Friday, January 1, 2010
A Fatal Waltz: Dancing in Place, Mostly
Tasha Alexander's Victorian mysteries about Lady Emily, widow and amateur sleuth, gently combine mystery with historical period setting, with a dash of romance. They are fun reads, especially with Emily's enthusiastic hobby of ancient Greek culture and art and her timely sense of independence, more subtly done than most; Emily seems grounded in her time, not suddenly transplanted from the twenty-first century.
This third book, A Fatal Waltz, doesn't break much new ground; she continues to be engaged, she continues to face opposition from conservative male grumps who disapprove of her modern ways, she continues to sleuth about with her buddies. Some book series are ready to go for hundred of episodes, and the characters don't change at all. In better ones, each book advanced the characters a bit; if the main characters are settled (see Roarke and Eve in the Death In books), then some attention is given to minor characters and their lives. Alexander's books read more as individual novels, with plot arcs and substance to each, so the stagnation is this book bored me a bit. I'm not sure if she is settling her characters in for the long haul, but if so, more attention needs to be paid to the life bits that keep me interested. If she was just getting her breath, than the next books about Lady Emily will be that much more interesting.
I grabbed the next one from the new book shelf at the library, so I obviously still have faith in Alexander. And the plot and dialogue keep me turning pages; I'm just hoping for a fuller feeling when I close the back cover. B-