Silent in the Sanctuary is the fantastic sequel to Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn. And like its predecessor, it was a great mystery! After her husband’s death and its subsequent investigation in the last novel, Lady Julia Grey escaped to Italy to rejuvinate herself. At Christmas her father requests that she and her brothers to return England. Upon arriving Julia realizes that the private detective, Nicholas Brisbane, has come to stay as well; she also finds that he is acquiring a title, and a wife. When a church Curate is found murdered in the house’s church sanctuary, Julia and Brisbane must once again solve a murder.
This mystery is full of many wonderful, quirky characters, and I think that this aspect is the best thing about the book. The women are all prim and proper — until we learn their secrets. And the men are lovesick, or stubborn, or dangerous, or all of the above! Everyone in the house is suspect, and the relationship between Julia and Brisbane is again deliciously frustrating.
My only complaint about this mystery is the compartive lack of action. There is more “thinking” and “deciding” than in the first, and sometimes I was waiting for the one big thing to happen.
While reading Silent in the Sanctuary I realized how similar the writing style was to Agatha Christie. It especially reminded me of And Then There Were None, another mystery in which each character is ruled out one by one, all the action occurs in one place, all the characters are trapped, and no one is above suspicion. Silent in the Sanctuary is in a way another example of a “Cozy” mystery, the genre which Agatha Christie perfected; an isolated setting, an aristocratic hero, a complex, deceptive crime, and a focus on characters and character development. This is a great mystery, and I look forward to more in the series!