be revealed.  Emily's long standing friend Jeremy gives a touch of humor in this tense story.  I would have to say that both Ivy and Jeremy are the surprise standouts in this book.

When I read the cover it did not do justice to the story.  The level of tension among the privileged class each time a mansion has red paint splashed over it as a warning that their deep secret will be publicly revealed is skillfully portrayed.  The fabric of high society's structure being ripped apart and exposed as hypocrits is surprisingly dramatic as death and kidnappings bring a serious note.  Even the darker side of London is shown with the deplorable factories having a small role and the double standards for upper verses lower classes are shown.  There is even a bit of a scavenger hunt for the final evidence which was a different twist.

The plot has plenty of red herrings and different aspects and subplots that keep the story moving and the reader engaged.  The confrontation of the killer is realistic and emotional.  The wrap up ties up all loose-ends neatly and leaves the reader satisfied. 

Fans of Lady Emily will enjoy this outing and readers being introduced to the series with this book will likely become fans.  Lady Emily continues to be a strong lead character with a bit of quirkiness.

Ratings:  Excellent - Loved it! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list.

Library Lovers' Month at local library

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