My rating: 3 of 5 stars
"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."
Silent in the Grave is the first novel in the author's Lady Julia Grey Chronicles, a series of murder mysteries set in Victorian England, told from the perspective of the delightfully unconventional Lady Julia Grey.
Set during London in the mid-1880s, Silent in the Grave begins with the death of Lady Julia's sickly husband, Sir Edward Grey. Assuming Edward had finally succumbed to a long-standing hereditary illness, Lady Julia is mortified when Mr Nicholas Brisbane, a private investigator in her husband's employ, suggests that Edward was murdered.
Dismissing Mr Brisbane's claims as ridiculous and unfounded, Lady Julia settles into her period of mourning and her new life as a young and wealthy widow. However, twelve months later whilst sorting through her deceased husband's belongings, she stumbles across evidence that indicates Mr Brisbane may have been correct in his assumptions and that Edward was indeed the victim of murder.
Lady Julia then sets out to convince the mysterious Mr Brisbane to take up the investigation into her husband's death, and the two begin an intriguing and dangerous adventure to find a killer who lies in wait, ready to reveal to Lady Julia their secrets.
Although I enjoyed this story as a whole (especially since I'm presently obsessed with anything Victorian), I was quite annoyed with the author's decision to leave the ending so deliberately open. Yes, I understand this book belongs to a series, but I prefer it when each story has the ability to stand on its own and be appreciated for what it is: It's own story. I felt the author was trying to force me into wanting to read the next book in the series, but I would have done that anyway, even with a closed ending. The deliberate linking of the books I feel to be completely unnecessary.
Silent in the Grave is also very much an introduction to the rest of the series. The author has spent considerable time detailing Lady Julia's blue blood background, her unconvential upbringing, Victorian custom and class divisions, and introducing charaters who will be an integral part of this and future novels. This means the investigation that Lady Julia undertakes with Nicholas Brisbane is slow moving, as is the inevitable development of their relationship. There is a lot to be revealed in this novel as the author sets the scene for future adventures between the pair, and although there are times where seemingly not a lot happens, the detail the author has put into this story is anything but boring.