Series: Lady Emily #9
Published by Minotaur Books on October 14th 2014
Genres: Historical Mystery
Source: the publisher
Also in this series: , The Adventuress
Also by this author: , The Adventuress
In this thrilling new addition to the New York Times bestselling series, Lady Emily travels to Paris where she struggles to unmask a murderer amid a case of assumed identities and shadowy figures.
After an odd encounter at a grand masquerade ball, Lady Emily becomes embroiled in the murder investigation of one of the guests, a sometime actress trying to pass herself off as the mysterious heiress and world traveler Estella Lamar. Each small discovery, however, leads to more questions. Was the intended victim Miss Lamar or the imposter? And who would want either of them dead?
As Emily and her husband Colin try to make sense of all this, a larger puzzle begins to emerge: No one has actually seen Estella Lamar in years, since her only contact has been through letters and the occasional blurry news photograph. Is she even alive? Emily and Colin's investigation of this double mystery takes them from London to Paris, where, along with their friend Cécile, they must scour the darkest corners of the city in search of the truth.
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.
I love both historical mystery and the 19th century, so I’ve been wanting to start Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily mystery series for quite a while now. I finally got my chance when I was asked to review The Counterfeit Heiress, and I was not disappointed. Lady Emily and her adventures captured my attention, and I raced through the book.
I knew that the first book opens after the death of Emily’s husband – or rather, first husband, as I discovered when I read this installment. Other than that, I knew little of the series, but I was able to jump right in without too much difficulty, though it did take me a little while to figure out a few of the relationships (Bainbridge in particular.) The characters interest and appeal to me, particularly Emily of course, but also Colin, Cecile, and Bainbridge. And I found the character of the missing Estella Lamar quite fascinating.
The story is told in first person from Emily’s point of view, but third-person scenes featuring Estella’s early life (before she embarked on her world travels) are interspersed throughout. These give the reader more information, in some ways, than Emily, Colin, and their friends are privy to; because of them, I began to suspect fairly early what might have happened. Or perhaps I should say that I had a pair of mutually exclusive suspicions, one of which turned out to be correct. That didn’t affect my enjoyment in the least, because I wasn’t sure which way things were going to go until the pieces began to fall in place for Emily.
Alexander weaves just the right amount of description into her book – enough to make me feel like I’m there, but not so much as to slow down the action. Her depictions of the Catacombs and of a Paris cemetery lend a spooky, slightly macabre cast to some of the book that is quite in keeping with the denouement.
My only complaint about The Counterfeit Heiress is that after Emily’s arrival in Paris, it became a little difficult to keep track of who was who among the suspects, due to several false identities. That soon worked itself out, and I sailed through the rest of the book.
I’m delighted to have finally made Lady Emily’s acquaintance, and I’ve already added all the previous books to my TBR list. Luckily for me, I already own the first two!
TOUR & GUEST POST by Tasha Alexander and Rhys Bowen, with joint review
Challenges: COYER (ARC); Cruising Through the Cozies; PopSugar (book by an author I’ve never read before)
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- COYER Winter 2014-2015
- Cruisin' Thru the Cozies 2015
- PopSugar 2015 Reading challenge