Dangerous to Know (Lady Emily)
by Tasha Alexander
Review by Mel Jacob
Minotaur Books Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780312383817
Date: 27 September 2011 List Price $14.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Dangerous to Know by Tasha Alexander, a Victorian mystery featuring the intrepid Lady Emily, takes place in Normandy near a haunted Norman dovecote and a decaying Norman tower. Madness abounds and a crying child leaves blue ribbons behind, but is the child real or a ghost? After Lady Emily finds a dead woman with a slashed throat and mutilations similar to those left by Jack the Ripper, she and her husband Colin hunt the killer.
Recovering from a near brush with death in Constantinople, Emily and Colin have gone to Normandy to visit Colin's mother. Emily is convinced her mother-in-law dislikes her and that, coupled with her grief over having lost a child when she was almost killed, has drained her energy and spirits. Finding a dead woman shocks her, but also makes her determined to find the murderer.
Eventually police identify the woman as the daughter of a wealthy family from Rouen. She had been in an insane asylum for a number of years, but recently escaped. She bears a remarkable likeness to Emily.
Colin grows concerned for Emily's safety and forbids her to participate in the investigation. She feels betrayed because they had agreed before marrying that she could continue such work. Certain the woman had a child, Emily is desperate to find the girl.
Astute readers will identify the killer long before Emily although the motive may come as a surprise. The narrative proceeds at a slower pace than most mysteries, but in keeping with the period. Emily follows clues and adds her prodigious insights to them. Some elements are reminiscent of the Amelia Peabody adventures of Elizabeth Peters, but are more leisurely in pace.
Dangerous to Know is her sixth book, the fifth Lady Emily mystery, and A Crimson Warning is the next in the series.