Silent in the Grave (Lady Julia Grey Series #1)

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Overview

These ominous words, slashed from the pages of a book of Psalms, are the last threat that the darling of London society, Sir Edward Grey, receives from his killer. Before he can show them to Nicholas Brisbane, the private inquiry agent he has retained for his protection, Sir Edward collapses and dies at his London home, in the presence of his wife, Julia, and a roomful of dinner guests.

Prepared to accept that Edward's death was due to a long-standing physical infirmity, Julia ...

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Overview

These ominous words, slashed from the pages of a book of Psalms, are the last threat that the darling of London society, Sir Edward Grey, receives from his killer. Before he can show them to Nicholas Brisbane, the private inquiry agent he has retained for his protection, Sir Edward collapses and dies at his London home, in the presence of his wife, Julia, and a roomful of dinner guests.

Prepared to accept that Edward's death was due to a long-standing physical infirmity, Julia is outraged when Brisbane visits and suggests that Sir Edward has been murdered. It is a reaction she comes to regret when she discovers the damning paper for herself, and realizes the truth.

Determined to bring her husband's murderer to justice, Julia engages the enigmatic Brisbane to help her investigate Edward's demise. Dismissing his warnings that the investigation will be difficult, if not impossible, Julia presses forward, following a trail of clues that lead her to even more unpleasant truths, and ever closer to a killer who waits expectantly for her arrival.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fans of British historical thrillers will welcome Raybourn's perfectly executed debut. In 1886, Lady Julia Grey's husband, Edward, dies suddenly of the heart disease that plagues his family, including his reclusive cousin, Simon, who resides with the couple in their large London townhouse. Just as she learns to cope with the contradictions of monied widowhood, Julia is visited by taciturn private detective Nicholas Brisbane, who reveals that Edward had hired him to find the source of some threatening letters. Analysis confirms Brisbane's suspicions of murder, leading him and Julia on a testily collaborative search for the culprit. Julia probes servants, Simon and a variety of peers, discovering disturbing truths about a husband she never truly knew and a world of deception, disease and sexual obsession she could never have imagined. Deft historical detailing, sparkling first-person narration and the fledgling love between Julia and the often surprising Brisbane balance otherwise dark themes. None of the book's components is new, but Raybourn updates and deepens them so intelligently that they feel freshly minted and free of clich . (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Who killed the English lord? Raybourn's debut is a lighthearted pastiche of a Victorian murder mystery. That dying figure writhing on the floor of his London home is Sir Edward Grey, husband of narrator and heroine Lady Julia. Forgive her composure: It has been a disappointing marriage (no children, separate bedrooms), and for Julia, still in her 20s, it is time to move on. Her husband's weak heart must have given out, she concludes, dismissing the suggestion of a mysterious stranger that it may have been murder. But a year later, in 1887, Julia discovers a threatening message and becomes hell-bent on tracking down the killer. For this she needs the help of that stranger: Nicholas Brisbane, a private investigator hired by Sir Edward before his death. Unlike the effete knight, Brisbane is "dark and masterful," the kind of man Julia daydreamed about as a young girl; he also has more secrets than a cat has lives. His prickly relationship with Julia, crackling with sexual tension, drives the story as much as the investigation. No bodices get ripped, but there is one furious clinch. It appears likely that Sir Edward was poisoned, and missing pages from Julia's Psalter, used in those threatening messages, point to an inside job. This makes for good entertainment, since Julia presides over an eccentric household that includes a Gypsy laundress, an Italian butler who was once an acrobat, a gardener who does his best work when drunk and (a recent addition) a talking raven stolen from the Tower of London. There are plenty of shocking revelations-visits to brothels, syphilitic infections, homosexual liaisons and grave-robbing-yet Raybourn keeps the tone light, displaying a gift for badinage. Afar-fetched climax unmasking the killer is the sole disappointment. The state of play between Julia and Brisbane remains uncertain, perhaps to be resolved in another novel. Smart and stylish: Bring on the sequel. Agent: Pam Hopkins/Hopkins Literary Associates
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780778324102
  • Publisher: Mira
  • Publication date: 1/1/2007
  • Series: Lady Julia Grey Series , #1
  • Pages: 512
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Deanna Raybourn
New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a double major in English and history and an emphasis on Shakespearean studies. She taught high school English for three years in San Antonio before leaving education to pursue a career as a novelist. Deanna makes her home in Virginia, where she lives with her husband and daughter and is hard at work on her next novel.

