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Crimson Warning, A (Lady Emily Mysteries) Paperback – 13 Sep 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur; Reprint edition (13 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250007186
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250007186
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 2.4 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,317,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"At the start of Alexander's enchanting sixth late Victorian novel of suspense (after 2010's Dangerous to Know), news of a fire in Southwark prompts British intelligence agent Colin Hargreaves to leave Lady Londonderry's ball, to his wife Emily's dismay. Colin returns home to Mayfair that night to announce that Michael Dillman, who ran a successful export business, has been cruelly burned alive in his warehouse by an unknown perpetrator. The week before, according to Michael's fiancee, someone threw red paint on his front door. The Sanders family receives similar treatment shortly before the rumor breaks that daughter Polly's mother was, in fact, a maid impregnated by her father. Subsequently, other respectable London families find red paint splashed on their houses, presaging some scandalous revelation in each case. Can Emily help Colin solve the crimes without risking her reputation--or becoming a target herself? Alexander keeps readers guessing to the very end."-"Publishers Weekly"

Book Description

A New York Times bestselling author. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I think at full price it was a bit overpriced... I did enjoy it ..again good bedtime read and I did purchase others in the set.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 64 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
In the Lady Julia vs. Lady Emily competition, I'm switching to Team Lady Emily. 11 Dec 2011
By OLT - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Deanna Raybourn's Lady Julia is a lady sleuth of the peerage in Victorian England. In her first book Silent in the Grave Lady Julia becomes a widow and teams up with her future second husband to find out what had happened to said first husband. (Murder most foul?) In Tasha Alexander's first Lady Emily book in 2005 And Only to Deceive (Lady Emily), her protagonist is also a recently-widowed lady of the peerage in Victorian England who teams up with her deceased husband's best friend (and later to be her second husband) to find out what happened to her first husband.

I suppose if we're going to call anyone a copycat, it must be noted that Alexander's book came out first, but each series has its own special personality and flair and a reader can enjoy both, without feeling that one is imitative of the other. That said, I must confess that I was on Team Lady Julia as to which series I preferred, but I'm switching. The more books written in each series, the less I am admiring Lady Julia's character, personality and behaviour and the more admiring I am of Lady Emily. She has become an admirable woman, an amateur sleuth and scholar (with studies of ancient artifacts, Greek, and Latin) without losing her dignity, common sense and with her behaviour as much in line with Victorian times as an independent thinking woman's can be.

In this entry, someone is disturbing Victorian peerage's peace of mind by splashing red paint on various houses and threatening to reveal secrets and scandals of those living within. When someone ends up murdered, everyone is worried not just that their secrets may be revealed but that their lives may be in danger.

So...Lady Emily and her spy husband to the rescue. This is a darned good story, well paced, with excellent dialogue, well-written characters, and a few red herrings so as not to guess whodunit too soon, all set in a well-researched England of the late 1800s. All in all, a very good read. Go Team Lady Emily!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
WARNING for sure 25 Feb 2013
By Diana - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read all of these Lady Emily books. I've also read the Amelia Peabody series, I've read Anne Perry's Charlotte and friends mysteries (both of which are also set in the Victorian time period and whose characters I assume Lady Emily is somewhat modeled after). I'm sorry to say that Tasha Alexander's books aren't anywhere near in the same league. They lack the wit and depth of knowledge of Elizabeth Peters (and NO ONE can replicate Amelia Peabody), they lack the exquisite detail of research that marks Anne Perry's books.

By comparison, I find Alexander's characters superficial as tin foil, especially Lady Emily whose most daring deviation from the norm is to drink port (she spends an inordinate amount of time drinking something or another). She isn't clever, she's a bull in a china shop, whose insistent clumsiness often gets people killed. I find her merely self absorbed and not the least endearing.

Least satisfying is the author's lack of ability to take the many fragments of her stories and piece them into a coherent whole. Occasionally she comes up with a clever device (after the fashion of Dan Brown), but she simply lacks the ability to weave it into the story effectively. I spend most of my time with Alexander's books marking up the margins with outraged commentary on the general incoherence of the plotting, the superficiality of the characters and research, the ridiculous, often incongruous dialogue...and I could go on, but I don't care to become cruel. I do, after all, keep reading them.

They're light, they're fluff, they have exotic locations, everyone's rich, the women wear pretty dresses. I suppose I'll have to call them, for me, a guilty pleasure. Although the pleasure is less and less, and I think this will be the end of my sojourn with Lady Emily. I stayed with her hoping perhaps that the characters would grow a little, that the author might develop in her skills, but this hasn't happened, and I'm exhausted with the effort I put into these books trying to rewrite them to my own satisfaction.

