A Fatal Waltz
by Tasha Alexander
I watched a lot of Matlock when I was younger. After that I was into Diagnosis Murder. Eventually I moved on to more modern and sophisticated detective shows like Law and Order and CSI. I flatter myself that I am pretty good at solving a mystery.
This mystery involves a cast of utterly modern characters set in 1891 in London and Vienna. The protagonist, Lady Emily Ashton, must solve the mystery of who murdered the despicable Lord Fortescue before her closest friend's husband is wrongly sentenced to death for the crime. With very little by way of clues and a few dangerous suspects, she embarks on an adventure that will bring her in contact with an anarchist and a man bent on starting war. The closer she gets to answers the higher the stakes get.
I was pretty confident that I had the mystery solved before the murder even took place. The more I read the more sure I was. In fact, I was kind of ticked that it was so easy. But it wasn't; I was wrong. Ms. Alexander did a good job of laying few clues and diverting my attention.
Honestly I have very little good to say about the book. The writing wasn't terrible but "historical texture and emotional depth", as the New York Times put it, it did not have. Through most of my reading it felt like an episode of Murder She Wrote. The characters and dialog were completely wrong for the historical setting. There was just nothing real about it. But I still enjoyed it enough to finish it. It is brain candy reading just a few notches above chick lit and made me role my eyes throughout but I never considered putting it down. It's not necessarily my cuppa tea but it has its merits and would make a fine read for those who like mysteries. It is the third book in a series. I may just go back and read And Only to Deceive and A Poisoned Season.
ETA: According to Amazon reviews the first two books in this series are much better. Many reviewers feel that A Fatal Waltz was rushed and lacks the proper character development for the new reader. Good to know.