The Dark Enquiry

Written by Deanna Raybourn
Review by Cindy Vallar

After her eldest brother, Viscount Bellmont, secretly visits her husband, Lady Julia Brisbane ponders why since the two don’t particularly like each other. Her curiosity piqued, she follows Nicholas to the Spirit Club but then loses him. Determined to get to the bottom of things, she attends a séance given by Madame Séraphine. Since Nicholas is as skeptical as she is about spiritualism, Julia can’t see how the medium fits into his latest private enquiry investigation.

After the séance ends but before Julia departs, Nicholas reveals his presence and the reason for being at the Spirit Club. They search Madame’s room, but before they find her brother’s letters, the medium’s return forces them into hiding. From this vantage point, they watch her die from poisoning. Although they make a hasty retreat before the police arrive, they continue the hunt for Bellmont’s letters, which can topple the present government should they fall into the wrong hands. In doing so, the Brisbanes soon find themselves the target of the murderer and others who search for the letters.

International intrigue, arson, locked mausoleums, and secret identities abound in this spellbinding historical mystery, the fifth in the series. Raybourn’s characters are multifaceted, and she expertly weaves their back stories into this tale so readers unfamiliar with previous books are easily drawn into the current investigation. The intricate plot unravels with twists and turns that challenge us but keep us guessing until the end. Raybourn expertly spins a tale that transports us back to 1889 London, allowing us to observe Julia’s scientific experiments firsthand, to meet the members of her quirky family, or to enter the mysterious world of the gypsy. This riveting mystery will soon make readers fans who will eagerly await Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane’s next adventure.