Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Dark Lantern: A Novel by Gerri Brightwell

The Dark Lantern
Gerri Brightwell
Crown Publishing
336 pages

She sits stiffly on the seat of the cart, her whole self held in against the tumult of the city. ~ First sentence, The Dark Lantern ~

Devon-born housemaid Jane Wilbred has snared her new post with the Bentley family with a letter of reference she forged, omitting any mention of the possibly pertinent fact that her late mother was a notorious murderer. That, however, is trifling compared to the shady games being played both upstairs and downstairs at 32 Cursitor Road while the family matriarch lingers on her deathbed, especially the struggle between mysterious beauty Mina Bentley, wife of younger son Robert, and the wan stranger who claims to be the widow of older brother Henry (drowned recently while sailing home after years in India). Meanwhile, Robert is focused on a battle closer to his heart: winning official recognition for anthropometry, the science of identifying criminals by body measurements. Far from being an arcane digression, Robert's passion eventually figures into the intricate and surprising plot.

Another winning book for me. From the start I wasn't sure exactly what to expect with this story but what I got was a very entertaining, finely crafted read. Full of cunning, deception and intrigue. Every character in this book, especially the leading ladies have some secret to hide and carefully guard because it could be their downfall. Some are not above using what they know, or suspect, the bring others down to save themselves. While the characters may not be admirable and you may even despise them you have to admire their devious ways. The ending is a surprise and not where I thought I'd end up. If you are a fan of Deanna Raybourne's Lady Julia Gray books Silent in the Grave and Silent in the Sanctuary check out The Dark Lantern. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

1 Comment:

Lori Thornton said...

I recently read that one also. I enjoyed it too.

Post a Comment