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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning tale.
A historical setting, with a delicate attention to detail, Deanna Raybourn has captured a time, a place and a voice that combines into a thoroughly convincing piece of writing. There is wit, mystery and an engaging charm that makes this a most memorable read.

Silent in the Grave is refreshing, featuring a strong convincing leading lady, spirited and outspoken,...
Published on 25 Jan 2008 by Caroline_LS

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Readable
So my town library has thirteen copies of this book, it manages to lurk about in the upper reaches of my Amazon recommendations for months and comparisons to my beloved Laurie R King are bandied about wantonly. Maybe it's time to read the thing.
I don't think this quite lived up to the hype but it was still a more than enjoyable read. I must say I had the most fun...
Published on 1 Aug 2011 by Michael Finn


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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning tale., 25 Jan 2008
This review is from: Silent in the Grave (Paperback)
A historical setting, with a delicate attention to detail, Deanna Raybourn has captured a time, a place and a voice that combines into a thoroughly convincing piece of writing. There is wit, mystery and an engaging charm that makes this a most memorable read.

Silent in the Grave is refreshing, featuring a strong convincing leading lady, spirited and outspoken, oozing class and sophistication.

This novel undoubtedly has one of the most engaging opening lines, ever;

"To say I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband's dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor."

setting the tinged unique tone that is consistent throughout the novel.

After this opening line and the death of her husband, Lady Grey's period of mourning is broken by the arrival of Mr Nicholas Brisbane, the dark stranger mentioned within the opening line. As the story unfolds, Brisbane informs Lady Julia that her husband did not die of a heart condition, rather that he suspects murder. This marks the beginning of the duo's quest to solve the crime, taking Lady Julia outside of her snug environment and into darker worlds. The friction, the chemistry, the exchanges between these two characters is wholly convincing. The story, the visuals and the voice all jump from the pages.

Raybourn has created a thoroughly likeable strong female character, oozing intelligence, sharpness of tongue and yet balanced with vulnerability . The characterisation is refreshing, unique and I am finding it difficult to compare her to another writer. Her originality is worthy of comment. The plot has twists and turns that delight the darkest of minds.

This is a thoroughly delightful read, one that I recommend to you without reservation. Dark, sinister, tinged with a familiarity that I can't quite put my finger on.

I am left thoroughly satisfied, anticipating the next in the series and in awe of Deanna's craft. I truly enjoyed this book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fabulous, feisty new heroine., 13 Dec 2007
By 
Nancy Williams "tigertwo" (London, England) - See all my reviews
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Lady Julia Grey is the kind of woman that was almost unheard of in the late nineteenth century. Clever, outspoken, elegant and feisty. When her husband, who has long suffered a heart condition, suddenly dies during a dinner engagement, Lady Julia is left to contemplate a year of mourning, the descent of her Aunt Ursula, a relative who only comes to stay when there has been a death in the family, and a childless, empty household to manage. However, the conventional mourning period is disturbed by the arrival of Mr Nicholas Brisbane - dark, tempestuous, and convinced that her husband had been murdered.

Lady Julia and Brisbane form an unlikely duo as they work to solve the mystery, but if you think that Lady Julia is going to settle down demurely whilst the gentleman takes the lead in the investigation, you are sorely mistaken. Backed by her less than orthodox family, Julia defies danger in order to finally solve the crime.

Raybourne has created a character who is simply delightful. Written in the first person, Julia's witty observations, honesty and dogged determination to find an answer to the mystery makes it impossible to put this book down. The period was captured beautifully and the characters are all drawn with exquisite detail. And Raybourn clearly left things 'hanging' so that we know this is not the end of Lady Julia and Brisbane. I can't wait to read the next book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, great, but occasionally grating!, 27 April 2009
By 
Marcopuffin (London England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Silent in the Grave (Paperback)
This book found me in the midst of a reading desert, when nothing was satisfying me. When I opened this book, I was initially frustrated by the glaring spelling and cultural errors outlined by another reviewer here - the author and her protaganist spoke with an American voice and the book is set in Victorian England. If someone is writing a novel set in your country, it seems a bit disrespectful not to get basic things right - no-one would EVER refer to Curzon St as "Curzon" and we (especially in Victorian times!) would never say "normalcy" - argh. Also this book is being sold as the UK edition with US spellings. Aren't we a big enough market to treat properly?? But despite this, I got really drawn in and the pace and plot made for a great read. It got me out of my reading desert and was a delight despite the numerous grating inaccuracies.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cosy Christie, 27 July 2010
By 
Lovely Treez (Belfast, N Ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Silent in the Grave (Paperback)
This is the first of a three part series featuring Lady Julia Grey and Nicholas Brisbane - a sort of fluffy Agatha Christie meets Sherlock Holmes and I am quite partial to the odd bit of fluff when reader's block threatens.

