I admit I have been eye-balling this series for some time. It hits one of my favorite tropes, namely a sophisticated married couple mystery solving team. Even better if it is a series.
But there were a few things that kept putting me off. Namely I couldn't figure out quite where to start. Between the author changing her name, the main characters inexplicably having a name change in the middle of the series, at least one book undergoing a title change and then figuring out if I should start out with the book that was published first or the book that is chronologically first...yeah kind of confusing.
I finally decided to start with this one.
As I was reading I found myself somewhat uninvolved with the setting. Normally, I am a huge fan of real history being part of an historical fiction rather than the history acting as window dressing. The author includes in her cast of characters many of the real historical figures who were at the Congress of Vienna re-drawing the political map of Europe in the wake of the various wars that occurred prior to Napoleon's exile. And many of them were very much characters involved in the fictional plot.
However I found the sprinkling of the political discussions as Count WhatseyWhosey and Prince Thingamjiggy talked about Prussia and Poland dead boring. And I just wasn't as captivated with Grant's Vienna as I thought I would be. I think Tasha Alexander pulled me into the atmosphere of Vienna better in her [b:A Fatal Waltz|1163444|A Fatal Waltz (Lady Emily, #3)|Tasha Alexander|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1348130322s/1163444.jpg|1151104]. However unlike the Alexander book which I thought was a dud in the mystery aspect, this book excelled in that area. So even though I wasn't pulled into the history, I do think the author smartly used the scandalous deeds perpetrated by the glittering set and the murder mystery to strongly center the plot.
Things I liked:
- Malcolm and Suzanne. They carried the story with aplomb and were all that I hoped for.
- The little side stories especially Fitz and his wife Eithne
- the way the author allowed the plot to unfold. We got lots of little mysteries along with the main one so that the story really had the feel of secrets being revealed on the way to a mystery being solved.
Things I didn't like so much:
- Victim. The victim was just a little too, too much. She was juggling multiple lovers many of them very powerful men and they were all there and knew each other. She was passing information to everyone. She had her finger in every pie. As I was reading and as the revelations about her kept coming I didn't so much wonder who killed her, but rather why it took somebody even this long to kill her ass. There was a kitchen sink feel to how the author approached her victim. I honestly didn't care about her and frankly I felt more sorry for her murderer.
- True parentage follies. So basically, did any woman have a kid with her own husband? Calling Maury Povich!
Overall good read and I want to continue to series.