Biography

If there is one thing that novelist Deanna Raybourn has learned, it is the old adage "write what you read." Before penning her critically hailed debut, a spellbinding historical mystery titled Silent in the Grave, she spent years struggling to perfect the romance novel. Native Texan Raybourn wrote her first romance at the age of 23. Although she did receive some attention from potential publishers, she failed to publish the book. Ultimately, she stored it away in a box in her attic. Over the next several years, that manuscript would be joined by eight more, all written in the same lusty vein. That's when she finally had the revelation that would lead to her first published novel. "I lean more towards mystery and historical fiction in my reading, so I finally decided to write what I read," she explains on her website. "Apparently THAT is the magical formula for success, in case anyone is writing this down." Two years later, she had finished Silent in the Grave and Mira Books ("known in my house as The Finest Publishing Company on The Planet," Raybourn says) picked it up.

Raybourn's sprawling debut novel takes its title from a foreboding quote in the Bible's book of Psalms: "Let the wicked be ashamed and let them be silent in the grave." This is the final threat that London society hound Sir Edmund Grey receives before he unexpectedly falls dead in the middle of a dinner party. While his wife Julia initially believes Edmund's death to be the result of a preexisting heart condition, private agent Nicholas Brisbane informs her that he believes her husband's death to be of a more insidious nature. When Julia solicits Brisbane to find the killer, they are both drawn into a dangerous mystery and drawn to each other.

Silent in the Grave garnered much praise from Raybourn's fellow writers, the online community, and the literary press for its masterfully paced suspense and historical authenticity. Karen Harper, who wrote the bestselling thriller Hurricane, applauded, "This debut novel has one of the most clever endings I've seen." Dana Stabenow of PoisenedPen.com declared that Raybourn has a "strong voice akin to Amelia Peabody's, a superbly realized setting—you'll choke on the coal smoke of Raybourn's Victorian London." Meanwhile, Publishers Weekly called Silent in the Grave a "perfectly executed debut," while Kirkus insisted, "Bring on the sequel"! That demand was promptly met, as Raybourn continues to add to her Lady Julia Grey mystery series.

Good To Know

Although Raybourn says that the ultra-busy schedule of a hot new writer does not allow for much free time, she admits that she regularly allows herself spare moments throughout the day to mourn the loss of her favorite show Will & Grace.

On her web site, Raybourn boasts, "I double-majored in history and English, which means I know how to find Jesus imagery in any book you care to give me, and then I can write a fifty-page paper about it with footnotes."

A few interesting outtakes from our interview with Raybourn:

"I taught English for three years, and my favorite lesson was my Trojan War lecture. It lasted three days. Aside from teaching, I was written up for insubordination at every job I ever had. The first book I remember writing was a diary of Marie Antoinette when I was in third grade."

"I read like a fiend. I knit badly, but I just learned to purl, so I'm hoping things will pick up. I am addicted to podcasts—I currently have 600 loaded onto my iPod that I have yet to listen to. I watch too much television, usually classic movies, the History Channel, or Will & Grace reruns. I adore astrology and am always downloading natal charts. I am a Gemini with Libra rising and a Pisces moon."

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    1. Hometown:
      Williamsburg, Virginia
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 17, 1968
    2. Place of Birth:
      Ft. Worth, Texas
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English and History, University of Texas at San Antonio, 1990
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

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.

I stared at him, not quite taking in the fact that he had just collapsed at my feet. He lay, curled like a question mark, his evening suit ink-black against the white marble of the floor. He was writhing, his fingers knotted.

I leaned as close to him as my corset would permit.

"Edward, we have guests. Do get up. If this is some sort of silly prank--"

"He is not jesting, my lady. He is convulsing."

