Review

Behind the Shattered Glass: A Lady Emily Mystery

by Tasha Alexander

Lady Emily Hargreaves is gathered with her husband, Colin, and her mother, Lady Catherine Bromley, for what she hopes will be a quiet evening at her husband's ancestral home, Anglemore, situated in the Derbyshire countryside. Unfortunately, the evening takes a sudden turn toward the eventful when an injured man staggers into the library and drops dead, leaving the trio to wonder what events preceded this tragedy.

While the man is unknown to Emily and Colin, Lady Bromley quickly identifies him as Archibald Scolfield, the new Marquess of Montagu. Having arrived from London the previous day, he should have been in attendance at a party in his honor at a neighboring estate instead of dead on the floor at Anglemore. Fortunately, Colin is an agent of the Crown and experienced at delving into nefarious situations. He quickly summons the appropriate authorities and begins an investigation into the death of the Marquess. Not to be left on the sidelines, Lady Emily is eager to be of assistance to her husband as she has been several times in the past.

"With alternating chapters that focus on the aristocracy and the servants in turn, two separate storylines eventually converge into one exciting climax. Fans of historical fiction, particularly of books set in England, will adore the Lady Emily series."

It doesn't take long for the pair to discover that the Marquess was hardly the paragon of virtue that he appeared to be. As the investigation progresses, it's obvious that there are several suspects who would benefit from Archibald’s demise, his cousin Matilda among them. Upon the Marquess' death, Matilda would inherit the title to become the Marchioness of Montagu and the home that she so dearly loves and is loathe to leave.

Along with Matilda, there are two women who were romantically involved with the Marquess, each under the impression that he intended to marry her. The vicar's daughter, Cora Fitzgerald, has written a packet of steamy love letters, all of which the Marquess retained possession. As far as she was concerned, their marriage was imminent. The other woman in question, an American heiress, also believed herself to be the one and only love of the Marquess. In addition to cousin Matilda and the Marquess' lovers, Rodney Scolfield stood to gain from the Marquess' death. Appearing suddenly on the scene, Rodney puts forth a claim as the inheritor of the title of Marquess of Montagu. Matilda immediately sets out to prove him a fraud and oust him from the home she thought was hers at long last.

As the investigation progresses, a multitude of lies and cover-ups emerge until it's hard to tell who did what to whom. Clues lead to dead ends while new ones emerge. Lord and Lady Hargreaves know that unless they capture the murderer quickly, there could be more victims in his or her wake.

Tasha Alexander continues her historical mystery series with this eighth installment --- and what a winner it is! With alternating chapters that focus on the aristocracy and the servants in turn, two separate storylines eventually converge into one exciting climax. Fans of historical fiction, particularly of books set in England, will adore the Lady Emily series. I read BEHIND THE SHATTERED GLASS as a newcomer to Alexander’s work, and as I was turning the pages, I knew I would be eager to take a look at Lady Emily’s previous adventures. How can I possibly resist?

Reviewed by Amie Taylor on October 17, 2013

Behind the Shattered Glass: A Lady Emily Mystery
by Tasha Alexander