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