An impatient figure in black pushed past me to kneel at Edward’s side. He busied himself for a few brisk moments, palpating and pulse-taking, while I bobbed a bit, trying to see over his shoulder. Behind me the guests were murmuring, buzzing, pushing closer to get a look of their own. There was a little thrill of excitement in the air. After all, it was not every evening that a baronet collapsed senseless in his own music room. And Edward was proving rather better entertainment than the soprano we had engaged.

Through the press, Aquinas, our butler, managed to squeeze in next to my elbow.

"My lady?"

I looked at him, grateful to have an excuse to turn away from the spectacle on the floor.

"Aquinas, Sir Edward has had an attack."

"And would be better served in his own bed," said the gentleman from the floor. He rose, lifting Edward into his arms with a good deal of care and very little effort, it seemed. But Edward had grown thin in the past months. I doubted he weighed much more than I.

"Follow me," I instructed, although Aquinas actually led the way out of the music room. People moved slowly out of our path, as though they regretted the little drama ending so quickly. There were some polite murmurs, some mournful clucking. I heard snatches as I passed through them.

"The curse of the Greys, it is--"

"So young. But of course his father never saw thirty-five."

"Never make old bones--"

"Feeble heart. Pity, he was always such a pleasant fellow."

I moved faster, staring straight ahead so that I did not have to meet their eyes. I kept my gaze fixed on Aquinas’ broad, black-wool back, but all the time I was conscious of those voices and the sound of footsteps behind me, the footsteps of the gentleman who was carrying my husband. Edward groaned softly as we reached the stairs and I turned. The gentleman’s face was grim.

"Aquinas, help the gentleman--"

"I have him," he interrupted, brushing past me. Aquinas obediently led him to Edward’s bedchamber. Together they settled Edward onto the bed, and the gentleman began to loosen his clothes. He flicked a glance toward Aquinas.

"Has he a doctor?"

"Yes, sir. Doctor Griggs, Golden Square."

"Send for him. Although I dare say it will be too late."

Aquinas turned to me where I stood, hovering on the threshold. I never went into Edward’s room. I did not like to do so now. It felt like an intrusion, a trespass on his privacy.

"Shall I send for Lord March as well, my lady?"

I blinked at Aquinas. "Why should Father come? He is no doctor."

But Aquinas was quicker than I. I had thought the gentleman meant that Edward would have recovered from his attack by the time Doctor Griggs arrived. Aquinas, who had seen more of the world than I, knew better. He looked at me, his eyes carefully correct, and then I understood why he wanted to send for Father. As head of the family he would have certain responsibilities.

I nodded slowly. "Yes, send for him." I moved into the room on reluctant legs. I knew I should be there, doing whatever little bit that I could for Edward. But I stopped at the side of the bed. I did not touch him.

"And Lord Belmont?" Aquinas queried.

I thought for a moment. "No, it is Friday. Parliament is sitting late."

That much was a mercy. Father I could cope with. But not my eldest brother as well. "And I suppose you ought to call for the carriages. Send everyone home. Make my apologies."

He left us alone then, the stranger and I. We stood on opposite sides of the bed, Edward convulsing between us. He stopped after a moment and the gentleman placed a finger at his throat.

"His pulse is very weak," he said finally. "You should prepare yourself."

I did not look at him. I kept my eyes fixed on Edward’s pale face. It shone with sweat, its surface etched with lines of pain. This was not how I wanted to remember him.

"I have known him for more than twenty years," I said finally, my voice tight and strange. "We were children together. We used to play pirates and knights of the Round Table. Even then, I knew his heart was not sound. He used to go quite blue sometimes when he was overtired. This is not unexpected."

I looked up then to find the stranger’s eyes on me. They were the darkest eyes I had ever seen, witch-black and watchful. His gaze was not friendly. He was regarding me coldly, as a merchant will appraise a piece of goods to determine its worth. I dropped my eyes at once.

"Thank you for your concern for my husband’s health, sir. You have been most helpful. Are you a friend of Edward’s?"

