My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Where have I been?
Tasha Alexander has written a series of Lady Emily mysteries. Because my copy was a complimentary copy from the First Reads program through Goodreads, “Behind the Shattered Glass” is the first “Lady Emily Mystery” that I have read.
I now see what I have been missing.
One night in the middle of a peaceful evening at home, a strange man staggers right through the french doors into the library and dies on the spot. Who could have done such a violent act so close to home?
The rest of this novel, set on an English estate in the Peak district of England, explores all of the possibilities, with scenes and characters that are a bit reminiscent of “Upstairs Downstairs”.
Lady Emily is not a typical Victorian lady. She is feisty, outspoken, and forthright with her opinions. Her husband, Colin, seems to like and accept her that way though!
“The dead are notoriously unreliable when it comes to standards of
behavior,” I said. “Particularly murder victims. They have no sense of
decorum at all.”
The novel explores themes of class and society, English gentry and servants, all in a fresh way and within the context of solving the murder of an English peer.
The reader is left to try to discern themselves whether Lord Flyte truly cares for the beautiful Lily, or if he is just taking advantage of the privileges of class (a story all too common in those days):
“Gentlemen sometimes married their maids. It was unusual, but it did happen from time to time. A lady, however, would never be able to do such a thing.
I might not agree with all of my husband’s politics, but he was absolutely right about the inherent injustice in our way of life. It was a system too rife with immorality to be allowed to go on for eternity, but when it ended, where would we all be left?
Change did not always lead to improvements, sometimes only to change.”
With a surprise ending that I did not see coming, this mystery keeps keeps the reader guessing. Will Lady Emily find the perpetrator of the crime, and will justice be done?
Now that I have thoroughly enjoyed “Behind the Shattered Glass”, I am eager to start from Tasha Alexander’s original Lady Emily mystery, “And Only to Deceive”, and work my way through the series!