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The Dark Enquiry by Deanna Raybourn

Oh, how I love this series. I'm sure you all know very well just how much I love this series. I look forward to the new installment in Lady Julia's and Mr. Nicholas Brisbane's adventures all the year long. And by the time I get my hands on the latest book, I feel justified engaging in a little happy dancing as I have exhibited uncommon patience going so long without their inimitable company. And that's essentially what I did when I saw The Dark Enquiry pop up on NetGalley. They came through for me last year with Dark Road to Darjeeling and they came through once again this year. Speaking of titles, I'm liking the new page the series has turned with the inclusion of "dark" in the titles. I liked how the first three "silent" titles reflected what the reader would find in those installments, and I'm enjoying the darker turn the tone of books four and five have taken. Also--the covers. I got a particular kick when I ran across the passage where Julia wears this exact dress in the book. Peacock feathers and all. It gives me a little thrill whenever the cover gods get little things like that right.

A Warning: If you have not read the previous four books, please proceed with the utmost caution. Beyond this point, there be unavoidable spoilers. I highly recommend doing yourself a favor you won't regret and procuring a copy of the first book and applying yourself assiduously to plumbing its marvelous depths. Go on, now. Quick like a bunny!

Lady Julia and Brisbane are finally returned home to London from their harrowing adventure abroad. For awhile their attentions and faculties are occupied setting up house in their new home and puttering about Brisbane's private enquiry office. Julia has taken up a number of new interests and hobbies, including explosives and photography, in the manner only she can. That is to say, with both striking verve and incendiary results. But it isn't long before real life comes back to haunt them both in the form of Julia's oldest (and stuffiest) brother Bellmont. It is only by the merest chance that Julia discovers the scintillating fact that Bellmont has become Brisbane's latest client. And when both Brisbane and Bellmont warn her off in no uncertain terms, she becomes even more determined to ferret out which of Brisbane's various and sundry skills Monty could possibly be in such desperate need of. And so, quite literally following in her husband's footsteps, she goes undercover herself and follows him to the popular (if somewhat questionable) Spirit Club. It is there that she finds a little more than she bargained for in the form of a disturbing séance, a number of powerful and colorful patrons, and--of course--a dead body. Forced to combine their powers of deduction in order to survive, Julia and Brisbane are thrown into an investigation so serpentine it may prove their undoing.

The Dark Enquiry was exactly the book I was hoping it would be. I found myself instantly involved at its inception, wildly satisfied at its conclusion, and utterly absorbed with everything in between. It was surprisingly soothing to be back in London once more, back where it all began, yet with two such changed, yet familiar protagonists. I was fascinated to see how Julia and Brisbane handled their still evolving relationship in the midst of their old turf, their old friends, and especially their old ghosts. The results were both beautiful and painful. My heart felt squeezed on both ends of the spectrum. You see, the nature of this particular mystery was very personal. And not just in that it involved Julia's brother. The reach of its twisty tentacles stretched across several Marches as well as back quite a ways into Brisbane's murky past. More private details come out into the light of day than anyone is comfortable with, and the whole array is so deftly handled that I simply sat back and applauded such consummate storytelling at work. It's an emotional experience following your favorite characters as they are put through such subtle and refining paces. I find myself holding my breath, never quite certain whether or not they will emerge intact. I thoroughly enjoyed Plum's involvement in this case and continue to get enormous enjoyment from his fledgling working relationship with Brisbane in general. It was, as always, a delight to spend any time at all with Lord March. And I can never see too much of Aquinas or Fleur or Portia. But, in the end, it's always about Julia and Brisbane. It was from that first arresting sentence of Silent in the Grave, and it will be for as long as this superb and sophisticated series continues. I ached for them and was proud of them in this book and I will read about them for as long as the talented Deanna Raybourn cares to write about them. Finest kind and an instant entry on my Best of 2011 list.

The Dark Enquiry is due out June 21st.

Reading Order: 
Silent in the Grave (my review)
Silent in the Sanctuary (my review)
Silent on the Moor (my review)
Dark Road to Darjeeling (my review)
The Dark Enquiry

Book Harbinger Review
Diary of a Book Addict Review


  1. I'm positively trembling in anticipation after that glorious review.

  2. I am about to read this myself and I have really high expectations! It says a lot about Raybourn as an author that her books just continue to get better and better!

  3. I am trying so hard to read this on netgalley and the type is so tiny! I can't figure out how to make it bigger (doesn't help that I read ebooks on my smartphone). Think I'll just wait to buy it instead. This is def. a series that I always buy since it's always so good! Love her.

  4. Meep! I'm skipping the review because I don't want any preconceived notions, but... MEEP!

  5. I'm starting to love her books She really is improving and yet one of the most creative writers I truly admired..

  6. Anonymous10:11 AM

    I can't wait to read this! I've always wanted to read more about Bellmont and I'm looking forward to more Plum. I hope to pick it up next week so I won't have to wait until end of June.


  7. Because of your blog, I requested and received the first book for my birthday! I'm enjoying it. I love having a new series in which to get involved.

  8. Looks like it will be a great summer trip read - so glad you reviewed it b/c I had not even realized it was coming out.

  9. JoLee, it's out today! Hooray!

    Marg, that's one of the things I admire most about this series. You can just count on Deanna Raybourn, that's all there is to it.

    Faith, yes. I love buying the actual copy when it comes out. They're absolute keepers.

    Leila, hee.

    Karen, did you get it? What did you think??

    Lin, oh, wonderful!! That tickles me. Definitely let me know what you think of the first one.

    Ariadne, oh, it would be perfect for that.

  10. I have read the book and yes looks like she would have a great career on this. It is absolutely perfect although I have hesitations when it was first launch last year, and proud to say it was worth the buy

    LowkeyMedia Marketing Team


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