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Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

Tears of Pearl (Lady Emily, #4)

Tears of Pearl - Tasha Alexander

I was tempted to give another 3.5 stars to this book, but I think personal bias might be getting in the way on this one, so I'll err on the side of optimism.


The whole of this book takes place in Constantinople, during Lady Emily's honeymoon.  They become embroiled in a murder investigation that involves the Sultan's harem and the son of an Englishman.


I'm of two minds about the setting; I've never found sultans or harems romantic or intriguing or even interesting.  But I've always been fascinated by the advanced learnings of the Arabian culture.  So while I found the whole sultan/harem thing a giant yawn, I did enjoy the glimpses of beauty, culture and education - especially on the part of the Turkish women (although I was struggling to keep track of who belonged to which palace).  The author writes a fair story: she doesn't deny the harems are at their base a form of slavery, but she is quick to point out that the English system wasn't a model of feminism either; I thought she did a very good job comparing each against the other.


The murder mystery itself was again diabolical, but this time I knew the killer from the start.  The motivation was a complete mystery until it's revealed to Lady Emily, so my sureness as to the villain didn't detract from my investment in the story.  


Everybody in this book had a role to play - a job in service to the story.  Except one.  That character never served any significant purpose; the author never pretended this character had any part of the murder plot itself.  So it was spotlight-obvious who the killer was.

(show spoiler)


I love Lady Emily and Colin's relationship: it's the stuff of pure fantasy - the ideal relationship.  Real life lacks enough of any ideal that I thoroughly enjoy it in my books, and it's this relationship as much as anything else that keeps drawing me back in.  I've been wondering how, now that they are married, the author was going to keep real Victorian life at bay and I have to say she found a very clever, if not pleasant, way of doing so.  Within the world she's created for Lady Emily and Colin it's an entirely plausible and realistic outcome.  And yes, I'm being purposefully vague so as not to spoil anything for anyone.


I'm definitely taking a break now; time to step back and return to the series at a later date, but I'm looking forward to enjoying the next book when I do.