Sunday, April 3, 2016

Mystery and Romance on Victorian Railways

Karen Odden
Random House Alibi
March 29, 2016

Lady Elizabeth Fraser is homeward bound along with her mother after a disappointing fourth Season in London. Not only is her mother angry that she has not made an advantageous match, but Elizabeth was largely ignored at the final ball and rumors are circulating about the family's fortunes. The train that they are traveling on derails at high speed but Elizabeth manages to get herself and her mother off with the help of a stranger. The scene is horrendous, with many injuries and much loss of life. After a long wait, they are approached by a handsome railway surgeon who treats their injuries and transfers them to a local inn. Elizabeth's mother is unconscious but the surgeon hopes she will recover. The inn is overrun with injured passengers and the surgeon, Paul Wilcox, has no help. Elizabeth considers it her duty to help him, despite the impropriety. During the long night, the two form an undeniable attraction. Elizabeth also finds out that the accident may have been sabotage, and there might be connections to her own family's affairs. Matters escalate when Paul is charged with manslaughter after one of his patients dies. Lady Elizabeth will do anything to save him from the charge; even if it reveals some old secrets in he family.

A Lady in the Smoke has all the elements that I usually enjoy in a Victorian mystery; a feisty and determined heroine, a well-crafted setting and good characterization. However, in this case, I found myself bogged down in the details of the railroad conspiracy and it didn't hold my interest. I liked many things about the book, but in this case, I can only give it a "like", not a "love" rating. Thanks to Random House Alibi and NetGalley for an advance digital copy in return for an honest review. 

RATING- 3 Stars

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