Death in St. Petersburg

Written by Tasha Alexander
Review by Valerie Adolph

Lady Emily accompanies her husband, Colin, to St Petersburg in the winter of 1900 as he undertakes a delicate but unspecified task for Queen Victoria, whose granddaughter is the wife of the tsar. It is a time of growing unrest in Russia, with groups agitating for greater power for the people. Lady Emily appears unaware of this as she enjoys the opera, balls, soirees and the ballet with her aristocratic friends.

Unawareness ends when the body of the prima ballerina is found outside the theatre after her exceptional performance in Swan Lake. With the help of her friends and her husband, whose assignment includes both Russian royalty and groups seeking drastic political change, Lady Emily investigates the murder. She discovers layers of love, hate and political intrigue within the world of ballet and also within the glittering social life of the city.

This latest in the Lady Emily series is a delight, combining the magic of tsarist St Petersburg with intimate knowledge of the world of ballet and complex plotting. Quirky characters, from the ghostly ballerina to the unrepentant jewel thief, offset the macabre murder and the political issues. A well-researched book written with style and flair.