Title: Dark Road to Darjeeling
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Release Date: October 1, 2010
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Brisbane and Julia have been on their honeymoon for almost a year when Julia’s sister Portia and her brother Plum show up on their doorstep. Portia’s former lover, Jane, who married a man and moved to India with him because she was desperate for children, has sent her a letter. Jane’s husband, Freddie, had died and Jane is pregnant and alone, living with Freddie’s family. From Jane’s letters, Portia isn’t convinced Freddie’s death was an accident and fears Jane may be in danger. As a result, the entire party must make their way to India in order to determine the truth behind Freddie’s death.
Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia Grey mysteries, consisting of Silent in the Grave, Silent in the Sanctuary, and Silent on the Moor, are one of my favorite series, so I was thrilled to discover that she was writing a fourth book in the series, after the standalone The Dead Travel Fast earlier this year. Raybourn’s writing is atmospheric, and the mysteries are always intriguing. I am thrilled to say that the fourth installment in the series has lost none of the luster of the earlier books, and was just as gripping as I’d hoped.
If you’re new to Julia Grey, I’d highly recommend reading the books in order, rather than starting with this one. The relationship between Julia and Brisbane builds slowly over the course of the books, so it’s important to have that background in order to understand the tension in their relationship in Dark Road to Darjeeling. Additionally, some characters from a previous book make a reappearance in this one, revealing the ending of that book.
The mystery in Dark Road to Darjeeling is solidly written and engrossing. Viewing all of the fascinating secondary characters through the lens of possible murder was very eye opening. Julia was definitely up to the task of investigating, but I appreciated the realizations she came to about herself as the novel progressed. There was a lot of character growth in this book for both her and Brisbane, and that’s saying something considering this is the fourth book in a series. Raybourn ensures that nothing in this series will ever become old or stale, and is constantly refreshing her stories and characters.
One of my favorite parts of the series is the tempestuous relationship between Julia and Brisbane, and I feared that, since they were finally married, that would fizzle out. Not to worry though, Raybourn devised new arguments (based on the old fights) to keep their relationship interesting. The part I really appreciated, though, is that Raybourn never inserts a fight just to artificially keep the two apart. She has developed both of these characters well enough to where these arguments seem natural, and just when the reader is wishing they’d just make up and get on with the story, it happens.
I’m so glad that Deanna Raybourn has chosen to continue with the Lady Julia Grey series, and I can’t wait to see what comes next. Raybourn has already set up the premise of the fifth book in the series, and I’ll be waiting (very impatiently) for it to come out, so I can scoop it up and devour it in one sitting, like I did with Dark Road to Darjeeling.