Some elements of Deanna Raybourn’s Lady Julia Grey romantic mystery series sometimes get old, such as the debate between Lady Julia and her husband Brisbane about how involved she is allowed to get in his investigations. This debate begins The Dark Enquiry, and eventually Brisbane reluctantly agrees that she can be a partner in his investigations, but not before she discovers for herself that her own proper, conservative brother, Lord Belmont, is being blackmailed. As a government official, he should have known better than to get involved with a lady, but especially to send her love letters. The lady turns out to be working for a foreign government.
In following up her investigation into her brother’s difficulties, Lady Julia disguises herself as a man to go to the Ghost Club, where Madame Séraphine holds nightly séances. There she is discovered by Brisbane. As they sneak back into the club together later in the evening, they are just in time to see Madame Séraphine be murdered by poison.
This novel is peopled with Lady Julia’s eccentric family, but it also features blackmail, gypsies, and spies. Raybourn’s novels are lively, and the dialog is entertaining. If we can just get over the endless debate about Julia’s part in the investigations, the series will continue to be fun to read.