Silent on the Moor, the third of the Lady Julia Grey novels, is not as awesome as Book 1–but it’s better than Book 2, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.
The scenario’s a time-honored one straight out of Gothic romances: i.e., our heroine heads out to a remote location, in this particular instance to the manor that our hero has recently acquired, and our hero spends a lot of time being mysterious and brooding. There are mysterious household denizens with mysterious secrets, as well as the obligatory May or May Not be a Ghost. There are salt-of-the-earth villagers who have their own takes on the mysterious secrets of the great house. There’s even a gypsy wise-woman who has all sorts of interesting background on Brisbane. And, of course, there’s the moor, lonely and haunting and full of Gothic atmosphere.
What actually gets Lady Julia out there is the very straightforward motive of wanting to confront Brisbane about the state of things between them, as of the tail end of Book 2. She pulls this off accompanied by her sister Portia (who has love life issues of her own, for things are not well between her and her beloved Jane) and brother Valerius (who’s there as chaperone, since Julia chasing after Brisbane is Shockingly Improper and such). Enough is made of Julia’s intentions and how she’s basically bowled her way into a house full of strangers to remind you of the morals of the time, yet, this hardly stops Julia from going about her business. And once Brisbane’s on camera, the book comes together. There’s a murder attempt, investigation of creepy Egyptian artifacts with creepy mummified babies, and a host of intriguing questions about why exactly Brisbane bought this mansion in the first place.
Good fun overall. I have no idea whether there will be more of these, due to how the book ends, on a nice stopping point. We’ll have to see if Raybourn takes these characters any further. Four stars.