Lady Emily Mystery, Book #10
By Tasha Alexander
Author Website: http://www.tashaalexander.com
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. (Goodreads)
The Adventuress, the tenth book in the Lady Emily Victorian era mystery series, is a riveting adventure through the French Riviera, full of high society politics, cruel and conniving intentions, and danger.
Lady Emily’s childhood friend Jeremy, a confirmed bachelor, has finally found a mate in American heiress Amity Wells. To celebrate the engagement, several of their closest friends and family are invited on a glamorous trip to the French Riviera. The story opens with an early morning knock on the door and a hotel employee exclaiming that Jeremy has died. Emily will not be left behind when her husband Colin goes to investigate and is greatly relieved to find that it is indeed not Jeremy but his school chum Neville dead in Jeremy’s bed, the victim of an apparent suicide. Though a bit shy, Neville gave no indication that he was unhappy and wished to end his life so Emily refuses to accept the coroner’s verdict. Neville’s death casts a shadow over the party…for a bit. Through it all, Emily tries to befriend Amity, though she has serious reservations about her. But someone is up to some tricks, making it look like Emily is torturing Amity. As Emily digs to find out the truth about Neville’s death and salvage her friendship with Jeremy, things are not all as they seem.
I have always enjoyed Lady Emily’s exploits, though some of the more recent offerings have not been as pleasing. The Adventuress, however, returns to the spirit of the earlier books of the series, and I greatly enjoyed it. I like that Ms. Alexander finally brought Jeremy and Emily’s unique relationship to the forefront. The characters here are well-drawn, if a bit stereotypical. Emily is a strong heroine and Colin a worthy counterpart. They do sometimes come across as too perfect (or “too very” for those who have already read the book), but they are so likable that I do not mind. There were plenty of people to dislike this time around, namely the Wells family. They are fake and shallow, and the brother Augustus crosses the line from eccentric to downright creepy and weird. I never warmed up to Amity, and that may have been Alexander’s intention. Jeremy deserves more.
The actual investigation into Neville’s death does not start in earnest until a fair ways into the story, but this did not deter from the mystery or the pace. There are alternating chapters written from Amity and Emily’s perspectives, and I think this helped keep the story interesting and move it along. The mystery itself is well crafted, and the motivation of the “bad guy” is presented in a creative and twisty way. The subplot concerning Emily being framed for misdeeds against Amity helped round out the plot. There is also plenty of romance, for the secondary characters, and the whole story is painted with shiny glamour and the excess of the upper class during the Victorian era.
I greatly enjoyed these travels with Emily and Colin and look forward to future adventures, even if they are only from my armchair. I recommend The Adventuress to fans of Lady Emily and those who enjoy a Victorian setting.