Lady Julia meets Nicholas Brisbane for the first time over the dying body of her husband - a death which later transpires to be suspicious and herein lies the seeds of our romp through Victorian London. No stone is left unturned in this somewhat haphazard investigation during the course of which Lady Julia establishes herself as a feisty, fearsome heroine who is never really totally sure of Nicholas Brisbane.

Anonymous letters, gipsy curses, shebeens, whorehouses, class conflict, grave robbing, even a talking raven - all life is here in this witty Victorian mystery. 534 pages fly by in the blink of an eye and you are left anticpating the next two books in the series, Silent in the Sanctuary and Silent on the Moor. The only jarring note for me was the inclusion of the word "normalcy" in a Victorian England setting but that's a minor hiccup in an otherwise fluid, comic tale which provided much needed entertainment on a wet summer Sunday in Ireland
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable fluff, 10 Oct 2009
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This review is from: Silent in the Grave (Paperback)
Murder, mystery, secrets, an inventive weapon and a touch of romance with a character you can't fail to fall in love with yourself. What more can you ask? A superfast read, in no way taxing but perfect for those moments when you fancy the literary equivalent of popcorn. Sadly the American spellings remain and the word "normalcy" uttered by a Victorian Lady jars. I really enjoyed this, however, and went on to read the next two in the series in equally quick time. I was sad when they were over. Would be a great series to read during the Christmas holidays.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deliciously Low and very Victorian, 9 Mar 2008
By 
Jo D'Arcy (Portsmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Silent in the Grave (Paperback)
Silent in the Grave is a great discovery. Lady Julia Grey and Nicholas Brisbane make a rather odd duo, when they set out to find out if Edward, Julia's husband was actually murdered or did he die of natural causes and his weakening heart condition.

We go on a journey through Julia's strict mourning, with her family the March's, her rather odd behaving brother Val, Portia her sister, `The Ghoul' as well as her servants, Morag and Magda and even Desmond a character who seems rather insignificant at the beginning comes more important as the story goes on. Faithful servants like Aquinas and rather odd characters like Cass all make this story richer. This background all adds to the developing plot - who killed Edward? This doubt over his death is kept in a rather close knit way from many people, and as you read you feel privileged to be apart of the secrets that have been found and the clues that lead to dead ends as well as amazing discoveries and eventually the truth.

You are plunged into some rather low life parts of Victorian Society, but also some rather frivolous ones with the evening of entertainment by a `March' aunt, tea with Fleur and the discovery of gypsies and their ways and means. So much more to say, but this would give vital clues to the plot and outcome and would be unfair to someone reading this review.

This is a real delight, if somewhat tongue in cheek it still serves as a great page turner and definitely worth a look, I can't wait to read Book Two.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Death, Mourning and a Victorian Mystery: Murder Shrieks Out, 25 Feb 2008
By 
D. Merrimon Crawford (Colorado) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Deanna Raybourne's SILENT IN THE GRAVE, is a hard to put down Victorian mystery, both suspenseful and humorous in its details, that unmasks the consequences of that society's moral, gender and class codes upon individuals within society. As the narrator records the twisting hunt for clues to the identity of the killer, she also discovers her own identity.

Julia Grey's husband Sir Edward collapses, dying in front of her and a house full of guests. Victorian mourning customs come into play as new black clothing must be ordered along with black bordered stationery. The Ghoul, Aunt Hermia, comes to visit and partake in the latest society mourning rituals. When Nicholas Brisbane tells Julia of tales of threatening notes to her late husband and his fear of being murdered, Julia discounts his tale at first. When she finds a vicious threatening note herself while sorting through out her husband's things, Julia rethinks her position Now, Julia joins Nicholas in an investigation and search for clues to unmask the details behind her husband's death.

