Title: A Fatal Waltz
Author: Tasha Alexander
Genre: Historical Mystery
Length: 294 pages
Where Stacie’s Copy Came From: Oshkosh Public Library
Plot Basics: Lady Emily is pulled into a weekend house party by her best friend Ivy. The host –Lord Fortescue — is controlling, trying to bend the guests to his will. He finds Emily as distasteful as she find him. But when Fortescue is murdered, it is Ivy’s husband Robert who fought with him last, and loudly.
Lady Emily applies her brand of investigative skills to the case, and hopes to prove his innocence.
Banter Points: As a third installment in the series, I was very curious how Lady Emily’s character would develop in this selection. She is engaged and the expectations of her new role would be different than those of her as a widow. In true Lady Emily fashion, she breaks and conforms to the rules as she sees fit. It is part of the charm Colin Hargreaves finds in her. Even when her investigations bring her in contact with anarchists and dangerously close to Colin’s own undercover work for the Crown, he supports her going on this path.
An interesting addition in this title is Colin’s work and role. As an undercover spy, he has had past relationships with women who have helped him uncover secrets that England can use. Emily is aware of this, and actually faces one of his former lovers. Her own feelings of inadequacy and discomfort are an interesting dimension to explore as previously Lady Emily was firmly in control of her image and social circle, even though she regularly vexed her mother with her choices. In this title, Emily has to contend with someone who is a bit more mature in the game.
Bummer Points: The addition of Emily’s “competition” is also a bummer. I get that confronting a former lover of her fiancé wasn’t fun or something that Emily sought out, but Emily compares herself to the other woman regularly throughout the novel, and finds herself lacking. I didn’t feel that this matched the character of the bold widow in the first two titles for this series. Perhaps it is because of the expanded view of Society presented in this book, but it didn’t ring as true for me personally.
Stacie’s Recommendation: Engaging series, with a good balance of modern and historical views for women. If you enjoy historical mysteries, this is a great read.