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Review: A Virtuous Death by Christine Trent

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A Virtuous Death
Author:
Christine Trent
Reviewer:
Una
Rating: A-

What I’m Talking About:

A Virtuous Death is the third novel in the enchanting Lady of Ashes Mysteries.  Although this novel had a slightly different feel from the previous ones, I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery and the continuing insights into Violet.

The novel unwinds slowly.  Violet is still stuck in England and is anxious to return to America to see her daughter, Susanna, get married.  Her husband, Sam, is researching the possibility of starting a dynamite plant in Wales.  As he enters the train station to return to Violet, a massive uprising occurs between the coal miners and the police.  A poor young innocent woman is caught and killed in the crossfire.  Although Sam tries to help her, he is only able to provide comfort while she passes.  This moment appears to be the catalyst to a more sinister plot later, however all is never as it seems.

Violet has become someone the Queen relies on; not only in the fond remembrance of her husband, but the Queen admires the way Violet has been able to unravel mysteries with tact and discretion.  Although Violet wouldn’t agree with the Queen’s assessment, she dutifully follows the Queen’s directive.  It appears that Mr. Brown, the Queen’s ghillie (outdoor servant), has discovered, through tarot card readings and séances, a plot within the palace and the spirits are telling him that only Violet can sort it out.

As the novel progresses, Violet’s personal life becomes a bit mixed up.  Although she is trying to get things in order to return to America, it seems destiny is flat against it.  I love how Violet’s personal life is entwined with the mystery. She is an odd duck, but in a good and independent way.  I enjoy Violet’s outlook in life along with her wit, loyalty and the strength of her character.  She is delightful, and I wish I could join her for a cup of tea.  However, in this mystery it felt as if she bumbled more than ever.  Although the murder mystery was just that subtle, it caught me by surprise, even though I knew who it wasn’t.

Although we are given more points of view through this novel, there were not too many.  It was well-balanced.  While giving more information and background they also helped to keep the reader from figuring out who the true villain was.  I may be dating myself, but I loved growing up watching Mystery! on PBS, and all the British mystery shows.  I could easily envision this series becoming one as well.  It embraces all those elements that make British mysteries so engaging, mesmerizing and thought-provoking.  The subtly of the characters, the heinousness of the crimes contrasting with the gentility of the period, the way it all flows together, woven through bits and pieces and you are unable to see the whole picture until the end.

I really enjoyed A Virtuous Death as I have enjoyed all the titles in the Lady of Ashes Mysteries.  Though we have more of Violet’s life entangled along with the mystery, it was well woven and surprising with wonderful twists.  I continue to enjoy this historical mystery series with its unlikely sleuth.

My Rating:  A- Enjoyed A Lot

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About the Book:

Queen Victoria, still mourning her late husband Prince Albert, has found solace in John Brown, an enigmatic palace servant who dabbles in the occult. Undertaker Violet Harper is invited to attend one of Mr. Brown’s readings, during which he implies that Buckingham Palace will soon be shrouded in death’s dark veil. Well acquainted with death, Violet shrugs him off as a charlatan—until his sinister divinations begin to prove true…

The aristocratic young friends of the queen’s daughter are dying mysteriously. The deaths merely buttress the queen’s enthusiasm for Mr. Brown’s ominous talents. Is Mr. Brown an innocent court favorite, or does he have a malevolent plan that involves both the queen and Violet? Or does Violet suspect the wrong man entirely?

Release Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher:
Kensington
Series:
Lady of Ashes #3
ISBN: #978-0758293268
Genre:
Historical Mystery
Format(s):
Paperback (288 pages), e-book
Book Source: Publisher

Purchase Info:
A Virtuous Death (Lady of Ashes #3)

Reviews in the Series:
Lady of Ashes by Christine Trent (Lady of Ashes #1)
Stolen Remains by Christine Trent (Lady of Ashes #2)

  • Jonathan Gruzenski

    whats the theme and setting of this book

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