A CRIMSON WARNING
Set among the glittering drawing rooms of London’s upper class, Alexander’s latest Lady Emily mystery is filled with plausible suspects and plenty of well-laid clues to the villain’s identity. Although the dialogue is a bit awkward in its attempts to mimic the times, the plotting is engrossing, if hampered by occasional journal entries by Lady Emily’s friend Ivy, which distract from the narrative. Still, Lady Emily is an interesting character, a typically demure Victorian lady with unusual hobbies, and the solution is both realistic and satisfying.
The upper crust of Victorian London is thrown into a panic by a malicious vandal who splashes vivid red paint on the fronts of homes to signal that the inhabitants’ deepest secrets are about to be publicly revealed. After a young woman loses her life, Lady Emily Hargreaves and her dashing husband Colin, an agent of the Crown, set to work to determine who is behind the crimes and why, and not even the appearance of the damning paint on their own doorstep will stop them. (MINOTAUR, Nov., 320 pp., $24.99)