Well-brought-up Victorian ladies don’t expect their childhood nemeses to write from out of the blue, pleading for help because, as the nemesis so tactfully puts it, “what lady of my rank would associate with persons who investigate crimes?”
In this case, the crime is murder, and the summons brings Lady Emily Hargreaves post-haste from London to aid and support Contessa Emma Barozzi—née Callum, and the nemesis from Emily’s past—whose husband the Venetian police suspect of dispatching his own father with a medieval stiletto and fleeing with Emma’s inheritance, a cache of illuminated Renaissance manuscript books.
Although tempted to refuse Emma’s plea for help, Emily cannot abandon a fellow Englishwoman in the midst of crisis—or turn down an opportunity to overcome the petty dislikes of childhood. Moreover, Emily, through no fault of her own, has amassed a certain amount of experience in solving deadly crimes in London, Vienna, Istanbul, and rural France. With her husband, an agent of the British crown, she plunges into an unfamiliar, sometimes terrifying, but appealing world of art, gondolas, canals, decaying palazzi, back streets, brothels, bookstores, carnival figures, and ancient noble families with unresolved feuds that predate Romeo and Juliet. Soon Emily begins to suspect that the key to the mystery lies four centuries in the past, with links to the fifteenth-century ring found clasped in the victim’s dead hand.
This is the seventh of Lady Emily’s adventures, which began with And Only to Deceive. The next in the Lady Emily series, Behind the Shattered Glass, is due off-press in October 2013. On what Tasha has in store for her characters after that, you will have to listen to the podcast. She is a wonderful speaker: I promise you will not be disappointed. And, of course, read Death in the Floating City.