I would wind up my journey with Lady Emily by pointing out to those who may be thinking of peeking into her world, that these books are surely for younger, less demanding readers (who seem very generous with their stars). If you're looking for something that only requires a small portion of your brain, this is the ticket. If you want something with wit and sophistication, something challenging, go to the originals (Elizabeth Peters, Anne Perry). Or try Ian Pears' Flavia and Argyle series, which is a true delight, and, again, is written by someone who actually finished college and is capable of some depth in his topic as opposed to simply name dropping the occasional artist and thinking that makes her sound learned.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
If you like a little mystery mixed with your historical fiction, Tasha Alexander will not disappoint 31 Oct 2011
By Bookreporter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
There's something fun about discovering an author for the very first time. When I finish the new find, I'm always happy to know that more is waiting for me. This is how I felt after reading A CRIMSON WARNING by Tasha Alexander. I enjoyed the book, and learning that it's part of a series made me happy to know that I would have more chances to peek in on Lady Emily Hargreaves's Victorian London.

Lady Emily is anticipating the delights of the season: the balls, her involvement in lobbying for the right to vote, and, of course, time with her favorite Greek books. At one of the season's first events, Lady Emily is happily dancing away the evening with her husband Colin, looking for an opportunity to sneak out so they can spend some time alone when a fight breaks out among two men. It turns out that an affair has been exposed, and they are arguing over ladies at the party. Suddenly, Colin, an agent of the crown, is called away on urgent business. Emily heads home with friends to discuss the eventful evening. When Colin arrives, it is with sad news: a well-known businessman has been murdered. His fiancée is devastated, but it's when she starts receiving threatening notes from the person who claims to have killed her soon-to-be husband that Emily and Colin start investigating.

Days later, red paint is found splashed on the homes of some of London's most well-to-do. The paint is a warning, and secrets are revealed shortly after, leaving some in London to revel in the disclosures, and others to fear for their lives and what will be revealed about them. When two of society's ladies are kidnapped, the season that held so much promise for fun is now filled with fear.

Lady Emily is far from the standard lady of the day. While she enjoys the pleasures of the season, it's her work lobbying for a woman's right to vote that riles her mother, a more straightforward Victorian lady, to no end. She's also smart and extremely well-educated, which keeps her highly active in her husband's affairs with the crown. And he's willing to keep her involved even when others think he's wrong to do so. Their relationship is certainly more open than most at the time, which is one of the reasons this novel is fun. There is also romance here, but it's not overwhelming and blends in nicely with the story. As a non-romance reader, I was slightly worried that it would overtake the plot, so I was happily surprised with the balance that was struck.

While I loved Colin and Lady Emily's investigation, what I enjoyed even more was the setting. Tasha Alexander does a wonderful job with the details, creating interesting ladies and a picture of Victorian England that is easy to be swept up in. I do wish Lady Emily's mother played a larger role here --- she was quite the interesting character and obviously one very different from Emily. It would have been fun to see more of their interactions.

As a reader of many historical fiction titles, this is one author I'll be returning to for a dose of fun mixed with a great historical setting. She does a fantastic job of weaving together interesting characters with a mystery to keep you wondering what secrets are buried deep in the closets of high society. If you like a little mystery mixed with your historical fiction, Tasha Alexander will not disappoint.

Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Jolly Good Time 6 Nov 2011
By Diana - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Just finished Tasha Alexander's A Crimson Warning. The sixth in her Lady Emily mystery series. What I like: it's a mashup of regency romance and cozy mystery, the proverbial lovechild of Agatha Christie and Barbara Cartland. I'm half in love with Emily's (now husband) dashing spy Colin Hargreaves. The setting is London and the social whirl of the Ton. In this installment, Emily and Colin explore the toxicity of secrets. Someone is literally "Painting the Town Red," or at least the doorsteps of aristocrats with something to hide. It's a game of who will be exposed next and it takes us on a treasure hunt through the British Museum. Tasha Alexander has kept the series fresh which can be hard to do once you've married off your lead characters. If you like cozy history mystery with a froth of romance, you'll love this series. All six books are solid reads.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
superb late Victorian mystery 29 Oct 2011
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In 1893 London at Lady Londonderry's ball, British intelligence agent Colin Hargreaves waltzes with his beloved wife Emily when he is forced to intercede between two men about to go to blows. Before he can finish what he started, the butler gives him a note. He informs Emily he must leave to look into a fire in Southwark. That night he comes home very late and tells his beloved spouse that exporter Michael Dillman died in the warehouse inferno.

Michael's grieving fiancée Cordelia tells Colin that an unknown vandal threw red paint on his door. The family of Polly Sanders, the latest scandalous lineage rumor of the Ton, also is a victim of the red paint scoundrel. Other aristocratic families face the same paint assault followed by a shocking disclosure. That humiliates the victims. Emily wants to help her husband with the cases, but fears the sadistic culprit will paint her with a scarlet letter.

The sixth Lady Emily late Victorian mystery (see Dangerous to Know) is a wonderful period piece as the Ton suddenly live in fear of an unknown predator who gleefully exposes skeletal secrets. The story line is fast-paced from the moment that Colin leaves the ball in Mayfair and never slows down as Tasha Alexander provides a profound exhilarating historical with contemporary implications in which the ends justify the means.

Harriet Klausner
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