Saturday, January 9, 2010

Silent on the Moor by Deanna Raybourn

This is a wickedly witty Lady Julia Grey mystery. ‘There are things that walk abroad on the moor that should not. But the dead do not always lie quietly, do they, lady?’ It is England, 1888. Grimsgrave Manor is an unhappy house, isolated on the Yorkshire moors, silent and secretive. But secrets cannot be long kept in the face of Lady Julia Grey’s incurable curiosity. In the teeth of protests from her conventional, stuffy brother, Lady Julia decides to pay a visit to the enigmatic detective, Nicholas Brisbane to bring a woman’s touch to his new estate.
Grimsgrave is haunted by the ghosts of its past and its owner seems to be falling into ruin along with the house. Confronted with gypsy warnings and Brisbane’s elusive behavior, Lady Julia scents a mystery. It’s not long before her desire for answers leads her into danger unlike any other that she has experienced – and from which, this time, there may be no escape.

While I really enjoyed the first two books of the Lady Julia Grey mysteries, Silent on the Moor didn't give me the same satisfaction.

In the final pages of Silent in the Sanctuary, we learned that Lady Julia was going to visit Brisbane’s mystery house, Grimsgrave Manor, with her sister, Portia. The later was invited by the young man to help him set up a more pleasant household on his recently acquired house in Yorkshire. Of course, Brisbane isn’t aware of this sisterly plan and when he sees Julia at his doorstep, he is somehow surprised and reluctantly agrees to shelter both sisters.

Julia and Portia find themselves living in an old crumbling house with the almost constantly absent Brisbane and the former owners, the Allenbys: Lady Allenby and her two daughters, Ailith (the family beauty) and Hilda (the tomboy). If in the beginning they enjoy their visit, they quickly see that appearances can be very deceiving…

While I think Julia is coming out of her shell since book two and we see now how much easily she makes her own decisions and knows what she wants, I can’t stop wishing she would kick Brisbane times to times. The man is completely obnoxious! I do understand why he doesn’t want to have someone in his life, even if I find the reasons exaggerated, but after a while I stop believing he actually cares for Julia and he is, in fact, enjoying being hunted.

It’s easy to understand that while she wants to show him she cares for him, his unjustified absences and rejections would try the patience of a saint. I admired Julia to pursuit what she wanted and cheered her up when she decided it was enough.

I have to admit I was much more interested in Portia’s relationship with Jane. They are both very warm characters and this turn of events was quite a surprise since they always seemed in perfect harmony. Hopefully, Raybourn will give their relationship another go.

The atmosphere is very gloomy and sometimes made me think of Wuthering Heights which is always something I enjoy.

The mystery was very predictable and, at some point, I was asking myself how they could not see what was going on. You can feel since the beginning there are many skeletons in the closet of the Allenby family, their relationship is strained and at a breaking point… The comments and attitudes of the servants and even the family about the late Sir Redwall and then Lady Julia’s discovery of two small mummies among the family Egyptian antiquities lead to the obvious.

Also, after the Grey sisters arrive to Grimsgrave Manor everything seems to drag and slow down. The mystery part could have been solved quickly, just as the reason of Brisbane absences.

A pleasant read recommended to the fans of the series.

Grade: 3.5/5


  1. The cover is very pretty, I like it. I have read the first in the series and I have the second which I have not read yet... Good review...

  2. I have read the first one, and own the other two. Hmm...well I might save the last one for a spur of the moment need a book to read time.

  3. I love this series, I really do. And I agree with your thoughts on this one (esp. Portia and Jane), while readily admitting that Raybourn can do no wrong in my eyes, LOL.