Dangerous to Know

Written by Tasha Alexander
Review by Liz Allenby

In her latest book, set in Normandy, France in the late 1800s, Tasha Alexander has placed her previously successful heroine, Lady Emily, in another mystery requiring her sharp wit and observant eye. Returning from her honeymoon and a near brush with death in Constantinople, Emily convalesces at her mother-in-law’s comfortable estate. Her calm is shattered as she discovers a brutally murdered woman’s body in the woods. With the help of her husband Colin and an intriguing thief named Sebastian, she follows a path of clues leading to the woman’s identity: the daughter of a high-born French aristocratic family committed to an insane asylum. While there, the daughter had given birth to an illegitimate child who was spirited away and may even be dead.

And so the many clues unravel. Lady Emily persists in her search to find the perpetrator of this hideous crime, following the trail to the medieval city of Rouen and a crumbling chateau in the country. Hearing cries of a child in distress, she becomes increasingly disturbed. This may or may not be the ghost of the murdered child. When the doctor who had treated the murdered woman in the asylum is found dead, and the body of the child’s father is found hidden behind a wall in a cottage by the sea, Emily is forced to match wits with a brilliant killer who conducts scientific shock experiments on the living. Only her courage and keen instincts can help her escape becoming his next victim.

The author succeeds in bringing the late 19th-century society of English émigrés in France to light. Although authentic in historical detail, Ms. Alexander adds freshness to the dialogue and description as she leads the reader deftly through twists and turns. This was a very entertaining novel.