He did not reply at once. Edward made a noise in the back of his throat and the stranger moved swiftly, rolling him onto his side and thrusting a basin beneath his mouth. Edward retched, horribly, groaning. When he finished, the gentleman put the basin to the side and wiped his mouth with his handkerchief. Edward gave a little whimper and began to shiver. The gentleman watched him closely.

"Not a friend, no. A business associate," he said finally. "My name is Nicholas Brisbane."

"I am--"

"I know who you are, my lady."

Startled at his rudeness, I looked up, only to find those eyes again, fixed on me with naked hostility. I opened my mouth to reproach him, but Aquinas appeared then. I turned to him, relieved.

"Aquinas?"

"The carriages are being brought round now, my lady. I have sent Henry for Doctor Griggs and Desmond for his lordship. Lady Otterbourne and Mr. Phillips both asked me to convey their concern and their willingness to help should you have need of them."

"Lady Otterbourne is a meddlesome old gossip and Mr. Phillips would be no use whatsoever. Send them home."

I was conscious of Mr. Brisbane behind me, listening to every word. I did not care. For some unaccountable reason, the man thought ill of me already. I did not mind if he thought worse.

Aquinas left again, but I did not resume my post by the bed. I took a chair next to the door and remained there, saying nothing and wondering what was going to happen to all of the food. We had ordered far too much in any event. Edward never liked to run short. I could always tell Cook to serve it in the servants’ hall, but after a few days even the staff would tire of it. Before I could decide what to do with the lobster patties and salad molds, Aquinas entered again, leading Doctor Griggs. The elderly man was perspiring freely, patting his ruddy face with a handkerchief and gasping. He had taken the stairs too quickly. I rose and he took my hand.

"I was afraid of this," he murmured. "The curse of the Greys, it is. All snatched before their time. My poor girl." I smiled feebly at him. Doctor Griggs had attended my mother at my birth, as well as her nine other confinements. We had known each other too long to stand on ceremony. He patted my hand and moved to the bed. He felt for Edward’s pulse, shaking his head as he did so. Edward vomited again, and Doctor Griggs watched him carefully, examining the contents of the basin. I turned away.

I tried not to hear the sounds coming from the bed, the groans and the rattling breaths. I would have stopped my ears with my hands, but I knew it would look childish and cowardly. Griggs continued his examination, but before he finished Aquinas stepped into the room.

"Lord March, my lady." He moved aside and Father entered.

"Julia," he said, opening his arms. I went into them, burying my face against his waistcoat. He smelled of tobacco and book leather. He kept one arm tucked firmly around me as he looked over my head.

"Griggs, you damned fool. Julia should have been sent away."

The doctor made some reply, but I did not hear it. My father was pushing me gently out the door. I tried to look past him, to see what they were doing to Edward, but Father moved his body and prevented me. He gave me a sad, gentle smile. Anyone else might have mistaken that smile, but I did not. I knew he expected obedience. I nodded.

"I shall wait in my room."

"That would be best. I will come when there is something to tell."

My maid, Morag, was waiting for me. She helped me out of my silk gown and into something more suitable. She offered me warm milk or brandy, but I knew I would never be able to hold anything down. I only wanted to sit, watching the clock on the mantel as it ticked away the minutes left.

Morag continued to fuss, poking at the fire and muttering complaints about the work to come. She was right about that. There would be much work for her when I put on widow’s weeds. It was unlucky to keep crepe in the house, I reminded myself. It would have to be sent for after Edward passed. I thought about such things--crepe for the mirrors, black plumes for the horses--because then I did not have to think about what was happening in Edward’s room. It was rather like waiting for a birth, these long, tense minutes of sitting, straining one’s ears on tiptoe for the slightest sound. I expected to hear something, but the walls were thick and I heard nothing. Even when the clock struck midnight, the little voice on my mantel chiming twelve times, I could not hear the tall case clock in the hall. I started to mention the peculiarity of it to Morag, because one could always hear the case clock from any room in the house, when I realized what it meant.

"Morag, the clocks have stopped."

