The Dark Enquiry by Deanna Raybourn
Series: Lady Julia Grey #5
Source: Harlequin (via netGalley)
The Spirits Speak of Secrets…
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 Spirit 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 murder, espionage and blackmail, 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…
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I requested this book from MIRA because I thought it would be quite fun, even though I don’t usually like to jump into the middle of a series. Unfortunately, my local library doesn’t have copies of the previous books in Deanna Raybourn’s series, and I’m on a restricted book buying budget as the holidays approach, so I decided to throw myself in and hope for the best.
Sadly, I have mixed feelings about The Dark Enquiry. This isn’t because I haven’t read the other books in the series, but because I didn’t love the book. There were some aspects of The Dark Enquiry that I quite liked, such as the staff at Julia and Brisbane’s house, and everyone’s acceptance of her sister as a lesbian, but there were other notes in the story that didn’t resonate for me. I liked Brisbane and Julia well enough but their story didn’t captivate me the way I anticipated. I also found certain parts of the narrative a bit disjointed.
On the positive side, though, there is some nice character development for both Julia and Brisbane as they learn more about each other and determine how their marriage will function. I also enjoyed Julia’s family since they’re a unique bunch of people. Plus, the plot is well written and has enough twists and turns to keep you engaged.
I think I will give the first book in the series, Silent in the Grave, a shot if I ever see it at the library. Perhaps starting the series from the beginning will make the characters more interesting to me.