Monday, 9 May 2011

Dark Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn

****
The fourth of the Lady Julia Grey series, although now she's married to Brisbane, the name's a bit misleading!  I love this series, mainly because it helped fill a small part of the huge hole left by the Amelia Peabody books.  The similarities lie in a strong Victorian female lead and a dashing husband and the general tongue in cheek tone will probably sit well with Amelia fans!  Being a way into the series, this book is probably not the best introduction; although it doesn't rely on previous knowledge, it will help.
Julia and Brisbane are enjoying an extended honeymoon, when two of Julia's siblings arrive and convince her to travel to India with them to help Portia's old flame, Jane Cavendish, out of a sticky situation.  Jane is pregnant, recently widowed and extremely nervous amidst fears that her husband was murdered.  Whilst living on a remote tea plantation the toxic situation isn't helped by the weird and wonderful neighbours surrounding the plantation. 
It's a fair paced mystery that continues the tempestuous relationship between the newly weds.  There's also further revelations about Nicholas Brisbane's family history.  As before the humour is provided by the feuding Marches.  My main criticism is that Brisbane is missing for large parts of the book and it just seems to flow better when he's there!  There also seemed to be some setting up in preparation for future books, which is cheering as I look forward to more (and there's one out this summer!) but again seemed to slow the action down a bit.
Overall, a great read and good fun!