In the Shadow of Vesuvius

Lady Emily Mystery #14

By Tasha Alexander

ISBN# 9781250164735

Author’s website:

Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele


Some corpses lie undisturbed longer than others. But when Lady Emily discovers a body hidden in plain sight amongst the ruins of Pompeii, it still comes as quite a shock.

Eager to explore ancient sites and modern archaeological digs, Lady Emily jumps at the chance to accompany her dearest childhood friend Ivy Brandon on an excursion to Italy. Soon old friends are joined by new, including the American siblings Benjamin and Calliope Carter (he, a moody painter, and she, a freethinking archaeologist capable of sparring with even the Duke of Bainbridge’s most devious flirtations). But when the two women, along with Emily’s devoted husband Colin Hargreaves, uncover a corpse and the police dismiss the murder as the work of local gangsters, Lady Emily leaves behind museum tours and villas to investigate.

But an artful murderer is nothing compared to the sudden appearance of a beautiful young woman who claims a shocking relationship to the Hargreaves family. As Colin warms to the girl, Emily must endure an endless stream of slights and snubs. Someone else has it out for Emily, too, someone who keeps sending her threats. Undaunted, Lady Emily’s desire to unearth the truth takes her from Pompeii to Naples, to ancient times and back again. But how far below the surface can she dig before she risks burying herself along with the truth? 


As the fourteenth book in the long running Lady Emily Mystery series, In the Shadow of Vesuvius’ characters are as fresh as ever.  With its fascinating Pompeii setting, murder mystery, and story within a story, it is engrossing reading.

I have been a longtime reader of Lady Emily and Colin and greatly enjoyed this outing.  A new character is introduced early in the tale, and right now I am not a fan, but I am quite interested to see how they fit in moving forward.  I usually adore Colin, but I am disappointed with his actions and attitude regarding this new person, and it feels so out of character.  He does make some amends in the final pages of the book, but I hope he fully redeems himself in the next book.  I really enjoy Emily’s friend Jeremy and am so happy that he is featured prominently. 

Author Alexander’s love of Pompeii shines through on every page, and the history is obviously faultlessly researched.  The book really tells two stories – Lady Emily’s murder mystery set in 1902, and the tale of freed slave Kassandra set leading up to the fateful day Vesuvius erupted.  I would rather the book focus on the murder(s) and Emily’s era, but Kassandra’s narrative is interesting, and the two threads do eventually intersect.  The architectural site’s excavation team provides plenty of suspects.  Each one seems to have secrets, and Emily and Colin stay busy as they weed through motives and alibis.  There are enough twists and turns to keep readers guessing until the climactic end.

In the Shadow of Vesuvius is sure to please both longtime readers of the series and those new to Lady Emily’s world.  I hope there many, many more adventures to read.

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*