*This book will be released on June 21*
*This review may contain spoilers of previous books in the series*
Partners now in marriage and in trade, Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane have finally returned from abroad to set up housekeeping in London. But merging their respective collections of gadgets, pets and servants leaves little room for the harried newlyweds themselves, let alone Brisbane’s private enquiry business.Among the more unlikely clients: Julia’s very proper brother, Lord Bellmont, who swears Brisbane to secrecy about his case. Not about to be left out of anything concerning her beloved—if eccentric—family, spirited Julia soon picks up the trail of the investigation…It leads to the exclusive Ghost Club, where the alluring Madame Séraphine holds evening séances…and not a few powerful gentlemen in thrall. From this eerie enclave unfolds a lurid tangle of dark deeds, whose tendrils crush reputations and throttle trust.Shocked to find their investigation spun into salacious newspaper headlines, bristling at the tension it causes between them, the Brisbanes find they must unite or fall. For Bellmont’s sake and more they’ll face myriad dangers born of dark secrets, the kind men kill to keep….
I’m really pleased my review of The Dark Enquiry was set to be posted during BadAss Boys in Fiction Week because one of my favorite BadAss heros (More on that in my BadAss post) is Mr. Nicholas Brisbane husband of the intelligent and effervescent Lady Julia Grey.
By now some of you already know how much I love this historical mystery series. I mentioned it as being my most anticipated book in June and I might have also counted the days until the release…Ok, so I absolutely counted the days. Not that I had to really, my big sister only kept calling me on a weekly basis just to do the following: “When does the next Julia book come out? When will you have it? When will I have it?” Thankfully when I got the book the calls changed to “is there a lot of Brisbane in it?”
So, to answer that question and a few others without spoiling, Yes, this book has plenty of Brisbane. Just the way my sister (and I) like it. When we last left the Brisbanes they were getting over their less than relaxing honeymoon in India. Brisbane had also agreed to teach Julia what she would need to know about the detecting business so that they could work as (almost) equal partners.
In The Dark Enquiry Julia is making some progress in that department…when she isn’t blowing things up. Then she discovers her eldest brother Lord Bellmont visited Brisbane and is seeking his help with a very delicate enquiry. Julia wants in on the case and well, things go a bit haywire from there.
With mysteries it’s always very hard to write reviews because you never know what you can reveal without revealing too much. So, I won’t share more of the plot but what I will share is how much I enjoyed this book. Deanna Raybourn delivers as always – a wonderful intriguing mystery with just the right amount of humor and romance in a perfectly researched historical setting.
If Dark Road to Darjeeling was filled with a sense of something lurking just beneath the surface, understated drama that led to quite an explosive finish – seriously, you must read it if you have yet to do so; The Dark Enquiry was not as understated, it was action packed from the first page and right through to the epilogue (which made me want to sneak into Ms. Raybourn’s home to steal her notes on book 6).
This installment in the series also had Julia and Brisbane working together for most of the book, though not always with each member of the team being aware of the fact. A circumstance which led to quite a few of the action packed scenes and the humorous ones as well.
The ever-evolving relationship between Julia and Brisbane is always one of my favorite things to read about – there is no stagnancy here! No ‘been there, done that’ which many series become afflicted with a few books in. In the Dark Enquiry the focus turns to Nicholas Brisbane – more of his heritage, what makes him tick, his insecurities and just how much he loves Julia. It made for truly delicious reading, as did all their scenes together.
The Dark Enquiry also has guest appearances from my favorite supporting cast – The March family. Julia’s father is there in all his glory, Portia is back, now with a new responsibility and Plum is the proverbial third wheel. Then there is the stuffed-shirt Bellmont whose own personal life is about to wreak havoc on Julia and Brisbane’s…
There are some sad moments and quite a lot to think about as we wait for the next book in the series, but as always, it was completely worth the wait, another sublimely pleasurable read from Deanna Raybourn.