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Publisher: 13 October 2015 by Minotaur Books/St Martins Press
Pages: 304 pages
How I Read It: ARC ebook
Genre: historical fiction, mystery
My Rating: 2 crowns
Emily and husband Colin have come to the French Riviera for what should be a joyous occasion - the engagement party of her lifelong friend Jeremy, Duke of Bainbridge, and Amity Wells, an American heiress. But the merrymaking is cut short with the shocking death of one of the party in an apparent suicide. Not convinced by the coroner's verdict, Emily must employ all of her investigative skills to discover the truth and avert another tragedy.
This was my first book by Tasha Alexander: knowing her to be an author of light historical fiction I had eagerly anticipated delving into this genre once more. I am unsure of what the other titles were like in the series, but this instalment I found to be predictable and the plot unconvincing. At times it was engaging but overall, a rather disappointing read.
Lady Emily and friends travel to Nice to celebrate the engagement of one of her closest friends whereupon, murder and the ensuing investigation follow. As stated it was very disappointing that the identity of the murderer was fairly obvious so soon into the book. Therefore I felt it lacked any real mystery, even where the 'why' and 'how' were concerned. It would appear from reading other reviews, that many deducted who, how and why fairly quickly as well. But this provides me with two dilemmas: 1. the only incentive to continue reading, therefore, is from the enjoyment of traveling throughout the French Riviera in the Victorian era (something that was written about reasonably well); and, 2. if I, and countless others, figured it out so early on in the piece, why didn't the clever Lady Emily?
"the obvious solution is not always the correct one."
Sadly, this red herring was not enough and yes! it was that obvious. You could not help but pine for more suspense and mystery; for even if it were a character based study, some of the secondary characters were lacking charm. Amity, in fact her entire family inclusive of strange brother, were unlikeable. I found the ending to be most unsatisfactory, in fact to my mind, it bordered on ridiculous at times. Strange, weird, rather neatly and clinically wrapped up.
Having read other Victorian era based murder mysteries, I found this to be rather the poor cousin.