A Terrible Beauty

Written by Tasha Alexander
Review by Judith Starkston

This is the eleventh in Alexander’s Lady Emily mystery series set in the Victorian era. Lady Emily goes to Athens and then to her villa on Santorini with the intent of distracting her friend, the Duke of Bainbridge, from his heartbreak. Instead, Emily and her husband Colin receive a blow to their hearts when Emily’s long-dead first husband, Philip, shows up, working as an archaeologist. His tale of near-death in Africa and the reasons for his decade-long delay in revealing himself raise doubts about his identity. This conundrum gives Emily an engaging, unusual detective challenge.

Complications grow when an illegal antiquities trader attacks Philip. Emily thrives amidst the Greeks she adores and their ancient relics. Her persistent defense of Hector over Achilles marks her as a classical devotee shading to the maniacal. The Parthenon and rocky island offer delightful settings that turn deadly with ease.

Character development comes with Emily’s wrestling with her long-buried guilt about how little she grieved for Philip. Emily and Colin lean on their physical passion for each other as they try to weather this disturbing storm. A recommended addition to this series.