The Grand Tour: Being a Revelation of Matters of High Confidentiality and Greatest Importance, Including Extracts from the Intimate Diary of a Noblew
by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
Review by Gayle Surrette
Magic Carpet Books Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 0152055568
Date: 01 April, 2006 List Price $6.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Sorcery and Cecelia or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot told the story via letters exchanged between Cecy and Kate. In The Grad Tour the story is told by entries in Kate's (now Lady Schofield) commonplace book and Cecy's (now Mrs. James Tarleton) deposition to the Joint Representatives of the British Ministry of Magic, the War Office, and the Foreign Office. Cecy and Kate are on their honeymoon with their husbands (Cecy's James and Kate's Thomas), Lady Sylvia, and assorted servants. Of course Lady Sylvia will be staying in Paris where she makes her home. But as soon as they land in France, they are involved in mysterious events: the delivery of a strange bottle of scent, a robbery, a servant who is missing, and the news from the British representative that coronation regalia is being stolen throughout Europe and that two couples on their Grand Tour are just the ones to solve the case.
The story is cleverly written in diary entries and depositions. Cecy and Kate are very independent women of their times. They know the rules and follow them but within that they stand their own ground and their husbands have come to understand that there is no way to protect them when they decide to act.
If you enjoy the period following the Napoleonic Wars and comedies of manners, you'll enjoy these books. The characters are well drawn and the mystery is convoluted and in some ways simple. You think you have it all figured out quite handily and then in the end it takes a weird but logical turn. The characters are all so of their times that only the addition of magic takes it from being a historical to a fantasy mystery.