She looked at me, her lips parted to speak, but she said nothing. Instead she bowed her head and began to pray. A moment later, the door opened. It was Father. He said nothing. I went to him and his hand cradled my head like a benediction. He held me for a very long time, as he had not done since I was a child.

"It is all right, my dear," he said finally, sounding older and more tired than I had ever heard him. "It is over."

But of course, he was entirely wrong. It was only the beginning.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 121 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(67)

4 Star

(33)

3 Star

(13)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 121 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 12, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Wonderful style of writing

    I am an avid fan of historical mysteries. I just loved this one. Deanna Raybourn's Lady Julia Grey is a character that reminded me of Dianne Day's Fremont Jones. She became a real person to me as the pages flew by. I frquently found myself smiling at the turn of events Lady Grey encounters. I was hooked from the first paragraph. Ms. Raybourn has a wonderful tongue-in-cheek style that kept me interested over 511 pages. That is saying a lot as I frequently find many books today entirely too long. I look forward to many pleasurable hours reading the rest of the series. If you like historical mysteries, give this one a try. I really think you will be delighted.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 20, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN, INTELLIGENT MASTERPIECE!!!!

    I second all the 5 star reviews!! I enjoyed every scrumptious word! I bought her next two books and can't wait to get started!!! She is one of my new favorite authors!! Another favorite I've recently become attached to is LINDA MASEMORE PIRRUNG, EXPLOSION IN PARIS...I can't tell you what this book did for me and continues to do for me!!! It's a contemporary romantic suspense but has wonderful, inspiring messages throughout the "sit on the edge of your seat" storyline and leaves you wanting more, more, more when you close that last BEAUTIFUL PAGE!! I am so hooked!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 5, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A beautiful start to a series

    It's really hard to not get hooked by a novel that begins with these two sentences:

    "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."

    Wow! A really strong way to begin a story. Fortunately, the rest of the story remains just as strong. Silent in the Grave is the debut novel of Deanna Raybourn. Set in late 19th century London, it is also the first of a series that now numbers three centering on Lady Julia Grey, a lady of high status in Victorian England. Lady Julie's life changes when her husband dies, leaving here a young widow. But when someone brings to light the possibility that his death was, in fact, a murder, her life suddenly veers into the unknown. Julia must weigh her desire to simply move on with her feeling of duty to her late husband to solve the crime.

    While the murder mystery makes for an enjoyable story, what really takes this novel to the next level is the writing of Deanna Raybourn. Her style paints the period beautifully, but she refrains from making the scenery the focus of the story. Instead, it provides the perfect backdrop - bringing the reader into the London that existed more than a century ago. However, Raybourn never loses sight of the plot being the driver of the story - a problem that many authors who write period pieces often get sucked into. (You can check out my review of The Historian for an example of a period story gone wrong). The mark of a great period story is that by the end of the book, your focus should be on the story and the atmosphere should be but a comfortable shawl that the story is wrapped in. Raybourn succeeds at this.

    Whether you like reading about the Victorian-era, enjoy a good mystery, or a simply looking for a well written novel to read, I think you will be very satisfied with this book. I, for one, am already looking forward to reading the sequel.

    4.0 stars: Great book, you should not be disappointed

    Oh, one final comment. The cover artwork of the hardcover version is one of the finest I've seen in a very long time. It captures the essence of the book and looks wonderful on the shelf.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Intrigue & mystery

    The is a beautifully written book. I love historical novels. This one is no exception, you get lost in the location & time, the language & characters. The mystery of the death of Lady Julia Grey's husband keeps you on your toes through the entire story & leads to a suprising ending. The relationship between Julia & Nicholas one is definately an interesting one & the author does a good job of not serving it up on a silver platter. Julia is a wonderful character as well, stronger then most women of her time & willing to take chances & stand up for what she believes in. I look forward to reading the 2nd in the series!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2008

    Death, Mourning and a Victorian Mystery: Murder Shrieks Out

    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!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    terrific Victorian whodunit

