Monday, July 27, 2009

Tears of Pearl-Tasha Alexander

Tears of Pearl
Tasha Alexander
Minotaur, Sep 2009, $24.99
ISBN 9780312383701

Newlyweds Lady Emily and British intelligence agent Colin Hargreaves honeymoon in Constantinople. They are looking into the mugging of Sir Richard and papers stolen from him when a half-English harem girl is murdered. Sir Richard recognizes her as his daughter Thedore stolen from him two decades ago. He pleads with Colin to lead the investigation. The crown’s representatives with the cooperation of the Ottoman Empire also reluctantly agree to allow Emily toquestion the women and eunuchs inside the harem.

However, Emily is not known for following orders to do no sleuthing outside the harem. Instead she follows leads that take her to victim’s family; her father the diplomat and her brother the archeologist. As Colin struggles to keep her in line, Emily interrogates the previous sultan who ruled when Theodore was abducted and the current sultan. Nothing including her spouse, the English throne, the Ottoman Empire Sultan and not even a probable pregnancy stops Emily from her inquiry.

The latest Lady Emily Victorian mystery (see AND ONLY TO DECEIVE and A FATAL WALTZ) is a fun whodunit (except if you are Sir Richard) though filled with numerous seemingly improbabilities. The story line provides the audience insight into the late nineteenth century teetering Ottoman Empire and British diplomacy. However, the plot belongs to the married couple whose relationship in some ways will remind the audience of Nick and Nora of Thin Man even with a different time and place.

Harriet Klausner