Julia's search for justice brings her head to head against some of the unspoken rules of morality and a woman's place in Victorian society. As she follows the path of clues, Julia steps out of her familiar world, exploring gypsy customs, brothels and even looks into the practices of medicine in her day. The dark enigmatic Nicolas encourages and challenges Julia, becoming an inspiration and even catalyst for her to confront her own ideas and move beyond herself. As Julia uncovers more and more layers of the thickening mystery, she also lays bare some foundations of Victorian society and morality. Before she can unmask the killer, Julia must put aside those notions of what is proper for a woman in her position and look into and unmask the unspoken the class divisions, the repressed sexuality, and a women's role in society. Deanna Raybourne locates the home as the structural and emotional as the center of this historical mystery as indeed it was in Victorian society. As Julia steps across some some of the boundaries prescribed to her as a woman of a certain class and away from the home, her character evolves and becomes more herself through an inner journey that follows her hunt for clues. At the end of this exquisite mystery, the reader cries and laughs and hopes alongside Julia.

SILENT IN THE GRAVE is a mystery rich in well-researched historical details but also a fast-paced read as each clue unmasks another mysterious layer. Infused with sadness, SILENT IN THE GRAVE provides humorous relief as the clues lead the reader into an ever increasing dark reality hidden by the masks of Victorian society. The unmasking of the villain leads to ever increasing shocking details. Murder will out, not only the deed but all the dark truths behind the deed. An exceptional emotional and riveting read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fantastic..., 26 Jan 2008
By 
Sarah Durston (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Silent in the Grave (Paperback)
Lady Julia Grey meets the enigmatic Nicholas Brisbane when her husband collapses and dies at a dinner party. Edward Grey had been receiving anonymous threatening letters and had employed Brisbane as his investigator. When Brisbane tells Julia that he thinks Edward was murdered, she resolves to help him with the investigation.

This is a fantastic novel; the characters are interesting and three dimensional; the pace never wavers; and the murder has a real motive that is worth discovering. Unlike many similar novels, this one doesn't peter out towards the end.

The whole novel looks at polite Victorian society and the scandal that is bubbling just below the surface, and it manages to do it with a feisty heroine and a sense of humour!

Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Trans-Atlantic intrusions mar a witty tale, 10 April 2011
By 
Noel (Belfast, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Silent in the Grave (Paperback)
I came to this book from the frozen streets of Oslo where Harry Hole was tackling a professional killer. The change of pace was welcome. This is a witty, amusing story. High English Victorian drama where the narrator has gotten a speech impediment. Written in the first person by Lady Julia Grey nee' March in late 19th Century London, her ladyship reveals an amazing but hugely irritating grasp of the American vernacular. Perhaps a future pre-quel will tell us more about this lady and how she came to learn to speak that way - where has she gotten these Americanisms from? She really needs speech therapy if we are to take her seriously, even in the context of this light but entertaining tale. If you think it is time that I got off of my hobbyhorse, you are right. Apart from these teeth-grinding frequent lapses, the story and wit carries the tale along. Had her ladyship remained cut crystal English throughout she would have gotten 5 stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Dazzling New Detective Duo, 13 April 2009
By 
R. E. Quinn (Great Britian) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Silent in the Grave (Paperback)
"To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband's dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor.."

That has to be one of the best hook lines in a long time, after reading it I had to buy the book to see if it lived up to that great start. It did.

Deanna Raybourn has created an interesting new detective duo with Lady Julia Grey and Nicholas Brisbane.

Lady Julia is one of ten children of the Earl of March, the Marches it should be noted have had a reputation for hundreds of years of being mad and eccentric and not worried over much about scandal.

Nicholas Brisbane we learn is the result of an ill advised marriage between a beautiful young gypsy girl and a member of the Scottish aristocracy, and he now works as a private enquiry agent.

They first meet over Julia's husbands dying body. When she later discovers that her husband had hired Brisbane as he had been getting threats she insists on becoming involved in the enquiry. The tension between the two is apparent early in the story and increases as it progresses.

As they dig deeper Julia learns secrets about her late husband, her marriage and members of her family and she has to make decisions as to what she now wants from life given the dictates of Victorian society.

So as they trawl through the underworld of brothels, secret societies and the acquiring of a tower raven!! the mystery of her husbands death is finally resolved amid much danger and intrigue.

This was a well written and enjoyable detective mystery with excellently crafted characters and plot and is well worth the read.
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Silent in the Grave (A Lady Julia Grey Mystery)
Silent in the Grave (A Lady Julia Grey Mystery) by Deanna Raybourn (Paperback - 1 Jun 2011)
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