"Let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave."
These ominous words, slashed from the pages of a book of Psalms, are the last threat that the darling of London society, Sir Edward Grey, receives from his killer. Before he can show them to Nicholas Brisbane, the private inquiry agent he has retained for his protection, Sir Edward collapses and dies at his London home, in the presence of his wife, Julia, and a roomful of dinner guests.
Prepared to accept that Edward's death was due to a longstanding physical infirmity, Julia is outraged when Brisbane visits and suggests that Sir Edward has been murdered. It is a reaction she comes to regret when she discovers the damning paper for herself, and realizes the truth.
Determined to bring her husband's murderer to justice, Julia engages the enigmatic Brisbane to help her investigate Edward's demise. Dismissing his warnings that the investigation will be difficult, if not impossible, Julia presses forward, following a trail of clues that lead her to even more unpleasant truths, and ever closer to a killer who waits expectantly for her arrival.
Lady Julia Grey and Nicholas Brisbane meet over the body of her almost dead husband. Although the doctor thinks he died of a heart condition common in his family Brisbane tells Julia that he thinks her husband was murdered. He had received some threatening letters and had hired Brisbane to discover who was behind it. Unfortunately Julia doesn’t believe him and only a year later does she find some evidence to corroborate his story and decides to start an investigation.
Julia has a very large and unconventional family and among the servants we also find some interesting characters that help creating a good background for the story. I did like the Victorian setting, in fact that’s what convinced me to pick it up, but the mystery in itself did not work all that well for me. I thought the action was to slow paced, it dragged a bit in the middle, and was left cold by Julia’s problems and worries. In fact I started to feel like there was too many plot twists and turns and the action would have worked better if that had been tidied up a bit.
I did guess the murderer earlier on but not the motive and definitely not the way the murder was committed. That was very surprising I must say.
In the end I felt Raybourn showed great promise but this story fell a bit short for me.