Who is behind the railroad sabotage and murders? A Lady in the Smoke: A Victorian Mystery by USA Tod
Title: A Lady in the Smoke: A Victorian Mystery
Author: Karen Odden
Genre: Historical Mystery
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.
Lady Elizabeth and her mother are traveling by train back to their estate from London when the train careens off its tracks. Elizabeth wakes up to her mother unconscious with a broken ankle and Elizabeth herself has a gash on her forehead. They somehow make it off the train and a gentleman doctor helps them by the name of Paul Wilcox.
Over the next few days, while her mother is recovering, she helps the young doctor who saved her and her mother’s life. There’s an immediate attraction between the two even though they come from different social circles. Elizabeth doesn’t tell Paul her title because she enjoys being treated like a normal woman and she knows Paul will withdraw if he found out. But like everything in Victorian England, the truth eventually comes out.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth discovers the train accident she endured was on purpose. In fact, there’s quite a few train derailments and it’s politically driven. The more Elizabeth and her new-found acquaintance reporter (a friend of Paul’s) unearth, the more long-buried family secrets emerge. When Paul is arrested for manslaughter, Elizabeth must risk her reputation and life as she knows it to save the man she loves.
A Lady in the Smoke is filled with suspense, twists and turns, not to mention a sweet romance between Paul and Elizabeth. Karen Odden draws you into Elizabeth’s world. The supporting cast of characters add such richness to this story and the mystery held my mind captive. Who is behind the railroad sabotage and murders? The courtroom scenes left me breathless and the ending was satisfying. Totally fed my love of trains and the Victorian era.
If you like historical fiction, especially Victorian, with dashes of mystery and romance, this book is for you! I look forward to more from Karen Odden.
Disclaimer: I received a copy from Penguin Random House Publishing Group – Alibi via Netgalley in the hopes I’d review it.
My Rating: 5 stars
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KAREN ODDEN received her PhD in English literature from New York University and has taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She formerly served as an assistant editor for the academic journal Victorian Literature and Culture. Her debut novel, A Lady in the Smoke, was a USA Today bestseller. Her next novel, A Dangerous Duet, will be available on November 6, 2018.
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Reviewed by: Mrs. N