Oct 18, 2010

Book Review: Dark Road to Darjeeling (Book 4 in Lady Julia Grey series) by Deanna Raybourn



Dark Road to Darjeeling (Book 4 in Lady Julia Grey series) by Deanna Raybourn
Paperback, 400 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Mira (first published September 17th 2010)
ISBN0778328201 (ISBN13: 9780778328209)
http://www.deannaraybourn.com/dark_road_.
series Lady Julia #4

After eight idyllic months in the Mediterranean, Lady Julia Grey and her detective husband are ready to put their investigative talents to work once more. At the urging of Julia’s eccentric family, they hurry to India to aid an old friend, the newly-widowed Jane Cavendish. Living on the Cavendish tea plantation with the remnants of her husband’s family, Jane is consumed with the impending birth of her child—and with discovering the truth about her husband’s death. Was he murdered for his estate? And if he was, could Jane and her unborn child be next?
Amid the lush foothills of the Himalayas, dark deeds are buried and malicious thoughts flourish. The Brisbanes uncover secrets and scandal, illicit affairs and twisted legacies. In this remote and exotic place, exploration is perilous and discovery, deadly. The danger is palpable and, if they are not careful, Julia and Nicholas will not live to celebrate their first anniversary.

This newest release in the Lady Julia Grey mystery series was released in October 1, 2010 by MIRA and helped to introduce Deanna Raybourn to book reviewers through MIRA's marketing efforts. I am one of those new fans of Deanna Raybourn, and I have reviewed book one and book two in the series here at The Burton Review.

Dark Road to Darjeeling begins with Julia traipsing through India at the behest of two of her siblings, Portia and Plum. Her new husband, Nicholas Brisbane, and she are already at odds with each other. The stories leading up to their relationship are found in the previous novels, and the charm of the duo would be immediately lost on a reader who started the series with this book. The book could be a stand alone novel though, but as with all series, it is best to start with the beginning for continuity's sake. Even though I read book one and two, I had to skip three and keep it on my wishlist and was forced to begin book four because there are dozens of folks ahead of me in the wishlist queue.

Book three, Silent on the Moor, had Brisbane and Julia marrying, which was a surprise to learn when starting book four, and I was sorry I missed it. Besides that, book four seemed to picked up where I had left off, which shows talented storytelling for a series. I was once again immersed in Lady Julia's world and I enjoyed this story very much as she explored the tea making estate where her friend Jane's husband had been killed. Freddie was bitten by a snake, but it should not have been life threatening, and he left behind Jane with his unborn child. If it was a boy, the inhabitants of the estate would be in an uproar. But could these family members have killed Freddie for the inheritance?

The story in book four did not seem as witty and full of mirth as book two (my favorite), but it was still charming, fun and worthwhile. The who-dun-it mystery itself unwrapped slowly and I enjoyed the characterization of the new characters and the eccentricities of those that appeared in the story. Even though Brisbane and Julia were married by this time, I appreciated the way the author showed the relationship as one that was still learning and developing, and the sparks still flew. Raybourn's first person writing for Julia made me feel like I was having a long conversation with a best friend and I thoroughly enjoyed myself in Julia's world. I am completely sold on this author, and I will be happy to spend money on her next books and the book three that I have missed.