The Mourning Bells
Author: Christine Trent
The Mourning Bells, the fourth installment in the Lady of Ashes Mysteries, is haunting and gripping. Though Violet seemed a bit slow on the uptake on some of the clues in this novel, she continues to be a gripping, unique, sensitive, and unconventional sleuth.
First off, I continue to love Violet. She is a fairly down-to-earth woman, for the Victorian era. I love that she fusses over her appearance (and the extra pounds she seems to be fighting). These qualities help to humanize her and allow me to truly connect to her. Despite her insecurities, she possesses determination and steadfastness for the dead and those under her care. Her worry over Inspector Hurst’s interest in Mary, the bit of lackluster in Susanna’s personality as of late, and her husband Sam’s continued attempts to secure a loan for his coal mining venture all distract her while she tries to figure out why such strange things seem to be occurring. Though she seemed to be slow at picking up what seemed to be to be fairly obvious clues, she does eventually catch on.
Even though the clues were there, seemly obvious, the main villain wasn’t. I enjoyed how clues were strung so plainly but the path connecting them was so twisted and hazy. I seriously thought I had it all figured out only to be thwarted at the end when I realized how wrong I was. This is what I truly love about this series, no matter how the clues fit together, there is always something minute I miss that turns it all around. The nemesis in The Mourning Bells was very clever, extremely greedy, and very secretive as it turns out. His unveiling was captivating and excruciatingly nail-biting.
There are several things going on when the novel concludes. These threads leave me wondering what is next for Violet. I worry about Susanna and how she will do once she returns to Colorado. Sam’s venture and the Queen’s request for Violet and Sam to join her for the opening of the canal loom in the future. Not to mention Hurst’s continued pursuit of Mary – there is much I am anticipating in the next Lady of Ashes Mystery. Whatever it is, you can bet I will be reading it.
If you haven’t tried this series and enjoy historical mysteries with unconventional sleuths, pick up the first book, Lady of Ashes and enjoy the ride. This is definitely a series that must be read from the beginning as each novel does build upon the last. However, if you wanted to jump in, this wouldn’t be a bad place to start, but you would be lacking some backstories of characters in Violet’s life.
One of Victorian London’s most respected undertakers, Violet Harper has the new duty of accompanying coffins from various undertakers on the London Necropolis Railway for respectful funerals and burials in Surrey. But on her fateful first trip, the mournful silence of the train is shattered by the shrill ringing of a coffin bell—a device that prevents a person from being buried alive.
Inside the noisome coffin Violet finds a man wide-eyed with fear, claiming he was falsely interred. When a second coffin bell is rung on another trip Violet grows suspicious. She voices her qualms to Inspector Hurst of Scotland Yard, only to receive a puzzling reply that, after all, it is not a crime to rise from the dead.
But Violet’s instincts are whispering that all is not well on the London Necropolis Railway’s tracks. Is this all merely the result of clumsy undertaking, or is there something more sinister afoot? Determined to get to the heart of the matter, Violet uncovers a treacherous plot and villains who will stop at nothing to keep a lid on her search for the truth…
Release Date: March 31, 2015
Series: Lady of Ashes #4
Genre: Historical Mystery
Format(s): Paperback (432 pages), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
The Mourning Bells (Lady Of Ashes #4)