As usual, I'll try to avoid spoilers about the previous books. But in some cases that can't be helped. Especially in this case because the end of the second book totally lays the groundwork for the set-up of this one so really, if you haven't read these and would enjoy a light historical fiction/mystery set in the Victorian Era and narrated by a bossy and modern-minded young widow and heiress who has a passionate romance with a private inquiry agent who is easiest described as a cross between Heathcliff, Radcliffe Emerson, Sherlock Holmes and a werewolf*, you should snag the first book in the series and start from the beginning.
Silent on the Moor begins with Lady Julia's sister Portia doing exactly what Brisbane told her NOT to do at the end of Book Two: She heads out to visit his newly-acquired estate with Lady Julia in tow. Lady Julia knows that he doesn't want her there. But she's HAD IT. She needs to know where they stand, and if Brisbane needs her help -- which she suspects he does -- she will be there for him, whether he likes it or not. Society's opinion be damned.
She finds Brisbane more brooding and angry than ever, living at the aptly-named Grimsgrave with its penniless former owners, Lady Allenby and her daughters -- but that situation begins to look downright comfortable and cozy when compared with the mystery that beings to unfold shortly after her arrival...
As Brisbane has always reminded me (in a good way) of Heathcliff, I'm glad that Deanna Raybourn just WENT FOR IT and set this one on the moors. And I'm doubly glad that Julia and Portia actually talk about the Brontë-ish-ness of their visit (meeting a lady named Mrs. Earnshaw was just too much for them, I suppose). I also loved the Mysterious Tolling Bell and the Egyptology. And Valerius. And I love Bellmont, awful as he is. The March family is high up on my list of Literary Families I'd Like to Hang Out With.
Anyway. I actually had the mysteries figured out early on, and, as usual, was a bit frustrated with Lady Julia for getting fooling by every red herring along the way -- I feel that more heroines should be well-versed in the old The Most Unlikely Character Is The Villain rule. But I do give her points for having faith in Brisbane. And the obviousness of the mysteries didn't really matter -- by the second-to-last chapter I was squawking, "WHAT? WHAT? THIS HAD BETTER END WELL, DEANNA!" at the book. So clearly I was engaged. I do enjoy my outings with these characters.
And immediately upon finishing it I checked her blog to make sure that this was not the end of the series. It isn't. PHEW. I hope they go to India next.
*He isn't actually a werewolf, as far as I can tell. But he seems to be as wolfy as someone could possibly be WITHOUT being a werewolf. If that makes any sense. Probably not. But, whatever. Usually the whole werewolf thing doesn't do it for me, but if Brisbane wolfed out, I'd totally be the Willow to his Oz. ANYWAY.