These ominous words are the last threat that Sir Edward Grey receives from his killer. Before he can show them to Nicholas Brisbane, the private inquiry agent he has retained for his protection, he collapses and dies at his London home, in the presence of his wife, Julia, and a roomful of dinner guests. Prepared to accept that Edward's death was due to a long-standing physical infirmity, Julia is outraged when Brisbane visits and suggests that her husband was murdered. It is a reaction she comes to regret when she discovers damning evidence for herself, and realizes the truth. Determined to bring the murderer to justice, Julia engages the enigmatic Brisbane to help her investigate Edward's demise. Dismissing his warnings that the investigation will be difficult, if not impossible, Julia presses forward, following a trail of clues that lead her to even more unpleasant truths, and ever closer to a killer who waits expectantly for her arrival."
I didn't really know what to expect when I cracked open this first book in the Lady Julia Grey series and I was pleasantly surprised at what I found. The book opens with action as we meet Julia when she is staring down at her convulsing husband on the floor. After Edward's untimely demise which is originally attributed to genetic illness, Julia tries to move on with her life until investigator Nicholas Brisbane calls on her and tells her he thinks Edward may have been murdered. Julia does not believe him until she herself stumbles on evidence to the contrary. She engages Brisbane to help her discover if her husband was murdered and they reluctantly join forces to accomplish this. The trail leads every which way and many truths that quite possibly remain hidden are found along the way. Finally, Julia is able to discover the entire truth about her deceased husband, including whether or not he was really murdered.
I liked a lot of things about this book from the literary quotes at the beginning of each chapter to the unexpected direction the book kept taking. Raybourn knows how to write twists out of nowhere that made me want to keep reading. I liked that Julia goes from this meek little creature at the beginning of the book to holding her own against the sarcastic and hard to pin down Nicholas Brisbane. Brisbane himself is quite a mystery-no one knows his origins and Julia isn't sure exactly how he became tied to her husband. This too turns out to be another interesting turn to the book. Of course there is the romance angle as Julia fights her feelings for Brisbane and he does likewise. At the beginning the story I thought that it was a little odd that Julia didn't have a strong reaction to the death of her husband. We learn later that their marriage had turned into a relationship of mutual affection instead of a passion filled one but until that was revealed I was wondering what is going on? She just lost her husband and she's wondering when she can ditch the widow's weeds?
I also enjoyed how the book set up the next adventure in the second book so neatly. You can tell that the books are going to flow together nicely. Loved the writing style, loved the plot, loved the cast of quirky characters and loved that I discovered another author to add to my "buy immediately when new book is released list".
This book is from my personal library