In A Fatal Waltz by Tasha Alexander, the third novel in the Lady Emily mystery series, we find ourselves again in Victorian England with Lady Emily Ashton. This time, we follow Lady Emily to a house party in the country, hosted by Lord Basil Fortesque. Unfortunately for Lord Fortesque, he winds up dead as the recipient of a bullet from a dueling pistol. Lady Emily sets her mind to discovering who the killer is after the husband of one of her good friends is erroneously implicated as the murderer. Unfortunately Lady Emily has little to go by, as the only clue is a letter sent to the deceased that references a political assassination. Acting on the information contained in the letter, Lady Emily travels to Vienna, where she must dig up new details and place together new clues. Fortunately she gets to spend some time with her fiance, Colin Hargreaves (an undercover agent for the crown). She is also involved in an interesting twist when she must make friends with his former lover, Kristiana Von Lange, in order to get out of a difficult situation. With all of the twists and turns thrown at Lady Emily it begins to seem as if the murder will never get solved! Will her engagement end now that Kristiana is back in Colin’s life? Will Emily be able to make a breakthrough in the case before it’s too late?
Immediately after finishing A Poisoned Season, I picked up A Fatal Waltz ready to jump into another mystery with Emily and Colin. I couldn’t wait to read not only how their relationship progressed, but also the tongue-in-cheek humor that I’ve come to expect from Alexander’s writing. While Waltz moved a bit slower than the first two in the series, it did NOT disappoint on the mystery front. I was guessing the entire time, thinking myself a better sleuth than I actually was! I failed miserably, guessing completely wrong. Hopefully by the sixth book in the series I’ll have picked up some detective skills from Emily that help me figure out whodunit before the story ends (I can only hope).
As in the previous novels of the series, Emily is a modern-thinking woman, keen on keeping her independence and freedom. She’s an absolutely fascinating heroine to follow, as she really gives a big middle finger to the social restrictions on women. She reminds me of Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice in multiple ways. She allows her wit and intelligence to ease the way for her non-traditional values and decisions. Most of the people she meets are enthralled by her and for the most part come around to her way of thinking. Maybe they don’t 100% agree with her, yet they respect her views enough to allow for the freedom of discussion about them. She’s a heroine I’m proud to like, and I think that anyone who gives these novels a chance would definitely appreciate her mind and find themselves growing quite attached to her. Not only this, But I’m willing to bet that once you begin to read the first novel in this series, you won’t be able to stop until the sixth and most current novel ends up in your “finished” pile. They’re that good!
4 out of 5 Stars
A Fatal Waltz by Tasha Alexander
Harper Collins (2008)
Hardcover 304 pages
Note: With this review I close out 2011, and officially complete my 2011 100 book challenge! Yahoo!!!