>Tears of Pearl; Marriage Murder and Mayhem in a Turkish Harem

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Tears of Pearl (No. 4 in Lady Emily series)
By Tasha Alexander

Looking forward to the joys of connubial bliss, newlyweds Lady Emily and Colin Hargreaves set out toward Turkey for an exotic honeymoon. But on their first night in the city, a harem girl is found murdered—strangled in the courtyard of the Sultan’s lavish Topkapi Palace. Sir Richard St. Clare, an Englishman who works at the embassy in Constantinople, is present and recognizes the girl as his own daughter who was kidnapped twenty years earlier. Emily and Colin promise the heartbroken father they’ll find her killer.
As a woman, Emily is given access to the forbidden world of the harem and quickly discovers that its mysterious, sheltered walls offer no protection from a ruthless murderer.
Emily must rely on her own sharp wits if she is to stop a killer bent on taking revenge no matter how many innocent lives he leaves in his wake.

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I have been following Lady Emily Bromley and her journeys for three books now, and have seen her grow from the epitome of Victorian womanhood to an independent woman, who is not afraid to challenge the social strictures of nineteenth century England. In Each book we see Emily discover more of who she is, and where her passions lie. This, while solving mysteries which seem to follow her wherever she goes.

In the latest installment, Emily has found happiness with Colin Hargreaves, and they are off on what should be, their honeymoon. But of course, their plans are interrupted and Lady Emily is once again embroiled in a murder.

This series which started off with And Only to Deceive and grew from strength to strength with A Poisoned Season and A Fatal Waltz, slows down with Tears of Pearl. I was happy to see that Ms. Alexander did not follow the path that many authors have been using – replacing romantic tension by causing strife between the newly married couple, but found that the many, many, many instances where Emily discusses just how happy she and Colin are, to be a bit much. Instead, it would have been nice to read more about the inner workings of the harem, and its intriguing inhabitants. 

The exotic setting for this book, and the wonderful descriptions of both the trip on the Orient Express, the city of Constantinople and the pomp and splendor of the Sultan’s palaces and harems, coupled with the mini-cliffhanger ending, redeemed Tears of Pearl, but I was disappointed that I didn’t get to see more of the wonderful cast of supporting characters I have enjoyed in previous books. Ms. Alexander still manages to keep the mystery in the forefront of the story, but it didn’t manage to pull me in quite as much as in the previous books. Perhaps because to me, it was very obvious who the murderer was from relatively early on in the book.

I am still looking forward to the next installment in the series, Dangerous to Know (October 2010), because I hope, that like Emily, Ms. Alexander needed to get used to the change in marital status, and will now get back into the rhythm she set so beautifully in the previous books in the series. From what Ms. Alexander shares with us at the end of Tears of Pearl, Emily’s tale is far from over, and it looks like there is a bumpy ride ahead…

Visit Tasha Alexander’s Website

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