    In 1886 London, Lord Edward Grey dies suddenly while hosting a party at his home from the chronic heart disease that has killed several members of his family. He leaves behind a grieving but wealthy widow Julia. --- While she still mourns her loss, private inquiry Nicholas Brisbane insists that Edward hired him to investigate who was sending him threatening letters. He further insists he believes her late spouse was murdered though the killing was disguised to look like his heart gave out. When he proves his theory, Julia reluctantly asks him to continue his inquiries, but to his dissatisfaction with her help. As they dig into Edward¿s last days, they uncover a secret sexual life her deceased husband led as a killer calmly waits for Julia to figure out the truth, --- This terrific Victorian whodunit starts off displaying the polite manners of the Ton during a period of mourning, but quickly turns into an exciting historical mystery once Nicholas proves to Lady Julia that her late husband was murdered by a clever diabolical adversary. Stunned and needing justice and revenge, the intrepid Lady Julia teams up with the inquiry agent by making inquiries among the servants uncovering along side of Nicholas the fact that her spouse had some secret sexual appetites. Though the era serves as the base for many mystery tales, Deanna Raybourn provides one of the deeper because fans will believe they are accompanying the amateur and professional sleuths around late nineteenth century London. --- Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 17, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Well Written Wonderful Read

    I meet Mrs. Raybourn at a local book signing event. I must say I am thoroughly pleased to have made her acquaintance and been given the opportunity to find out about her books.

    From the first line, "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." To the last line of the book you are whisked away to another time and place. Raybourn's ability to capture the essence of Lady Julia Grey in the wonderful Victorian age is mind boggling. Her attention to details is what brings this wonderfully suspenseful story to life. Raybourn writes in such a way that you can visually see every detail of the story. The characters, homes, rooms, clothes, and even the food, this book was written to be on the silver screen.

    Silent in the Grave is the first of Raybourn's books and the introduction to the timid yet destined to be impetuous, Lady Julia Grey. We find ourselves joining Lady Grey just as her husband is collapsing. As he lies on the floor convulsing, the debonair and mysterious, Nicholas Brisbane, a stranger to Julia rushes to Edwards's side. After Edwards's death Lady Grey begins her first year of mourning as propriety requires. Just as she is making plans to move on Mr. Brisbane pays her a visit to let her know he believes her husband was murdered. This visit from Mr. Brisbane begins a tale so intriguing you cannot quit reading.

    Is Mr. Brisbane correct? Is Lady Grey in danger? Why is Mr. Brisbane so mysterious? Can Lady Grey move on from her husband's death without finding out the answers to these questions? NO! Follow Lady Grey as she discovers not only things about her husband and the hand at which he died. But she discovers who she is and the things that shape her into the best female character in a book for quite some time.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 12, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Worth being a well-read, well-educated reader

    I usually prefer to familiarize myself with new authors the old-fashioned way, I have heard so much about Deanna Raybourn's "Silent" series I simply couldn't wait. Even having heard (an thoroughly enjoyed) the first book in the series Silent in the Grave, I will definitely get a hard copy and read it again.

    As I told Deanna in an e-mail, her writing makes it worth being a well-read, well-educated reader. Clever, witty and full of references to and influences by other works of literature, it acquires a new dimension in the hands of someone, who can actually recognize and appreciate those literary connections. The author is definitely one of the (unfortunately) small army of writers, who refuse to use one- and two-syllable words and no-more-than five-word sentences, just to dumb the writing down to accommodate a wider audience.

    Call me a snob, but I follow the same principles in my writing as well, hoping that those who truly wish to read clever books will take time to educate themselves and figure out what the words mean. And those who don't wish so? Well, why should I worry about them? Back to Silent in the Grave, all of the perks described above come with a thrilling story, delightfully told. One advantage of the audio version of the book is that you get to hear it narrated by the amazing Ellen Archer, who is definitely the only Lady Julia Gray for me going forward.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Loved this book!

