A Lady in the Smoke: A Victorian Mystery by Karen Odden

A Lady in the Smoke: A Victorian Mystery 
Author: Karen Odden
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Alibi
Release Date: March 29, 2016
Pages: 375
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Featuring all the suspense and historical atmosphere of Anne Perry’s Victorian mysteries, Karen Odden’s enthralling debut plunges a headstrong young Englishwoman into a conspiracy that reaches the highest corridors of power.

     Following a humiliating fourth Season in London, Lady Elizabeth Fraser is on her way back to her ancestral country estate when her train careens off the rails and bursts into flames. Though she is injured, she manages to drag herself and her unconscious mother out of the wreckage, and amid the chaos that ensues, a brilliant young railway surgeon saves her mother’s life. Elizabeth feels an immediate connection with Paul Wilcox—though society would never deem a medical man eligible for the daughter of an earl.

     After Paul reveals that the train wreck was no accident, and the inspector who tried to prevent it dies under mysterious circumstances, Elizabeth undertakes a dangerous investigation of her own that leads back to her family’s buried secrets. Not only are her dowry and her reputation at stake; Paul’s very life hangs in the balance when he is arrested for manslaughter. Now Elizabeth must risk everything for the man who has found a place in her heart. As the trial draws near, and Parliament prepares for a vote that will change the course of the nation, she uncovers a conspiracy that has been years in the making. But time is running out to see justice done.

      My Review: After spending a humiliating season in London, Lady Elizabeth Fraser and her mother are returning to their ancestral home. Along the way, their train goes off the rails and bursts into fire. Lady Elizabeth manages to save her mother, but she is injured. She finds herself healed by a railway surgeon. She eventually discovers that the train wreck was not an accident. She also learns that that this sabotage is connected to her. Can Elizabeth bring those conspirators to justice?

     Lady Elizabeth Fraser is a very likable and sympathetic character. She yearns to do the right thing. She strives to gain her mother’s affection even though her mother gives her no love in return. She is very caring and yearns to help others. Because of this, she goes beyond the social boundaries of her class and is met with criticism. She also tries to break boundaries by not telling anyone her title because she wants them to treat her as an equal rather than a lady. Therefore, Lady Elizabeth Fraser is an interesting character because she does not want to be bound by society and yearns for people to judge her based on her character alone.

     Overall, this novel is about friendship, love, family secrets, conspiracies, and social class. The characters are very complex, and I like how the mystery starts on the railways of Victorian England. The only thing that I did not like about the book was that it was very slow-paced and sometimes the romance take precedence over the mystery. However, this book is very-well written and it is very reminiscent of the times. Still, A Lady in the Smoke  is full of political intrigue, suspense, mystery and romance that will be sure to entertain history and mystery fans alike. I recommend this book to fans of Deanna Raybourn, Tasha Alexander, and Anna Lee Huber.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


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