Angie's Reviews > Silent in the Grave

Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn
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's review
Jul 31, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: belovedbookshelf, girls-who-do-things, mystery, historical

Finding Silent in the Grave turned out to be one of those beautiful, stumbling across the perfect book to fit your mood moments. Here I am, staring down the barrel of this pregnancy, willing the last few days to pass faster, and this absolutely delightful Victorian mystery proves just the thing to take my mind off the all-too-slowly ticking clock. Even better, it's the first in a series with the second one already out and the third due to hit shelves in March.

Silent in the Grave starts out with one of the best opening lines I've read in ages.
To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband's dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor.

Ha! Honestly, who wouldn't want to continue reading after that? Does she care? Does she not care? Is she as calm and composed as she sounds? And just who is this Nicholas Brisbane and why is he significant? You have to find out. Each question is answered, but slowly and carefully, spread across the rest of the novel. After her husband's untimely collapse, Lady Julia Grey finds herself a young and surprisingly wealthy widow. Having suffered from a heart condition his entire life, his sudden demise was not altogether unexpected. That's why, when confronted with an unusual and mysterious private investigator's claim that her late husband employed him to find out who was threatening to kill him, Julia dismisses the notion as preposterous and sends Mr. Nicholas Brisbane on his way. Nearly a year later she (naturally) comes across a clue leading her to believe dear Edward was, in fact, murdered. Managing to track down Brisbane, she apologizes and convinces him to reopen the case. Intrigue and mayhem ensue and it's all just perfectly delicious.

I so enjoyed Julia and her measured narration, her bizarrely large but loving family, and her cautiously fresh observations on the world and the people around her. It is as though her husband's death removes a film from her eyes, and she is unnerved to realize she hardly recognizes where she is and who she has become. One of my favorite lines is Julia reflecting on her oldest and most pompous brother who is scandalized to hear she intends to manage her inheritance herself.
He had nothing to call his own except dead men's shoes, and I think the highly Oedipal flavor of his existence sometimes proved too much for him.

As you can tell, I was completely taken with the characters and Deanna Raybourn's well-paced writing style, both of which made for an incredibly absorbing, enjoyable read. I'll be picking up the sequel ASAP. Recommended for fans of Laurie R. King's Mary Russell books.
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Quotes Angie Liked

Deanna Raybourn
“To say that I met Nicholas Brisbane over my husband's dead body is not entirely accurate. Edward, it should be noted, was still twitching upon the floor.”
Deanna Raybourn, Silent in the Grave

Deanna Raybourn
“She left me then, surrounded by my extravagantly simple finery and I sat for a long time, uncomfortable both with the person I had been and the person I was finally becoming. Caught between the two of them, I felt rather lonely, as one often does with a new acquaintance.”
Deanna Raybourn, Silent in the Grave

Reading Progress

Started Reading
July 1, 2008 – Finished Reading
July 31, 2008 – Shelved
September 5, 2008 – Shelved as: belovedbookshelf
June 14, 2013 – Shelved as: girls-who-do-things
January 26, 2015 – Shelved as: mystery
January 9, 2018 – Shelved as: historical

Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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Vicki This sounds like a fun one--thanks for the in-depth review!

Angie You're most welcome! I really loved this one. It has what I would consider a "perfect" ending. I'm about to start the sequel and I'm all excited.

Vicki Hmm. This one sounds like it might be a good test subject for the ereader on my new iPhone (which I dearly love, despite there being no at&t service at my house--the map said there was, I swear!). Looks like I'll be spending the big bucks on a signal booster. :..(

message 4: by Liz (new) - rated it 4 stars

Liz I'm sold...I've been craving another Mary Russel novel and this sounds like it will do nicely!....Oh and congrats...your mom called this morning and I'm thrilled. I hope mommy and baby and doing well. I'm so happy that you are not pregnant anymore...just five more months for me....can't wait and yet....holy crap, only five more months and we'll have three kids!!! yikes!!! Well, good luck and I hope you get some sleep!

Angie Oh, you will love this one liz. I enjoyed it So. Much. And we're doing all right. She's about as cute as can be and so we adore her even though she refuses to sleep during the night and snoozes all day

Vicki Oh, the beeblet is here!! *Throws confetti* Hi, little beeblet--you have many good books ahead of you, some of which Mommy will soon introduce you to, I'm sure! :D

I'm so glad y'all are doing well! I'll send night-time sleepy thoughts in the beeblet's general direction. Zzzzzzz.

Beth If you enjoyed Deanna Raybourn's book, which I definitely did, too, I suggest you try A BEAUTIFUL BLUE DEATH by Charles Finch. Like Deanna's book and my own A REAL BASKET CASE, Charles's book was nominated for the 2007 Best First Novel Agatha Award. It's also a Victorian mystery set in London and features Charles Lenox, Victorian gentleman and armchair explorer, as the sleuth.

Angie Thank you for the recommendations, Beth. I will definitely look into them. I like me some Victorian mystery.

KIKA Thankyou for the recommendation Angie, I LOVED silent in the grave! excited to start the next one!

Angie KIWI, you are so welcome! Isn't it wonderful?

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