    Deanna Raybourn's wonderful historical romance not only introduced us to a delightful cast of intriguing characters, but her suspenseful story line kept the pages turning until the wee hours of the night. The romantic tension that develops between the willfully headstrong Lady Julia and and the intoxicatingly handsome and resolute Bisbane is one for the big screen. As soon as I finished the book I immediately sought out the next two volumes and can not wait until the fourth book is in print! My friends and family are now enjoying the series too and find ourselves debating over who should be cast in the various lead characters. Bravo Ms. Raybourn!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2008

    An Excellent, Entertaining Read

    This may be Raybourn's first novel but you would probably not guess it upon reading her book. From the opening pages, in which Lady Julia's husband dies, to the last plot twist, you'll experience an expertly crafted mystery filled with details and historical facts designed to make you feel like part of the action. This opening to what I can only hope will be a long series of Lady Julia novels will give you all the information you need to enjoy the story but still leave you wanting to know more about these interesting characters.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 29, 2008

    Had me hooked

    In order for me to read books that take place a long time ago, the book has to be extremely good- this was one of them! Had me from page one and I couldn't wait to see the mystery solved. Enjoyed the characters and there was humor sprinkled throughout. Highly recommend.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2008

    Mystery Novel for Romance Readers

    As a semi-single mother of 3, I really don't have the time to sit down and read a complicated book, but I like something that can 'take me away' for a while. I really enjoyed this book. I could read it in the couple minute spurts I had during naps or after the kids went to bed and not have to re-read parts to make sure I picked up all the details like most mystery novels. I'm a Romance junky and this was just up my alley. Also wasn't obvious about the solution, which was nice. Hate when I've figured out the book by chapter 3.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2007

    WONDERFUL Victorian mystery

    This genre is completely new to me, I'm a sci-fi freak, mostly. But this book just grabbed me with both hands & never let go until the last page. Her descriptions are crisp, her dialogue sounds true to the ear, and the tiny details she includes make it all very real. Her characters are wonderfully done, and the story has enough twists & turns & surprises to keep you on the edge of your seat. I'd recommend this book to anyone who loves excellent writing, no matter what sort of books one normally reads.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2006

    This a fabulous fresh new Victorian murder mystery!

    The gypsies, the rustle of bombazine and taffeta, the coal dust hanging in the London air, dark nights, private lives opened like a tin of caviar and the upstairs/ downstairs of it all....I couldn't put it down!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Don't waste your time

    I bought this book expecting a romantic period novel. What I got was a book with a ridiculous plot and unrealistic chracters. It's a shame, because Raybourn has a fine writing style, but she wasted her talents on a poor story.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2013

    An exceptional talent. The lady is from Texas. Unbelievable wr

    An exceptional talent. The lady is from Texas. Unbelievable writer.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2012

    A very good book

    This book captured my attention from the opening lines. For anyone who likes a good historical mystery this is a must read.

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  • Posted March 11, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    If you like historic novels and mystery, borrow this book!

    while I never would have picked up this book if not for a book club, I am not thoroughly disapointed either. generally, I do not enjoy historical romance, which is what I assumed this would be. it was far more mystery and sadness then ridiculous sensuality. it isn't written in a typical historical fashion which helped, but was written in a rather bland style no-less. I had troubles getting into this book. I didn't find it interesting enough to sit and read for any length until I was nearly finished. the story itself isn't bad. I enjoyed finding out what happened next, but I'm not sure how this became a series. I enjoyed the characters and the twists and turns of the plot. the end was nothing I could have conceived in the beginning. I do think this book is worth the read, but definitely borrow it. if you enjoy a strong female lead set in an unraveling murder mystery with some surprise twists, that is.

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  • Posted March 10, 2012

    Not up to others' recommendations!

    I couldn't agree with most others' recommendations of this book. Most other reviews were high. I thought that the book was mediocre. The storyline dragged, the characters were more caricatures than characters and the writing seemed amateurish to me. I don't see what others see in this series.

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  • Posted November 9, 2011

    Very Enjoyable Read!

    The Lady Julia Grey Series is so much fun. The characters are rich and Ms. Raybourn writes with lovely detail so you are drawn into the lives of Lady Julia and her friends and family. I am hoping that there will be many more books in this series.

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