So every year in December leading up to Christmas I try and post a Christmas mystery. This year I had a really difficult time and had to go out on a bit of a limb. This book isn’t a “Christmas Mystery” but Christmas does play a role so it counts.
And Only to Deceive (Lady Emily Mystery #1) by Tasha Alexander
Lady Emily is a widow.
But she isn’t sad as she never loved her husband.
Lady Emily Ashton is an only daughter and all her life her mother has been plotting and planning and maneuvering to get her daughter married off to a wealthy and eligible bachelor.
Emily chose Viscount Phillip Ashton as he seemed less chauvinistic and someone who would be okay to live with-and of course by marrying she would be free of her mother.
Phillip was interested in the hunt, captured his quarry, and then went on a big game hunt to Africa were he became sick and died.
Emily was given freedom, money, large houses-she had to be absent from society for two years but that was okay as she didn’t really care for it. Life was solitary but it wasn’t bad.
Everything changed when her husband’s best friend came to visit after a year and a half. Mr Colin Hargreaves came to speak to Emily about how he made sure her Greek Villa was all in order, and she is free to go there anytime, just let him know and he will arrange the trip for her, Kallista.
Emily is completely surprised as her husband never said any thing about a villa and he never called her Kallista.
Emily is baffled by this and even more when her butler let’s her know that he fired a footman who was digging in her late husband’s desk. She starts looking to see if anything is missing,-although how would she know as she has never been in there really-and discovers a threatening note.
This is just the firsts in a series that makes Emily realize she knew very little, if anything about her husband. It turns out that he was an avid collector or Greek art-throughly knowledgeable in it and Greek history.
She also finds his journals and reads about his love for her (in incredibly sweet journal entries).
Emily’s interest is piqued and she begins reading Homer’s The Odyssey and researching into Greek art and mythology.
She discovers more things do not add up and that her husband was caught up in a fake antiquary scam. Could it be that he was duped, with all his knowledge and expertise? Or was he the ringleader?
Emily cannot believe the later, and as she reads her husband’s journals, she starts to fall in love with him, and remember wonderful and romantic gestures he would do, but took for granted at the time.
Emily isn’t sure who to trust, besides her old friend Ivy and new friend Lady Cécile du Lac. Colin spends a lot of time around her, and then she discovers that he has been watching her. Why? Could he be the ringleader?
She also meets another friend of her husband, Andrew Palmer, who is fun, light, sarcastic, and likes to party and go out. He gives Emily a lot of attention and she enjoys it, as anyone who has been sent to the sidelines would. He is from noble stock, but has no money. Could he be after her wealth, or is he really interested in her.
Colin and Andrew were both on the hunting trip with her husband, could one of them have killed him?
Then Emily gets a note about her husband being alive! Is he a criminal hiding out? Or was he betrayed by a friend and in need?
Emily sets off on a trek to Africa, will she be happy with what she finds? Or is she heading into a trap?!
Thoughts After Reading:
I really enjoyed this mystery as I liked that Emily was an independent woman with a strong personality and ideas about what she wanted, but at the same time she was still a woman of her times. I hate when people write historical fiction and the people are too much a product of our time. It makes zero sense.
I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!
For more Christmas Mysteries, go to Mail Order Murder
For more historical fiction, go to The Secret Keeper
For more mysteries about widows, go to A Quiche Before Dying