And Only to Deceive, first of the “Lady Emily” series by Tasha Alexander, is one of the “lady of the nobility solves mysteries” milieu, and it’s a decent addition overall. This time around the noble lady in question is Lady Emily Ashton, recent widow of Lord Philip Ashton, who must come to grips with the alarming idea that not only might her husband have been dealing in illicitly obtained antiquities–but he might have been murdered.
I’ll say right out that the big appeal of this for me was Emily taking a sadly belated interest in her husband’s work in ancient Greek artifacts, by way of trying to cope with the fact that she never really knew him before he died. This gives her an opportunity to develop her own intellectual pursuits, and I’m always a fan of a plot that lets a woman pursue education just because she likes it, and never mind that it’s in defiance of the expectations of society. There’s some fun here with Emily’s studies bringing her all too close to fruitlessly falling in love with the husband she might have had, too, which causes her no end of consternation. Especially when the possibility is raised that he might actually still be alive.
But of course, this wouldn’t be a period mystery without a primary love interest, and the gentleman filling this role is Philip’s best friend Colin Hargreaves. Colin and Emily have fairly standard but nonetheless engaging chemistry, with the obligatory sparks when Emily spends some time infatuated with another man as well.
Good fun all around, and I’m definitely looking forward to reading Book 2. Four stars.