Saturday, January 14, 2012

Book Review: Dark Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn

After eight idyllic months in the Mediterranean, Lady Julia Grey and her detective husband are ready to put their investigative talents to work once more. At the urging of Julia's eccentric family, they hurry to India to aid an old friend, the newly widowed Jane Cavendish. Living on the Cavendish tea plantation with the remnants of her husband's family, Jane is consumed with the impending birth of her child and with discovering the truth about her husband's death. Was he murdered for his estate? And if he was, could Jane and her unborn child be next?

Amid the lush foothills of the Himalayas, dark deeds are buried and malicious thoughts flourish. The Brisbanes uncover secrets and scandal, illicit affairs and twisted legacies. In this remote and exotic place, exploration is perilous and discovery, deadly. The danger is palpable and, if they are not careful, Julia and Nicholas will not live to celebrate their first anniversary.

Synopsis courtesy of

My Review

4 Stars
Dark Road to Darjeeling, the fourth book in Deanna Raybourn's Lady Julia Grey mystery series, moves away from the confines of Victorian England, the setting for the first three novels in the series, to colonial India.   As their honeymoon draws to a close, Lady Julia and new husband, private detective Nicholas Brisbane, are requested by Julia's sister, Portia, and brother, Plum, to accompany them to India to come to the aid of family friend Jane Cavendish.  Jane, a recent widow awaiting the birth of her first child, is convinced the circumstances surrounding her husband's death were not as straightforward as they appeared to be.  Eager to help, Julia and Nicholas set forth for India and put their investigative skills to work; uncovering far more than they ever anticipated and putting their own lives at risk in the process.

Somewhat disappointed with the third installment of the series, Silent on the Moor, I left Dark Road to Darjeeling languishing unread on my shelves for over a year before finally picking it up.  My main concern was whether the series would still hold the same appeal now that the "will they or won't they" dynamic of Julia and Nicholas' relationship was put to rest with their marriage.  I needn't have worried.   This book is every bit as fun and mysterious as the first two novels of the series.   The change in setting was refreshing, and I especially enjoyed the view of life in a small colonial village presented in the novel.   Raybourn once again delivers a novel full of interesting and well thought out characters; successfully incorporating the story lines of new characters, to whom there is more than meets the eye, with those of the series regulars.   One of the greatest strengths of this book is that the mystery surrounding Jane's husband's death was actually mysterious.   I hate mystery novels that feature a villain who is too easily identifiable, but this isn't a problem in Dark Road to Darjeeling.  I had little idea how things would turn out until almost the end, which is exactly how I think mysteries should be.   I look forward to reading the next installment, The Dark Enquiry

Recommended to fans of the earlier Lady Julia books and historical mysteries in general, especially those set in the Victorian era.   

Note: This book comes from my personal collection.